By Annabel Anita Adanna
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Currently, in the United States, improving physical fitness and overall levels of health is largely regulated to two different elements; that of exercise and diet. Yet, to simply focus only on these two elements of physical well being is to do a disservice to what is required to live a healthy, fulfilled life.
This section of our website is intended to shed light on a part of fitness that is often overlooked: that of mental health, stability, and wellness. The mental stability and well being of an individual is subject to disease and entropy just as the body is. This being said, when compared to physical and nutritional health, mental health and wellness is equally important. Hence, to truly live a lifestyle that is filled with good health and fitness, individuals must include achieving mental wellness as well.
One approach to ensuring mental balance and wellness that can be utilized, and has been for thousands of years, is the practice of meditation. While meditation can be, and often is, practiced independently, it can be paired with several other exercise types including Yoga and Pilates.
Origin of Meditation
The earliest records of meditation date back to 50,000 years ago. The practice originally developed as a ritual involved in a number of different religions. In fact, almost every major religion utilizes meditation in one form or another, from Hinduism to Christianity. Throughout time, however, the practice has found a place outside of the realm of religion. This is most likely because people became aware of the vast array of benefits that meditation can provide a person even when it is void of any religious implications.
Although Meditation and Yoga are very closely related, Meditation as a formal and separate practice did not arise until much later, a little more than 5,000 years ago (actual recorded writings about Meditation). Granted, people have likely been practicing some form of meditation since the beginning of their existence. Any time that you take some time out to gather your thought or get some fresh air to clear your mind, you are technically using meditation to relax and focus your mind.
Terms And Concepts Of Meditation
The following terms are often used to describe meditation. From their original eastern roots, they each have special significance in the practice of meditation.
Benefits of Meditation
There are many benefits, both physical and mental, that are often associated with meditation. Many people use meditation as a sole way to exercise and enrich their minds while others prefer to think of it as a way to supplement other activities. No matter how you approach meditation, the following benefits (only a sample of many) are well documented:
- Headaches: Meditation has often been shown to reduce or eliminate the pain associated with headaches and (sometimes) migraines. The long periods of inactivity may eliminate the pain or at least give you an extended break from it.
- Weight Loss: People that are trying to lose weight may find meditation particularly helpful. Several studies successfully showed that meditation was very effective in both the control of ideal weight levels and the revamping of lost motivation or focus.
- Increased Lung Function: The deep and soothing breaths associated with meditation are often successful in the improvement of air flow and increasing of lung capacity. A recent wind musician’s survey showed that meditation was able to increase lung capacity by 5% in only two weeks of regular practice.
- Improvement of Memory: By relaxing the brain, meditation has often been shown to increase memory in the participant. In fact, early tests have been promising in the use of meditation along with prescription drugs for the reduction or delay of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Problem Solving: Meditation is often helpful in dealing with a minor problem or resolving an issue without turning to more drastic measures that are unnecessary. This opportunity to truly think through situations may save even more stress or additional problems.
What You Will Find in This Section
The following pages and articles included under this section of our website are intended to shed light on the importance of adding a form of meditation to your overall health and fitness regime. Furthermore, our goal is to provide a comprehensive outline of all of the various elements involved in the practice of meditation.
This includes a detailed description of the various health and wellness benefits that meditation can provide. In fact, there are countless clinical studies that have proven the effectiveness of regularly performing meditation and the health benefits associated with doing so.
You will be able to use the information provided on the following pages and articles to implement a meditation routine into your lifestyle. This being said, it is important to train your mind with the same kind of persistence and dedication that you would train the body as mental and physical well being is the key to a fulfilling life.