When you hear the word “meditation” what do you think of? I picture a perfectly still woman at peace with her self, utterly calm at all times. This is definitely not me, so you can perhaps guess my nervousness upon entering the Evolve Spa in Lacey, WA for a class on meditation. This is to be the first of several such classes taught by Stacy Hirsch. While I definitely believe in the importance of mindfulness, I am not very good at it. I am even worse at quieting my mind, relating more to what yogis call “monkey mind.” I seem to be trying to think of dozens of things at once most of the time. Of course, this is why learning meditation would be beneficial.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, 95% of all illnesses are caused or worsened by stress. Most of instinctively know that stress is bad for us and that being too busy causes stress. Meditation is about making space for stillness. As someone who always feels busy, this can be more than a little uncomfortable. The good news is that meditation is just about being with yourself. There is no one judging you (positive self-talk right ladies?).
Need more reasons to try meditating?
- It is free
- it requires no energy
- it can be done anywhere you can be quiet and comfortable (yoga pants, yes!)
- there are no negative side-effects
- there is a potential for great rewards
- reduction of stress
- decrease in blood pressure
- may induce restful sleep
Back to the class. There were a handful of other participants with varying levels of skill sharing this experience. We sat in a warm, quiet room with only the sound of Stacy’s soothing voice to guide us. Somewhat to my surprise, 35 minutes passed quickly with feelings of lightness and awareness (and my foot falling asleep) during the meditation. The day’s stress seemed lessened when I rose from my cushion on the floor and went about my day. This alone was enough to have me wanting to come back, but there was more.
Later that evening I was feeling tense and frustrated. Rather than yell at my husband, I went upstairs to a warm magnesium bath in a darkened bathroom and tried again to meditate. I find my natural state is a combination of breathing, praying and listening. I don’t know how long I was there, but the water had cooled considerably. I went to bed afterwards feeling both relaxed and more creative than usual (I had to turn on my bedroom light twice to write down reminders for myself).
I plan to make Stacy’s class a regular part of my week as I learn to tap into myself and let go of stress. If you meditate, I would love to hear how you do it and how it improves your mental and physical health. Tips are welcome as well. Thank you.