In 1975, Dr. Herbert Benson published his landmark book, The Relaxation Response. He documented the many beneficial effects of meditation — lower stress levels, a reduced blood pressure and resting heart rate, and an overall increase in a sense of well-being. More recently, Biological Psychiatry published a new study that shows how mindfulness meditation can change the minds of ordinary people and possibly improve their overall health.
At Mountainside, we’ve always believed in the power of mind, body, and spirit. There are many therapeutic benefits associated with evidence-based mind, body, and spirit treatments, like meditation, yoga, aromatherapy and qigong. These benefits include:
- Natural help for anxiety, depression, stress, and fatigue
- An ability to “sit with” physical or emotional discomfort and stay present
- A health benefit for all body systems, including respiratory, circulatory, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, and lymphatic
- A developed connection with the highest self and the physical body
- A positive transformation of the brain’s function and structure through experience, also known as neuroplasticity
Many clients at Mountainside report that the practices found in our Wellness Program have significantly changed their lives. We encourage them to incorporate more wellness practices into their daily lives when they leave our campus post-treatment. The following tips from our wellness team will help you bring balance into your daily routine.
Making a Serene Space at Home
In Sanskrit, there is a word “Aparigraha” which means non-hoarding or non-holding. This is a good place to start. We suggest that people let go of what is no longer serving them to make room for other positive things they would like to see more of in their lives. Identify a spot in your home to create a serene space. Begin by getting rid of the clutter — anything that is distracting, unnecessary or stimulating (think piles of mail, laundry, electronics, etc.).
Then try adding a mat, blanket or blocks for yoga, a meditation cushion, bench, folded blanket or some reading material. This is now your sacred space.
Listening to music or reading a great book are easy ways to add balance to your routine. Studies have shown that music can lower anxiety and reduce a person’s overall stress, and reading is not only a great workout for your brain that keeps it sharp while also reducing stress.
Recommended books include:
- Illuminata by Marianne Williamson
- Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates, Katrina Kenison
- Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope
- Life Is a Trip by Judith Fein
Recommended music artists include:
- Deuter — Try Garden of the Gods or Koyasan
- Brian Eno — The Pearl, Music for Airports
- Anugama — Spiritual Environment: Shamanic Dream
- Cybertribe — Poseidon’s Gate from Eons of Dignity
- Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors — Chen Rezi, Vajra Guru
- Heather & Benji Wertheimer — Baba Hanuman
- Snatam Kaur — Anything by her is beautiful
Make Your Practice Your Own
Now that you have chosen a sanctuary in your home and added inspirational elements to help with your practice of yoga and meditation, you may feel the need to incorporate some more accessories to decorate your space. Take your time and pick items that speak to you and make you feel calm or relaxed in your sacred space. It is important to personalize your space and find out which items will work best for you.
Remember to start small and make incorporating mind, body, and spirit practices manageable. Even just 10 minutes can transform your day and shift your perspective.