There is no trying in meditation, if you can breathe you can meditate. No skill, experience, preparation, or belief is required — it's easier and simpler than you think. On this interview Dr. Michael Karlfeldt discusses meditation with award winning author Dean Sluyter who describes how to use simple meditative techniques and subtle tweaks of body, mind, and breath to open your life to deep, relaxed confidence.
Research has described the negative effects of stress on the body. Linked to the release of the stress-hormones adrenalin and cortisol, stress raises the heart rate and blood pressure, weakens immunity and lowers fertility. By contrast, the state of relaxation as generated by meditation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and to the growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue. Indeed, studies show that relaxation has virtually the opposite effect, lowering heart rate, boosting immunity and enabling the body to thrive. 1
Guided by veteran teacher Dean Sluyter’s easy-going, down-to-earth approach, you’ll test-drive a variety of meditative “vehicles,” such as breath, sound, the senses, the sky, and the simple sense of “I,” and discover which ones fit you best. He discusses practical tips you need for adapting these methods to your daily life, even for a few minutes a day on the subway or in an office cubicle.
7 Health Benefits of Deep Relaxation Achieved by Mediation
The next time you tune out and switch off and let yourself melt, remind yourself of all the good work the relaxation effect is doing on your body. These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits …
1. Increased Immunity
Relaxation appears to boost immunity in recovering cancer patients. A study at the Ohio State University found that progressive muscular relaxation, when practiced daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study at Ohio State, a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater resistance to tumors and to viruses.
2. Emotional Balance
Emotional balance, means to be free of all the neurotic behavior that results from the existence of a tortured and traumatized ego. This is very hard to achieve fully, but meditation certainly is the way to cure such neurosis and unhealthy emotional states. As one’s consciousness is cleansed of emotionally soaked memories, not only does great freedom abound, but also great balance. As one’s responses then are not colored by the burdens one carries, but are instead true, direct and appropriate.
3. Increased Fertility
A study at the University of Western Australia found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. A study at Trakya University, in Turkey, also found that stress reduces sperm count and motility, suggesting relaxation may also boost male fertility.
4. Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome
When patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome began practicing a relaxation meditation twice daily, their symptoms of bloating, diarrhea and constipation improved significantly. The meditation was so effective the researchers at the State University of New York recommended it as an effective treatment.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
A study at Harvard Medical School found that meditation lowered blood pressure by making the body less responsive to stress hormones, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication. Meanwhile a British Medical Journal report found that patients trained how to relax had significantly lower blood pressure.
Stress leads to inflammation, a state linked to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and skin conditions such as psoriasis, say researchers at Emory University in the US. Relaxation can help prevent and treat such symptoms by switching off the stress response. In this way, one study at McGill University in Canada found that meditation clinically improved the symptoms of psoriasis.
The simple difference between those who meditate and those who do not, is that for a meditative mind the thought occurs but is witnessed, while for an ordinary mind, the thought occurs and is the boss. So in both minds, an upsetting thought can occur, but for those who meditate it is just another thought, which is seen as such and is allowed to blossom and die, while in the ordinary mind the thought instigates a storm which rages on and on.
Dean Sluyter (pronounced "slighter") has taught natural methods of meditation since 1970. He is the author of several highly acclaimed books and audio programs, including Cinema Nirvana and The Zen Commandments. His latest book, Natural Meditation: A Guide to Effortless Meditative Practice, is an Amazon #1 best seller in stress management and winner of the Nautilus Book Awards Gold Medal as 2015's best book on body, mind, and spirit practices. Dean gives talks, workshops, and retreats throughout the United States and beyond, from Ivy League colleges to maximum-security prisons. He and his work have appeared frequently in national media, from National Public Radio and The New York Times to The Dr. Oz Show and O, The Oprah Magazine.
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