Meditation – Holistic Path to Staying Healthy
Updated: May 12, 2021
Holistic health embraces entire health of a human being in all four aspects of life — physical, mental, social and spiritual. Health is connected to the whole wellbeing of an individual. It is not just the absence of disease, but it is a state of wellness in which a person can enjoy their physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects at the same time. According to the primary principle of holistic medicine, optimum wellbeing can be achieved by finding balance in body, spirit, and mind. The primary goal of holistic wellness is to ensure all of these individual elements of a person are in consistent alignment.
Searching for different meditation techniques that can help in achieving this balance I came across an old metaphor in Hindu tradition – A passenger, carriage, driver and horse…
“Know the atman as the lord of the chariot, the body as only the chariot, know also intelligence as the driver, know the minds as the reins” (Katha Upanishad verses 1.3.3)
Imagine – The Physical Body is a carriage that travels down the road. The road is sometimes smooth and easy, other times it has its potholes, up’s and down’s and bumps. Sometimes the bends are sharp and difficult to see. Every now and then the chariot runs through areas of mist, fog and storms to only pass through them and to move to a bright and sunny journey. The carriage is pulled by two horses, black and white, yin and yang, horses symbolise Emotions; these are sometimes pulling us away or lead our choices. The driver – he represents our Mind, our thinking patterns, he controls the carriage and the horses, he often is regarded as being a master. However, inside the carriage is a passenger, ‘lord of a chariot’, we can’t usually see him, he symbolises our Soul. It is him who knows where the carriage is heading, he is a guide, the true master of the chariot. Unseen, inside each of us.
Now, it is only up to us how much effort we are willing to commit to balance these four elements. Meditation is one of the tools used to promote health in all these areas of life.
On a physical level, meditation:
Lowers high blood pressure.
Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks.
Decreases any tension-related pain, such as tension headaches, insomnia, muscle, and joint problems.
Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behaviour.
Improves the immune system.
Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy.
On a mental and emotional level:
Emotional stability improves.
You gain clarity and peace of mind.
Meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation.
On a Spiritual level:
In a meditative state, you are in a space of calmness and joy and this is what you bring into your environment.
Meditation initiates connection with your true self.
It can create a true personal transformation.
It centres and grounds.
It awakes your internal intelligence, which taps into one’s intuition, initiating self-healing.
We all have ability within ourselves to calm, to balance, to heal and to project and initiate remedial action. Meditation awakens our ever-present intelligence, Deepak Chopra calls it “body’s natural intelligence”. In every moment, our body adjusts to the current situation, to changes in the environment, temperature, emotional imbalances etc. Below I will present a simple technique to awaken your body intelligence through meditation, this will be a great start for holistic balance. The more we are supporting our body’s intelligence the more we become connected to our underline vitality that each of us possesses.
Sit in an easy position, close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath. Hold it in and when exhaling release all the tension you feel in your body.
Relax the muscles on your face, relax the jaws, let go of all the tension that accumulated in your forehead.
Take a deep breath in and pull your shoulders up to your ears, hold your breath counting to three and let your shoulders drop while you breathe out. Repeat three times.
Bring your attention to the present moment, let off any thoughts that may be taking you to the past or future.
Bring your attention to your lungs, notice how they open, expand and contract with every breath you take. Notice the synchronisation between your breath and your heartbeat, feel your heartbeat. Observe your body’s functions, become aware of the reactions that your body performs all the time; perhaps you have a little scratch or cut, try to imagine and see how hard your body works to heal it.
Now, focus on your senses. Bring your attention to your ears, notice the sounds around you, however avoid focusing on one particular sound, let your attention drift from one sound to another, naturally and easy. Now bring your attention to your skin, feel any sensations on your skin, temperature, pressure, just acknowledge them. Next, move your attention to your eyes, even with your eyes closed notice any colours, shades of lights, shapes or images that arise, again, without holding on to any of them. Now, move your attention to your tongue, notice any sensations here, any tastes, moisture. Then, bring your focus to the tip of your nose, be aware of any smells in your environment, just notice them, without labelling. Spend some time exploring each of the senses, let your attention flow from one to another.
Now, bring your attention to your whole body by using all your senses – noticing, listening, testing, smelling and becoming aware. Sit in this space, in the present moment. Keep your eyes softly closed, notice your breathing, establish any apprehensions within. With each inhalation imagine the breath moving towards the areas of tension. With each exhalation imagine releasing this tension. Take your time in this space.
When finished, take three deep breaths, holding to count of three and slowly releasing, start moving gently, move your fingers and your toes, gently move your head from side to side or in a circular manner and open your eyes slowly.
This exercise repeated regularly will unlock your body’s intelligence, it will direct your inner energy into areas of your body and mind that require attention. It will allow your natural intelligence to respond and it will activate a natural healing process. Enjoy.