The Power of Meditation

August 16, 2012

Two months ago I learned to meditate. Such a simple sentence to write, but the changes and improvements to my body and my outlook are huge!

I went to Guadalajara with several friends back in June and took a course in Transcendental Meditation. The course is taught over one week – five days of between 1-1/2 and 2 hours per day. I learned the technique easily and have been meditating twice a day for twenty minutes nearly every day since. If you’re in México and you’d like to take a class, leave a comment or use the contact form and I’ll send you our teacher’s contact information. The two offices here are in Guadalajara and León. We’re hoping to put together a group of 8 or 10 students and have our teacher come to Mazatlán to teach this fall or winter, so if you’ll be here and are interested, let me know!

TM instruction is highly controlled – there are no books out there to teach you but it is quite easy to learn. You’ll be given a mantra and will have a very inspiring ceremony to help you on your way.

There are several kinds of meditation – one might be right for you. TM is a mantra meditation. There is also mindfulness meditation, loving kindness meditation, walking meditation, meditation that focuses on the breath, and many others. If you want to look into the various types, I would check out Headspace, or this tutorial to get started.

Why would you want to meditate?

It can lower your blood pressure and heart attack risk as well as reduce stress. It will help you be more rested. You’ll sleep better. It can help seniors relieve loneliness. It can help soldiers deal with post-traumatic stress. You will feel calmer and more able to make reasoned rather than snap decisions. Your relationships will likely improve. Meditation is even being used in schools to help kids learn more and cope with stress. It’s even used in military schools! Here’s a video about a school in Detroit where the kids meditate twice a day for 10 minutes:

How do I feel after two months of practice? Great. I feel calm and centered. I am slower to get upset. I feel stronger about taking good care of my body. I am sleeping better. I feel more peaceful.

I look forward to meditating. I sit down (in a regular chair, not on the floor in lotus position!) in the morning after I’ve had a cup of tea or coffee but before breakfast. I sit quietly for 20 minutes, and even if my mind is full of thoughts I keep on and generally feel a very deep peacefulness towards the end of the session. Paul has been meditating with me – and our two dogs even lie down and sleep quietly during our “pack quiet time.”

In the late afternoon I meditate before dinner. My stomach is empty, most of my chores are over, and I am open and ready for twenty minutes of intense rest. As soon as I sit down and put my hands in my lap I feel my breathing regulate and a peaceful feeling come over me. Twenty minutes passes by in a flash.

I’ve read a lot about how good meditation is for you – it even has been shown to create new connections in the brain! Kids do better on tests and homework comes easier – and I find I have way more discipline with regard to completing tasks.

Meditation is not a religion. It’s a practice. It’s a practice I would love to see become even more widespread. I hope you’ll look into some of the links here and try it for yourself. Why not?

Disclosure: The videos I’ve linked to here (there are 3) are about Transcendental Meditation, which is one of the most well researched forms of meditation. It is my belief that the same changes would be found with other meditation techniques. And no, I am not being paid by TM!

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. I am so happy to know you are meditating now and enjoying its wonderful benefits, Nancy. That’s terrific! I know you’ll love the couch to 5k as well; a very good friend of mine did it a year and a half ago and has run 3 marathons since!

    1. Thanks, Nancy. Meditation is a life-changing and wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were part of the curriculum in all schools? Everyone deserves a chance to at least learn a simple meditation technique and then decide whether to make it a life-long habit. Meditation nurtures our mental and physical health, and I’m certain we will live longer because of it.

    1. Wow, I remember doing TM (in the mid-70s because it was pre-children). I loved it. I don’t remember why I stopped doing it. Meditation really does have excellent benefits.


    1. I would love to learn more about meditation in the fall!

    1. “If you can’t find the time to do TM, you’re too busy.”

      It’s good you’ve been clear that you are describing your results from practicing TM.

      Everyone should understand that the very large majority of research reported in the media on “meditation” is specifically done on Transcendental Meditation. Because, as Mr. Chawkin points out above, the results of different meditation techniques are found to be different, it’s important to be aware of which technique was studied in any research results offered as evidence of benefits of a particular meditation someone is offering. There are many instances where benefits found on TM are reported in the media as evidence for other meditation techniques. Some people offering their version of meditation have even pointed to the results on TM without identifying TM, implying or even claiming they are supporting research for their specific technique. Check the research before so you know what the research really says about any specific meditation technique. Look before you dive. if you want the results from TM, learn TM.

      1. Dianne, Thanks, I am enjoying it a lot.

        Judith, You are so right! Life changing for sure.

        Theresa, Are you considering picking up TM again? I sure feel the benefits.

        Ken, Thank you, I enjoyed reading your links. And I am aware that TM results are likely different, I was trying to encourage everyone to try meditation without preaching the benefits of TM to the exclusion of other types of meditation.

        Contessa, I hope you do, it is wonderful.

        Trish, Great, I will keep you in the loop!

        Steve, I pointed out that the videos were on TM and my intention was to be inclusive regarding the benefits of all types of meditation. I understand most research is on TM but my perspective is that all meditation will improve your health and well being and encouraging people to look into it for themselves.

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