The race to look younger and stay that way. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry with arms and legs around the four corners of the globe. Every day some new treatment, herb, or cream is hyped in non-stop hyperbole.
You’re sitting with the most powerful anti-aging device yet! You. Well, you in deep meditation, that is. Scientists continue to study the effect of deep states of consciousness on the body yielding increasingly compelling information that sages have known for aeons. Deep meditation for periods of thirty minutes or longer each day stimulates the production of serotonin and human growth hormones known for their exponential rejuvenating and anti-aging properties.
One of the most daunting obstacles to getting into the meditation habit is simply learning to enjoy it. Ironically, this is often the main obstacle a person faces when getting and remaining in ideal physical condition.
It seems to me that one of the first gatekeepers to learning to enjoy meditation is overcoming expectations. In the wise Indian Epic the Bhagavad Gita, the Teacher Krishna councils his student Arjuna that, “The root of all anger is unfulfilled expectations.” Essentially practicing meditation without unrealistic expectations can help free you from anger’s close cousin, self-judgment.
Most often, the fruit of my meditation sessions is most obvious after the actual meditation. While I’m sitting, there’s an unwinding process happening, like a watch that has been over-wound. If I evaluate my meditation based on how this aspect of the practice might feel mid-unwinding, I usually get frustrated and do not want to sit. When I am willing to allow my meditation to unfold naturally and look back at how I feel in the minutes and hours after I move into my day, I notice I’m more at ease, anchored in my body, and increasingly more self-confident about my place in the world.
Try this now – if you’re sitting in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor, approximately hip-width apart. Gently close your eyes. Allow your breath to deepen about ten percent. Focus on strong inhalations, followed by letting the breath empty out of your lungs easily and naturally in its own way. Then take another strong inhalation, again allowing the breath to exhale at its own pace. Do this eleven times. Then let your breath return to its natural rhythm. Notice how your body feels. This is a great practice to insert throughout your day to freshen your mind, relax your body, and bring ease through your nervous system.
The more familiar you become with micro-practices like these throughout your day, the more you’ll begin to crave longer intervals of practice, and the easier it will be for you to notice this bandwidth of tranquility in and out of meditation.
Scott Schwenk, a Los Angeles based spiritual teacher, healer, writer and business consultant, is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and a featured teacher at We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs, CA. For more information, visit www.scottschwenk.com.