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May 9, 2016
Be Well / health & wellness / Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is Having a Moment

Everywhere you turn there’s an article on the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation. I even found an entire magazine devoted to the topic. Although it’s an ancient practice, like yoga it’s become the Next Big Thing.

We’re all in the same boat: trying to tame our hectic lives. Think: before cell phones and the internet, there were only three ways to connect: a phone call, snail mail or a knock on the door. Nowadays I check three different emails, three phone lines, unending texts (they really don’t end, do they? It’s so disturbing that text conversations drift off without some sort of closure), plus facebook, facebook messenger (I detest that little ping!), instagram….oy!  For some of us, keeping up with this endless stream prevents us from getting anything done. Not to mention the simmering state of anxiety that comes from the never, ever ending to-do list. Yup, it’s hard to live in the present moment when we spend most of our time worrying about the future and the past. So I’m on the hunt to reduce the “overwhelm” and be less reactive to each and every missive that comes my way.

Because I’m “too busy” to commit to the eight-week courses on Mindfulness that are offered at Vitality Spa (and many other options along the Shoreline) the drop in class at Fitness on the Water at Essex Wellness Center seemed just the thing. On the way over, I was stressing about how I could quiet my mind for an entire hour. I’m not a girl who sits still! After many years of yoga practice I still occasionally do math in my head during Shavasana to get through it. But, hey, it’s a practice.

The lovely, sunny yoga and meditation room overlooking the river put me immediately in a zen state of mind. Some of the class was sitting on bolsters, some on chairs and a few folks were lying down. While I dithered for a minute, I chose the supine position. As Liz Hale, a therapist and longtime teacher of mindfulness meditation led us through a body scan (a traditional mindfulness based stress-reduction technique), I tried not to let my mind wander, batting random thoughts away as they snuck into my brain. It worked. Listening to Liz’s gentle guided meditation, I felt completely relaxed and present. And, all of a sudden it was over! I was incredulous to learn that I had been lying there for 45 minutes. It felt like five. Then the woman next to me clued me in: I was snoring! I’m chalking my nap up to a successful (though slightly embarrassing) first experience and going to give it another go (sitting next time!).  But here are the nuts and bolts. It’s easy. Anyone can do it. And according to Liz, those that are most resistant, tend to get the most out of it. It does not take long to feel the positive effects. There is science-based evidence that it can help ease anxiety, depression, chronic pain and new evidence that it has an affect on inflammatory disease. Why not give it a try? Drop in at Fitness on the Water in Essex, Wednesdays at 10am or at their new outpost in Westbrook on Mondays at 6:45pm. No charge for the class, $10 donation suggested.

Class Schedule for Fitness on the Water, Essex and Westbrook.

Learn about Vitality Spa’s One Day Mindfulness Retreat

NY Times: How Meditation Changes the Brain and the Body

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Fitness on the Water Yoga/Meditation room

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