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Friday, April 6, 2012

Meditation

I was invited to sit through a yoga class that my friend teaches at a near by university.  She was having a guest join her class to teach everyone about/and how to meditate, and she knew I would be very interested.  I've been meditating in my yoga classes, before and after, but I wanted to learn more about meditating so I can meditate longer at home.

I've learned from him that meditating is learning to relax your body and mind by coming back to your center whenever you find your thoughts drifting.  It helps you stay focused and calm.  It is nearly impossible for anyone to clear their mind completely...otherwise you would be sleeping!  As I concentrated on my breathing and paying attention to the feel and needs of my body, I found myself completely unaware of everyone around me.  When we were asked to take three long breaths and open our eyes, I found myself in complete calmness.  

Today I practiced meditation at home before I started my yoga routine.  I have certain candles that I light when I do my yoga, so I thought I should have a separate candle to set the mood for my meditation. No one needs candles for yoga or meditation, but it creates a calming atmosphere for me and gets me through the routines.  Whatever works, right?  I meditated for about 20 minutes and I felt that it made a difference as to the length of time I was able to hold my yoga poses afterwards.  I'm going to try and make this a daily ritual for myself, and see how it changes the way I feel and even think through out my days.  I may even start a journal! 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi - How do you maintain a meditation position with Cervical Dystonia? I have the condition too, and am dying to meditate, but my neck continually spasms and it's maddening, bacause it makes it impossible to relax and clear my mind. Thanks a million if you could explain how you manage it :)

dleake said...

I can hear in your email that you are desperately seeking relief from your CD. I hope that I can guide you from my own journey. We all have different levels of cervical Dystonia, so don't get discouraged if you read my blog and I'm practicing yoga or meditating. Right there you are putting more stress on yourself, and that can cause more muscle tension in your neck. I've learned to do what I can with the level of Dystonia I'm experiencing each day, and you will too. There are days where I feel great and this works for me, and there can be a month when I'm in pain just getting out of the bed in the morning.

So here goes....
Get into a comfortable position. Meaning, whether it's sitting upright in a chair or laying on your side with pillows holding your neck in a comfortable position. You have to find a position that works for you. Remember, we have CD, so sitting in the typical meditation position may can spasms or discomfort for us. Take the picture of the calm person sitting upright, closing their eyes, breathing slowly for 5 hours out of your head. That's not reality for the average person without CD. Meditation is all about breathing, that will spread oxygen through your body and start relaxing your thoughts, which will start to relax your body.

Once you get yourself in a position where your neck muscles are most relaxed, close your eyes and just start breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. It is impossible to clear your mind right away, so DON'T get discouraged. As you concentrate on your breathing, you will eventually notice that it's all you were thinking about...which is part of the meditation process. Keep doing this as long as you have the time to. You can even make a sighing sound as you breath out through your mouth. This sometimes distracts me from outside noise, and I tend to keep my concentration on my breathing.

See how you feel when you're finished. You may not feel a difference, because your neck muscles may go right back to spasming once you get out of your position. However, you may start to feel the difference over time or maybe just during the time whenever you're meditating. If you only feel relief during the time you're meditating, than that's great too!!!! Do it a couple of times a day and use that time to feel good!

I hope that I've helped you.

-Donna

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for taking the time to answer my query Donna. I find if I don't sit in an upright position, I just end up dozing off :)

But right after I posted my comment I tried using a cervical collar I found or Amazon or Ebay (I forget which). And it worked wonders. It takes most of the weight needed to support the head in an upright position, so the neck muscles aren't under nearly so much strain. And having something touching my chin/neck area helps to lessen the spams for some reason too.

I managed around 20 minutes with hardly any spasms at all with the collar.

I deffinatley think this is an avenue worth exploring, as Dysonia is a neurological condition, and meditation is specifically geared towards lowering and controlling brain activity.

Anyway, thanks again for your thoughtful advice, and I hope we both manage to make some progress in healing ourselves. And anyone else who stumbles across your blog like I did.

Take care,

Sam

dleake said...

You're very welcome. Keep practicing and don't give up. I'm glad the cervical collar helped you. We have to do whatever works for us, right?  When I have pulling in my neck, I just put my hand there and the muscles immediately relax. They call that a "sensory trick". I call it "weird"!!!! Lol How can the touch of my hand relieve a muscle spasm so quickly? I can't figure Dystonia out. 

I'm glad I was of some help to you.

-Donna