Should I learn to meditate?

Would you like to have more ease and well-being in your life? How about better health, less anxiety and more happiness? Perhaps you should consider learning how to meditate. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, but has experienced tremendous growth in the last 10 years. What used to be associated with the spiritual life of monks, nuns, yogis and other religious professions is now quite mainstream. Meditation requires no religious beliefs, just a willingness to follow a few simple steps to calm, restore and renew your mind and body.

Meditation has long been credited with evoking a sense of peace and relaxation, increased creativity and positive psychological benefits. Science is now confirming the anecdotal evidence of the past. A 2011 Harvard study revealed meditation actually changes the brain in ways that reduce anxiety and stress and increase self-awareness, compassion and introspection – qualities that can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other research has shown meditation stimulates the release of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, powerful chemicals linked to different aspects of happiness. It also reduces the “stress hormone” cortisol, known to contribute to heart disease, insulin resistance, anxiety and depression.

So, while our lives will probably continue to be busy and somewhat stressful, meditation can help maintain the emotional and physical balance needed for a happy, healthy life. Meditation is easy to learn and only takes a few minutes each day – 15 to 20 minutes. It is a simple practice with many positive benefits!

Join meditation teacher Carol Emerson for a three-week class that will set you up for your own personal practice. You will learn to create the mental, emotional and physical conditions necessary to create a meditation habit. You will learn and practice several simple meditation techniques, then craft your own meditation routine. Finally, you will learn to deal with the distractions, inner resistance and self-sabotage that can interfere with your ability to fully experience the benefits and blessings of practice.

Meditation is simple, yet deep, vast and complex. The class will simplify things to give you a foundational practice that will serve you for many years. Carol Emerson has been meditating for over 30 years and teaching for 12. She first learned Taoist meditation techniques in 1978 as part of her martial arts training, then Kriya Yoga meditation in 1998. She is a fifth-generation lineage holder in the tradition of Kriya Yoga founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. Carol is affiliated with the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, Illinois, and continues her personal studies with Eric Klein, founder of Wisdom Heart Community in Encinitas, California. The class meets twice a week for three weeks from 10:00-11:30 a.m., October 3, 5, 10, 12, 17 and 24. All meetings will be in Meeting Room 1 at the Preserve, except for October 5, which will be in the Saguaro Room at HOA2 clubhouse. The cost is $120. To register, call Carol at 825-9206.