Mind over Matter: The Importance of Meditation!

This week’s “bonus” post is about a very important but rarely discussed aspect of fitness: Meditation.

Meditation is a technique of training the mind to be quiet and focused. It can be used to reduce stress, add a greater depth of concentration and to even help with memory and problem solving skills. In various religious cultures meditation is a spiritual practice and is held as devotional training. In other cultures, such as the sports community, meditation has recently become yet another skill to be employed in enhancing performance. The bottom line is that in this very hectic day and age people from all walks of life have reported benefit from it. We should all seek to use mindfulness as a way to create a better existence for ourselves.

I have been trained in several advanced forms of meditation and can personally attest to its power. It has assisted me in my professional career as a fitness trainer and acupuncturist. More importantly, it has helped me cope with all of the curve balls that life throws at me. I will share with you a very basic meditative technique that you can do in 15 minutes. Regular practice will lead to phenomenal results. I guarantee it!

The Dragon’s Meditation For Beginners:

  1. Sit upright in a chair with both feet firmly placed on the ground. Place your hands on your lap.
  2. Relax your shoulders and your back, easing all of the tension in your body.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Engage in 5 breaths of “Belly Breathing”. If you’re not sure how to do it you can find the directions here.
  5. Count backwards from 300. Use each breath as 1 measure. Visualize the numbers as you count. Focus on “seeing” the numbers. Choose your favorite color and shape. Don’t work too hard at getting a perfect color or shape. Just be mindful of your count.
  6. Try to maintain your count and erase all other thoughts from your mind. If you find your thoughts drifting to other things  (like what’s for dinner or which bill is due today, etc.) gently bring your attention back to the numbers.
  7. As you reach zero, slowly open your eyes and take 5 more “belly breaths”.
  8. Continue with your day.

Once you’ve successfully been able to count backwards from 300 without your thoughts drifting, increase your time to 500. Meditation can be done just about anywhere at anytime. After some practice you can even employ this technique with your eyes open and in the midst of other activities. You’ll find that you will have a greater sense of clarity and less anxiety. You may even find some additional hidden benefits commonly associated with the more “mystical” side of meditation…

At Dragon Gate Fitness, internal fitness is just as important as external fitness. For that reason I highly recommend meditation. Now go find a nice quiet space and try it out. Sky’s the limit!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Meditation is a technique of quieting and focusing the mind. Its benefits include increased concentration, improved memory and decreased stress!

Learning How To Breathe…The Right Way!!!

Hello and welcome back! I’ve been on a slight hiatus as I’ve been in the midst of moving and also planning a video workout series designed to help all of you. I’m back now, just in time for fall, with a post that is not only about fitness but about your general wellness!

Question: Do you want to know how to improve your alertness, reduce stress and help your cardiovascular fitness by doing “almost nothing”?

Answer: Of course you do! I’m going to show you how, with a technique called Diaphragmatic Breathing.

Diaphragmatic Breathing (AKA Deep Breathing or “Belly Breathing”) is a method of drawing in the breath to reduce stress, relax and give yourself greater energy. It’s a technique that has been used for decades in the professional athletic community and for thousands of years in eastern spiritual in religious circles. I can tell you personally that I’ve used deep breathing in tons of different scenarios (from martial arts competition to studying and test taking to easing stress on the job) always to great effect.

Question: So how is it done?

Answer: Doing Diaphragmatic Breathing is simple:

  1. Sit up straight, back erect.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 10. As you inhale, push your stomach out, making your hand go outward. Imagine breathing fresh oxygen in from your nose and sending it down “into your feet.”
  4. Slowly exhale through your nose. Feel your stomach contract and your hand go inward.
  5. Return to resting position.

Repeat this cycle 5-10 times and notice any changes in your body. If you notice any shortness of breath and/or light-headedness please discontinue this practice.

The more you practice this technique the more you will begin to notice that Diaphragmatic breathing will replace your regular breathing. It will result in more mental alertness, reduced stress and a greater sense of ease. You will also that you are less fatigued during your workouts. This is because of the greater oxygen capacity your lungs now have!

Give Diaphragmatic Breathing a try and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit

Diaphragmatic Breathing has a variety of benefits including increased mental alertness, a boost in energy and decreased stress.
(picture courtesy of: Knowcopd.com)