Incorporate Meditation into Your Daily Routine to Improve Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health
Why does it seem like such a task for many of us to sit still (yes, that’s right… do nothing—not even scroll through Facebook) for 10 minutes out of our day? Unfortunately, the world of smartphones and constant communication is not only sending our schedules into overdrive—our minds are suffering, too.
Maybe you’ve heard of meditation and thought it was just all hype. Or maybe you think it’s some sort of religious cult that you don’t want to be a part of. Whatever is keeping you from trying it out, we hope you change your mind after hearing some facts from a local enthusiast.
Steve Simpson started meditating in 2010 and now leads weekly classes at James River Yoga. He has even taken part in retreats where participants meditate for up to eight hours a day. (What!?!) But don’t let that fact scare you off! Steve says all you need is just a few minutes a day to start seeing noticeable results. “I used to do it at lunch. I would go out to my car and crank the seat back,” he says. “You can find 10 minutes in your day. It just takes a little effort and discipline.”
In his life, Steve has noticed significant changes in his physical and mental health. “I’m a lot less stressed out than I used to be and, over time, I’ve noticed I’m a lot better at intuitive thinking.”
And better yet, he reminds us that this is a “cheap and easy” workout routine. All you need is a comfortable seat and a quiet room.
Interested in getting started?
Steve walks us through the basics and the benefits.
• Choose a consistent time and location.
• Adjust the lighting in your room to soft.
• Sit comfortably in comfortable clothes, preferably with your back straight.
• Begin with long complete breaths with eyes closed or softly open—gaze lowered.
• Start with 5 minutes. Work up from there.
• Try with music or white noise if needed.
• Use an app for guidance as you get started.
• Experiment with different types of meditation (see sidebar on the following page) to see what works best for you.
• Consider a meditation group to hold you accountable.
Reduces Stress—“I ran into a local heart doctor and he told me if people would just slow down and meditate a little bit every day, they would live a lot longer,” says Steve when discussing how meditation reduces inflammation in the arteries.
Prevents Anger-Related Incidents—“That fight or flight syndrome, when someone cuts you off in traffic and adrenaline starts pumping, which is really hard on the body. Meditation slows some of that down,” he says.
Improves Intuition—“I’ve noticed a lot better intuitive thinking in my life. You know, the unconscious mind where your intuitions come from. Meditation has given me more access to that,” says Steve.
Improves Decision Making—“Meditation has been shown to rewire the brain a bit and make you less prone to those immediate, often unwise, decisions,” explains Steve.
Leads to Spiritual Growth—“Sometimes Christians associate meditation with Eastern religions but every spiritual tradition has a meditation aspect,” says Steve about using meditation alongside your specific faith.
Changes Perspective—“I am less wound up in the struggles of day-to-day life. You know when you see someone in the grocery store and automatically start having negative thoughts about them? I had a teacher tell me ‘You are not your thoughts.’ And that was a revelation to me,” says Steve.
Meditation is also proven to:
Improve Immune Function
Slow the Aging Process
…and the list goes on and on.
Types of Meditation:
Attention on Breath
Attention on Body Parts
James River Yoga
311 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg
Meditation Workshop: last Saturday of the Month from
3 – 5 p.m. Donation based.
Meditation Class: every Friday from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Free.
Good Karma Tea Company
174 Norfolk Avenue, Lynchburg
Every Sunday from 9 – 9:30 a.m.
Group meditation—not guided. Donations suggested for local nonprofits. Social time to follow.
Bower Center for the Arts
305 N Bridge Street, Bedford
Mondays from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
$5 donation suggested. Focus on breathing, gentle movement, guided and non-guided meditations and more.
Maier Museum of Art, Randolph College
1 Quinlan Street, Lynchburg
Mondays from 5:15 – 6:30 p.m.
An introduction to mindfulness meditation based on Buddhist teachings of wisdom, compassion and ethics.