Thanks to Andy Roberts from Breathe Australia for sharing this article.
We exercise so that we can enjoy a long, healthy and happy life. We also practice sports to bring us closer to others and help us learn more about ourselves.
Ground breaking research over the past few years indicates that, in addition to exercise and a healthy diet, meditation has a profound positive impact on the ageing process.
In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of the protective caps on chromosomes called ‘telomeres’. Every time a cell divides, these protective caps wear down, and — over time — the telomeres shorten. As the telomeres shorten, the cells start to malfunction and lose their ability to divide. Today, based on Blackburn’s research, scientists use the measure of telomere length as a metric for ageing and disease risk.
She also discovered an enzyme called ‘telomerase’, which protects the chromosomal caps from the wear and tear of cellular division, or ageing. Therefore, the more telomerase you have, the longer your telomeres will be; the less telomerase you have, the shorter your telomeres will be. The shorter your telomeres, the more exposed to ageing, degeneration and disease you become.
“As we clear our head of thoughts and learn to focus, we reduce stress levels and re-build our bodies at the cellular level”
In follow up studies by Blackburn a meditation group was seen to have up to a 30% increase in telomerase activity. Another study conducted at UCLA showed a 43% increase in telomerase activity.
Over the next few years there will be a revolution in health and wellbeing. The three cornerstones of health will be exercise, diet and meditation. As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat”, but you are what you think as well. As we clear our head of thoughts and learn to focus, we reduce stress levels and re-build our bodies at the cellular level.
Here are a few easy ways that you can meditate and reap the benefits:
Meditation Tip 1
Take a few long breaths in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. As you breathe in, silently count to four and as you breathe out count to eight.
Meditation Tip 2
Imagine there is a balloon beneath your belly button. As you breathe in the balloon inflates and as you breathe out it deflates. Focus on getting the balloon to rise slowly and fall slowly, breathing in through the nose and out through the nose as you do.
Discover the benefits of meditation, mindfulness and breathing first-hand at Andy Robert’s half-day meditation course. The next in Townsville is on Sunday, June 12. Find out more and book here.