As someone who had coped with anxiety much of her adult life, Kelly Brose of Urbandale had become well-versed in ways to treat her condition. And despite medications and various techniques, she ultimately found one of the most effective ways to combat her anxiety was through meditation.
“I still use it, and it’s still effective; in fact, it worked so well for me that I actually used to teach it,” Brose, 45, said. “Along with progressive muscle relaxation, it’s a great treatment that doesn’t involve taking medication, and that appealed to me.”
Brose is not alone; according to the Mayo Clinic website, meditation has long been touted, even by health-care professionals, as one of the most effective and popular ways to relieve stress, anxiety and even pain.
Beth Damm, an instructor at R Studios in Urbandale, said meditation can help with virtually any situation that life presents to any individual. R Studios offers instruction in yoga, personal training, meditation, detoxification and more.
“I’ve been teaching meditation as a…
part of yoga since 2006, and I can tell you with certainty that there’s no better way to achieve a connection between your body and your thoughts,” Damm, of Cumming, said. “When you’re united in mind, body and spirit, you can examine the thoughts you’re having and try to reach a place of stillness.”
Damm said contrary to what some might assume, meditation is not tied to any particular religion; anyone can participate, and chances are it will improve the well-being of anyone who commits to it.
“The thing is, most people probably practice it already to some degree, but they don’t call it meditation,” Damm said. “It’s simply about taking a moment to slow down and reconnect with yourself – to establish a connection that will impact how you relate to everything else around you.
“Anytime you just sit back and take a breather, you probably are, to some degree, practicing meditation.”
Damm said it’s often more difficult to allow oneself the time to meditate than it is to actually do it.
“The biggest thing is giving yourself permission to take the time, but as you do that more often, it will become easier and easier to establish a more formal process,” she said. “You’ll find that it quickly will become a valued part of your daily life.”
Virtually all meditation instructors teach in slightly different ways, Damm said. But if you’re interested in trying meditation at a location such as R Studios, here are a few preparation tips.
Don’t judge. “It’s important to have an open mind and let go of preconceived notions of what meditation may or may not be,” Damm said. “Come prepared to enjoy the experience.”
Get comfy. “Classes will involve guided meditation; the teacher will ask each person to come in and find a comfortable seat; you can sit or stand or lean against something, whatever you like,” she said. “Make sure to dress very comfortably!”
Be prepared to take instruction. “The instructor will guide you in some gentle relaxation exercises, then go on to some breathing and guided visualization,” Damm said. “It’s really quite simple – and quite enjoyable.”
The benefits of meditation are universal no matter what your age or position in life might be, Damm said. If you commit to meditation, you can expect to:
Connect with your body and how it’s feeling. “If you have challenges, you can assess them and make a positive choice on how they might be improved,” Damm said.
Receive a greater sense of clarity. “You’ll move from having scattered thoughts to greater focus,” she said.
Enjoy enhanced relationships. “Once you have a healthier relationship with yourself, you’re going to see that the relationships around you will change as well,” Damm said.
Brose said she has received all those benefits – and more – from meditation.
“When your mind is clear you problem-solve better and can be more relaxed and easier to be around,” she said. “It helps you see your life and your fears and your problems through different eyes.”