Two Minutes a Day to Real Change – Sherri Baptiste
Ever notice how you race through each day, with never enough time to accomplish everything you want to do? Feel weighed down by the daily grind, with growing worries for your future? Do you hunger for a deeper connection and feeling of purpose? Many of us share in this natural desire. The good news is that spending just a few minutes each day to meditate can be a saving grace.
In these stress-filled, uncertain times, you may be concerned about your security and welfare now and into the future. Daily meditation brings alive a sense of being more in charge and personally empowered no matter what challenges arise. Mindfulness and meditation techniques support being able to see the world differently and cultivate a more positive outlook. Meditation, a timeless resource, can increase your personal well-being for body, mind and spirit. It helps you tap into your inner wisdom and the richness of human potential that you inherently carry within you. It’s really about taking a fresh look at the nature of “self,” while increasing mental calm, emotional balance and a deeper sense of compassion with oneself.
Just a few minutes of meditation can contribute to your psychological and physiological well-being. Why? Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an alpha state, which is a level of consciousness that promotes the healing state. A consistent meditation practice helps you feel better and make a deeper connection to both yourself and the world around you. Physicians, psychologists and other professionals endorse meditation as a powerful tool for relieving stress.
What Research Says
In the 1970s Herbert Benson, MD, did a landmark study on the effect of meditation on blood pressure that he reported in his book, The Relaxation Response (Benson 1975). He started exploring the effects of meditation on the relaxation response, which is the opposite of the fight-or-flight stress response. He found that practicing meditation can turn on the relaxation response (Benson 1983). The relaxation response can decrease the impact of stress (Benson & Klipper 2000).
Researchers continue to explore the many benefits of meditation. For example:
- A comprehensive review examined the findings of more than 1,100 mind-body studies (Ospina et. al 2007). The review found that meditation can reduce blood pressure, decrease pain and lessen the impact of stress.
- Meditation increases daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produces increases in mindfulness, purpose in life, social support and decreased illness symptoms (Fredrickson et al. 2008). In turn, these positive results predict increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.
- Meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward new people (Hutcherson, Seppala & Gross 2008). This finding suggests that meditation may help to increase positive emotions and decrease social isolation.
In general, a regular meditation practice can bring you:
- decreased anxiety
- decreased depression
- decreased irritability and moodiness
- improved learning ability and enhanced memory
- greater creativity
- increased feelings of vitality
- increased happiness
- increased emotional stability
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
Many people who initially learn meditation for its self-regulatory aspects find that as their practice deepens, they are drawn more into the realm of the “spiritual.” Meditation connects us with the essence of our being, inviting us to slow down and make our moments vital as they unfold. This process affects the quality of our days and thus our lives. When we meditate, we get in touch with the richest essence of our beings. The longer you practice meditation, the greater the likelihood that your efforts will shift toward personal and spiritual growth. You’ll develop a greater state of compassionate self-awareness and self-acceptance. It is this realization of a wider and deeper relationship with the universe that allows us to embrace life to the fullest and realize all of its potential.
Take the Two-Minute Meditation Challenge
Try this challenge for one week and see how it helps you. When you wake up in the morning before you leave your bed, simply count your breaths. Feel the simple flow of your breath moving in and out. Discover the rich place of inner calm and silence.
Know that meditating for two minutes here and there consistently each day provides greater benefits than only meditating once in awhile. Try meditating for two minutes during these times of the day:
- before a meal at least once each day
- two minutes at your workspace
- before you start your car
- when you come home in the evening
How exactly do you meditate? Try this method.
- Be present. Sit where you are.
- Bring your awareness to yourself.
- Breathe gently, and your body will naturally relax.
- Exhale gently. Be in the moment with your breath.
- Inhale, letting the breath roll in like a smooth wave.
- Keep going, breath into breath, moment into moment.
At certain points as you guide yourself, use inner dialogue such as:
- Feel the stillness of my body.
- Relax more inside the throat.
- Listen to the breath.
- Observe and notice any areas that may still be constricting, and then simply let them go, letting these areas completely release.
Make this simple process of meditation a daily part of your life. It’s really that simple and the shift in daily perceptions will be noticeable. The ideal is to BE in the moment as it unfolds.
Benson, H. 1975. The Relaxation Response. New York: William Morrow.
Benson, H. 1983. The relaxation response: Its subjective and objective historical precedents and physiology. TINS, 6, 281-84.
Benson, H., & Klipper. M.Z. 2000. The Relaxation Response (updated and expanded edition). New York: HarperTorch.
Fredrickson, B. L., et al. 2008. Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95 (5), 1045-62
Hutcherson, C. A., Seppala, E. M., & Gross, J. J. 2008. Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness. Emotion, 8 (5), 720-24.
Ospina, M.B., et al. 2007. Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research. Evidence Report Technology Assessment No. 155. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Don’t Forget: Sherri, along with Michele Hébert, will be leading a women’s winter getaway at Prana del Mar in Cabo San Lucas Mexico, April 9 – 16 winter getaway for women, “The Power of Women: Courage, Compassion and Beauty.”
Sherri Baptiste, ERYT 500 is an inspirational yoga teacher at the forefront of training in America. Founder of Baptiste Power of Yoga, she offers classes, workshops, retreats and teacher training. Her retreats and teacher training programs provide an empowering, peaceful oasis in a hurried world, a place where students can find within themselves the tools and knowledge to support and maintain a happier, healthier and more spiritual lifestyle.
Sherri was born into a rich heritage and family of pioneering yoga teachers, her parents Magaña and Walt Baptiste, who established yoga on the West Coast in the mid-1950s. Sherri has been teaching yoga since her her teens and is the founder of Baptiste Power of Yoga, and her yoga teacher-training program is recognized by Yoga Alliance.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SHERRI: www.powerofyoga.com
Tags: Sherri Baptiste