February 15, 2013

Sit Still & Grow Younger. ~ Lida Padro

How Meditation Practice Can Lead to Rejuvenation

When we sit still, we create silent spaces between our thoughts. As we meditate, we aim to increase the spaces between thoughts, allowing for relaxation. But that’s not all meditation does for us; there is more…

A recent study conducted by the Maharishi University of Management demonstrated, the more you meditate, the younger you become. Those who meditated on a daily basis for five years or more scored many years younger physiologically than those who did not meditate. The meditating group was also found to have lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

Physiological aging includes such indicators as short-term memory, acuity of vision and hearing, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and joint flexibility. The idea that simply sitting quietly can affect all this is exciting because meditation leaves no one out. If you have trouble changing your diet, or if getting to the gym requires too much effort, then you can sit still and grow younger.

Meditation is simply a state of consciousness, like thinking, dreaming or deep sleep. You don’t have to change your religion (or even have a religion) in order to meditate. It’s easy to learn and—unless you opt to pay for private instruction—free of charge.

It’s a champion stress-reducer, and recent research indicates it may help relieve depression by lowering levels of mood-dampening cortisol. The downside of this uplifting practice is, it takes a little time and a little discipline, but turning the clock back a few years is a strong inducement.

Of course, the primary purpose of meditation is neither relaxation, nor lowering your blood pressure. It is to connect your inner self—your ego self—which is how you see yourself.

When you make this connection and revisit it daily, you may experience increased motivation, calmness and courage. The irritations of life may not get to you like they used to, and they may not show on your face the way they used to either.

Meditation itself can be as simple as sitting comfortably with your back reasonably straight (in bed, in a chair, or cross-legged on the floor), resting your hands in your lap or on your knees and observing your breathing.

Meditation is not a breathing exercise—it’s an exercise in gentle observation. This gentle observation is meditation, and what the Buddhists speak of as mixing the mind with virtue. If you wish to add a cognitive component—in other words, if the thought of just sitting bores you silly—choose a word or phrase that appeals to you and silently recite it with each breath.

To grow younger, you should begin meditating at least ten minutes a day. With practice, you can increase your sitting time and make it your goal to meditate at least twenty minutes in the morning when you wake up, and then another twenty minutes in the evening before going to bed.

This is a worthy goal, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting where you are, with the time you have.

If you’ve tried meditation and found you have a tough time with it, don’t give up. When trying to succeed in anything in your life, the beginning is always hard work and a challenge.

In the interim, focus on discipline and patience, and let these qualities guide your practice. If you give it your best shot and it just doesn’t suit you, then there are alternatives: writing in a journal every day; reading literature and thinking about the thoughts it provokes; praying, talking to God or your guru; or simply setting your mind loose as you swim or stroll and allow yourself to be carried to the state meditators call restful alertness.

Some may claim only standard, sitting meditation will take you there, but you and I are old enough to know there’s never just one way to get where you’re going.

Inspirational Meditation Quotes

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads your forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” ~ Buddha

“We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” ~ Alan Watts

“If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.” ~ Alan Cohen

This is just a tease…

See all 101 Meditation Quotes here.

Lida Padro is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor in Toronto who loves to practice hot yoga and live in the present moment.  She instructs yoga videos on her successful YouTube channel, including a collection of different Meditation Videos. Her website—LexiYoga.com focuses on the healing powers of yoga and natural living. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


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Asst.Ed.: Jennifer Spesia/ Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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