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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Meditation for Renewal

May 30, 2011 09:33PM

Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to nurture physical and emotional well-being. When we meditate, our breathing slows, blood pressure and heart rate decrease and stress hormone levels fall. We go beyond the mind’s noisy internal dialogue and experience an oasis of inner silence and stillness.

Research shows people that meditate regularly develop less hypertension, heart disease, anxiety and other stress-related illnesses that accelerate aging. A recent study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that as little as eight weeks of meditation not only helped people feel calmer, but also produced growth in the brain in areas associated with memory, empathy, sense of self and stress regulation.

The Chopra Center offers instruction for Primordial Sound Meditation, an easy-to-learn practice rooted in India’s yogic tradition. The Center recommends the following technique that individuals can try immediately, wherever they are:

• Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. Now, close your eyes for a few minutes and observe the inflow and outflow of your breath.
• Take a slow, deep breath through your nose, while thinking or silently repeating the word, “So.”
• Slowly exhale through your nose as you silently repeat the word “Hum.” Allow your breath to flow easily, repeating “So…Hum…” with each inflow and outflow. Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts, sensations or sounds in the environment, gently return it to your breath.
• Meditate for 10 minutes at first, and then extend the time to 20 to 30 minutes.

The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, in Carlsbad, offers programs and workshops in mind-body health, emotional eating and spiritual awakening, including their free 21-Day Mediation Challenge.

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