We’re in the middle of a discussion about meditation. I’ve been setting you up for this for months, explaining the various health benefits of meditating and becoming parasympathetic. Now, are you ready? Below I’ve explained the fifteen most common exercises I practice on my meditation cushion. I recommend choosing one and sticking with it for five to twenty minutes. Like I always say, start on the short end and gradually work your way up to longer periods of meditating.
Breathe in and out through your nostrils and keep your eyes gently closed (unless otherwise specified). My meditation instructor, Victor Parachin, recommends doing yoga and meditation in a two-to-one ratio; for example, stretch for twenty minutes and then meditate for ten. Typically when I meditate, I start with a simple phrase, such as saying to myself “in” as I inhale and “out” as I exhale. After a few minutes of that (once my mind has calmed down a bit), I then transition into a different meditative exercise. There are thousands to choose from, but here are just a few of my favorites:
- Count your inhalations/exhalations: Take a nice, long, deep breath in and out through the nose and then…
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Jesus Christ
Living in Tulsa, it’s no surprise that I’ve faced some opposition when it comes to teaching yoga. Most of this resistance, however, comes from people of faith that really aren’t educated about yoga. They have no personal experience with it. Perhaps their pastor has spoken against it or they’ve read an article online saying that it is “bad” or “pagan”. This month I will be defending practicing yoga in the context of Christianity. I understand that this topic will greatly intrigue some, and leave others shrugging their shoulders saying, “Who cares? Why is this such a big deal?”
I don’t bring up religion or politics very often, for obvious reasons. I want to unite, not divide. Although I presently consider myself much more “spiritual” than “religious”, the fact is that I was raised in the Christian church. I went to a private school from K-12 and even for several semesters of college. I was in church every Sunday (sometimes for multiple services) and Wednesday. As I grew older, I attended every time the doors were open….
Acupuncture is probably the most popular branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), though it is not the only. Other modalities that are commonly used include tui na (Chinese massage), herbs, moxibustion, and cupping. Acupuncture in its most ancient form is a TCM practice, but there have been many cultures and groups of people that have modified the TCM style of acupuncture and published their own versions of this healing art. For example, Japanese acupuncture is different from Chinese acupuncture, which is different from Korean acupuncture, which is different from European acupuncture. Here in the States, there is medical acupuncture and dry needling. All these different styles insert the same hair-thin needles into various points on the body. I think of it similarly to how there are many different sects and denominations of each religious path. Although most of these groups all agree on the same main principles and ideas, they may diverge on less important practices or beliefs; thus, they create their own school of thought. When I utilize acupuncture on a patient, it is not uncommon for me to blur many of these different methods into one treatment. I will needle common TCM points (of which…