Popularity, benefits of meditation widespread

Imagine that your mind dissolves and is free of all thoughts. You focus on a single object. Next you experience a mental opening to the divine, invoking the guidance of a higher power.

Meditation has recently become a phenomenon in American society. But meditation also provides many health benefits.

When meditation is combined with yoga, the benefits multiply.

According to http://healthandyoga.com, yoga and meditation techniques are being implemented in the management of life-threatening diseases such as cancer, the reversal of mental illness, and in lifestyle management.

“I don’t meditate because I really don’t understand it,” said Darren Hall, 19, a freshman chemistry student from Tallahassee.

Hall said it is interesting, but never thought about meditating.

“Someday I might read a book on meditation, if I have the spare time,” Hall said.

Experts say meditation invokes brainpower when properly practiced.

Jose Silva, an American pioneer in the field of meditation, said he realized meditation enhances creativity and develops intuition.

“I meditate everyday and do yoga three times a week,” said Nikka Johnson, 21, a criminal justice student from Naples.

Johnson said she has been meditating for about six years now.

“It keeps me grounded and focused in life,” Johnson said.

Meditation causes the heart rate to slow down and lowers oxygen consumption.

“Meditation helps with concentration and mental development,” said Kerry Slogan, yoga instructor at the Center of Yoga in Fort Lauderdale.

Slogan is also an artist and said meditation boosts creativity in her work.

“I’m a practical person, so meditating aids me in prioritizing and weighing my options,” Slogan said.

Her back was injured in a car accident approximately one year ago. She said meditation and yoga helped in the process of healing her back injury.

“My back was healed through a balance of meditation, which cleared my mind and focused on the problem, and yoga which helped my joints heal through rotation and strength,” Slogan said.

Slogan said when a person’s breathing slows down it helps combat stress and high blood pressure.

According to http://healthandyoga.com, meditation helps reduce anxiety attacks, decreases muscle tension, alleviates headaches, soothes allergies, relieves arthritis pain and increases serotonin production, which influences mood and behavior.

For college students, many of whom deal with stress on a regular basis, meditation can help.

“Meditation is a major stress reliever and helps with the disbursement of adrenaline,” Slogan said.

According to the Health and Yoga Web site, Dr. Herbert Benson, a former research professor at Harvard Medical School, did research on the physiological effects of meditation, in which he found a counter-balancing mechanism to the fight-or-flight response in most stress-inducing situations.

Stress is induced by stimulation of the hypothalamus.

Relaxation is achieved by countering that stimulation through the stimulating of other areas of the brain.

This is achieved by meditating, which leads to a state of deep rest.

Scientific research has found that meditation is vital to a person’s well being and builds self-confidence.

“The key to balance in a person’s life is meditation,” Slogan said. “Which helps with focus and concentration.”

Contact Melissa L. Louis at famuanhealth@hotmail.com