Intermittent fasting is a hot topic in the diet and nutrition world. There are many books, blogs, celebrities and even apps touting the many health benefits of this pattern of energy consumption. The question is whether there is sufficient clinical research to supports these claims. Intermittent fasting has been a part of religious practices for centuries. Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish populations all perform intermittent fasting at different times throughout the year. Clinical studies on intermittent fasting are still quite limited and what we do know comes mostly from: animal studies, a handful of human trials with small sample
There are many misconceptions about meditation. People might believe its just something Buddhists do, or that it’s just sitting around doing nothing. In both cases you’d be incorrect! Today more and more people of all types are meditating and there are a multitude of reasons for this!
Meditating is almost the opposite of sitting around doing nothing. In most types of meditating you’re actively focusing on your breath, a visualization or a mantra which is a set of words that may or may not have any actual meaning. In all of these cases you are focusing intently on being in the now, not thinking about anything other than whatever you chose to focus on.
Today meditation gives me focus, calm, vision and willpower. I believe these four outcomes are beneficial for all people and achievable with just a few minutes of sitting every day.
Originally I wanted to meditate before football games to increase my level of focus. I found however that mediation for five minutes only before a football game was sort of worthless. It didn’t calm me down and it actually made me see how out of control my mind actually was. Why should my mind, which has been out of control my entire life, suddenly be calm and quiet? I did some reading and found if I wanted meditation to help me, I needed to have a dedicated practice.
I now do a few different types of meditation. Whatever type I choose to do, I sit down with a timer set for however long I intend to mediate. This is the first key, your mind will say “you’ve been sitting here a long time” or “this is boring.” Realizing these thoughts are just that, thoughts that have no power over you, you can take the first step in becoming a meditator.
There are a million guided meditations on the internet but I’ll help you get started. First sit in a comfortable chair or if you’re flexible you can sit on a pad on the floor with your legs crossed. The primary thing that is important here is that you aren’t leaning on anything. Next close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel the air going in and out with every breath. Inevitably when your mind drifts and start to think about something, acknowledge the thought non judgmentally then return to your breath. That’s it. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and enjoy yourself. Meditation is not hard but the main perceived difficulty is believing you have to exert control over your mind. Rather than trying to control anything, simply return to your breath.
I’ll talk more about meditation and its benefits in the future but that should get you started.