My daughter in law recently asked me how and why I practised meditation. Meditation is designed to help you to experience and achieve balance of mind, body and spirit. It work’s on the chakras to achieve inner, and outer wellbeing and peace. There are seven chakras or energy centres in our body. Every organ, gland and body system is connected to a chakra and each chakra is connected to a colour or vibrational frequency. For example, the heart chakra governs the thymus gland and it is also in charge of the functioning of the heart organ, lungs, bronchia system, lymph glands, secondary circulatory system, immune system as well as the arm and hands. And the heart chakra resonates to the colour green. When energy centres are balanced then we are physically energised, have greater mental clarity and a deeper sense of connection to one self.


Neuroscience tells us that, to be more productive and creative, we need to give our brains a break. It’s the quiet mind that produces the best insights. New research from the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging suggests that people who meditate show more grey matter in certain regions of the brain, show stronger connections between brain regions and show less age-related brain atrophy. In other words, meditation might make your brain bigger, faster and “younger”. As lead researcher Eileen Luders explains, it appears to be a powerful mental exercise with the potential to change the physical structure of the brain.


The objective of meditation is to empty your mind of all distractions, life’s stresses and all thoughts. When I meditate I just let out everything that’s been on my mind, releasing all the negative thoughts that no longer serve me. It helps me to relax and to feel less stressed. How do you practice meditation?


What I love most is that we always practice, so it is never perfection, and it is always about being here in this moment.


A good way to practice is to find some place that is quiet outdoors or, with the Irish weather, indoors, maybe beside a window to connect you to the outdoors. You will need a place to sit or lie for 30 minutes. Stay awake, alert to your breathing, close your eyes and relax your body from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. Take several slow deep breathes, remembering to keep your jaw relaxed, as most of us hold tension here. As you follow your breath in and out, pay attention to yourself breathing and when you notice yourself thinking, because you will, then just bring yourself back gently to your breathing. When you do that you will be paying great attention to yourself. Just continue that for 30 minutes.


When I find life too busy, I try to take 10 minutes for myself. For example when I am on the train I close my eyes and practice. Or when I get a lift I take ten minutes to breath slowly. Sometimes it is in the queue in the shops or as I wait for someone to call, when I find a gap in the day I practice breathing slowly. The goal is to let your mind achieve a sense of relaxed awareness. The benefits are a break from thinking and a better connection to oneself. That connection will help make us more resilient in 2013.  Do try this at home, make time to meditate as a New Year Resolution or join a meditation group. What ever you decide enjoy breathing.


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