by Ian Phillip White
I’m sure that most of you are very familiar with the term “meditation.” In today’s culture, we hear it often and are told it’s good for us.
For some, meditation conjures up images of someone sitting quietly with their eyes closed, enjoying a serene moment in solitude. However, for many of us, the idea of meditation can lead to a sense of frustration or confusion; we’ve tried to meditate and failed, finding our minds too busy or that we had a good experience once but just can’t replicate it at home. If you have had any of those feelings, you’re not alone.
Meditation doesn’t require us to be uncomfortable or sit like we “should.” And here’s the good news – we all have the ability to meditate. We can all become quieter, calmer, and less reactive. In teaching meditation since 1991, I have yet to meet a student who has not found beneﬁt from meditating.
Meditation can assist with:
- Pain management
- Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
- Improving sleep
- Increasing physical stamina
- Emotional stability and psychological resilience
- A quieter mind with more clarity in decision-making
- A sense of peace and well-being
- Deeper spiritual connection
Managing physical pain was one of the primary factors that led me to begin exploring meditation in 1985. When incorporating meditation into your wellness routine, I encourage you to think about the numerous potential benefits and identifying one as a goal. Choosing just one will allow you to better observe the effects of your practice.
Once you have your motivation, you can decide when and where the best times and places for you to practice will be. Whether you’re new to meditation or an experienced practitioner looking to expand your horizons, it’s good to try different practices and ways of meditating to see what will ﬁt better in your life.
While at Red Mountain Resort, take the opportunity to join one of our meditation classes and learn some effective strategies and techniques for incorporating meditation into your daily wellness routine. An Introduction to Meditation is the perfect way to start. We will discuss different ways to meditate and practice a sitting meditation in a comfortable setting. Dig deeper in the Successful Meditation workshop, where we’ll talk about ways you can adapt a meditation practice to be more effective for you and empower you with the tools to ﬁt it into your daily life, as well as doing two guided meditation practices.
Our meditative experiences include a Guided Spiral Walking Meditation through our labyrinth and Experience Chakra Balancing, which incorporates moving meditation and guided visualization. We also offer a therapeutic Sound Bath with Himalayan singing bowls.
Even just being at the resort can help you initiate a meditation practice. What better way to begin than by being in a place of natural beauty amidst the quiet of the desert?
If your goal for meditation is mostly physical, you may want to meditate before working out. This can help you really focus on what you hope to achieve, how to get there and to clear out the everyday noises and stresses that may distract you from not only performing to your maximum ability but fully experiencing and enjoying your workout. It can help you get into the zone more quickly and maintain your motivation. Set a physical intention while meditating to help you target and activate speciﬁc muscle groups.
You may find an increase in mood-boosting endorphins. Meditation has also been linked to lowering cortisol levels, which can reduce the chance of injury and shorten recovery time. You may even notice a difference in your experience of pain during and after your meditation. For those anxious about going to the gym, meditating can help calm your mind and emotions as well as your body’s physiological response to anxiety, helping you get to the gym, be more relaxed during your workout, and perhaps even enjoy the experience.
If your motivation is more on an emotional level, I suggest meditating in the morning to ﬁnd your center, then notice as you go through your day what triggers an emotional response. In the moment – if you have time – take a few breaths and see if you can let that emotion go or visualize a peaceful place to bring you back to center. If you’re very busy, take time to journal and release these emotions at the end of the day so you can enjoy some time for you and get restful sleep.
If you ﬁnd that your mind is constantly racing, your motivation may be more psychological; to achieve a calmer mind and more peaceful thoughts. I encourage you to add meditation after any other activity that brings you a sense of peace or calm. This will boost your ability to quiet your mind exponentially. Decision making will become easier as well.
In essence, the practice of meditation is a spiritual one designed to help us let go of negativity and embrace our highest potential. To me, this also means that as we become more positive and energetic, we can take that into our lives and impact those around us more positively too. You will know that your meditation practice is working as you experience increased focus, less distraction, and gain the ability to be more present in your life.
About Ian Phillip White
Ian Phillip White, BSC, MH, MI, E-RYT 500 joined the Wellness team at Red Mountain Resort in 2002. He specializes in safely taking people from inflexibility and pain all the way through to the strongest vinyasa flow practices. He has lived and practiced in an intentional spiritual community and taught yoga and meditation in Europe, Japan, and the Americas. Find more of his expertise in A Simple Guide to Successful Meditation.