I love to read inspirational books and my bookcase groans under the weight of them all sometimes. One of the first books I read on my yoga training course was “Meditation as Medicine” by Dharma Singh Khalsa (DSK), M.D. & Cameron Stauth.
I was blown away by the results DSK had with his patients using powerful meditations from Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Being one of the very few physcians who is also a yogi, he made the science behind the yoga very accesible and easy to understand, interwoven with incredibly moving stories of how patients who could barely function (literally unable to walk due to horrific accidents and enduring endless painful operations), that after much committment to his prescriptions of meditation as medicine, were not only walking unassisted again but able to live their lives without pain and fear. I wept, it was just so moving.
Meditation techniques such as Transcendental Meditation and the relaxation response have been studied in hundreds of controlled studies, and we know that the state created by these techniques have profound effects –
- calming hormones are released (melatonin, seratonin)
- blood lactate is reduced (meditation is the only activity to reduce this marker of stress/anxiety)
- hearing, blood pressure, vision – key indicators of aging improved
- 80% less heart disease, 50% less cancer in long term meditators
- higher DHEA levels – which helps to decrease stress, heighten memory, preserve sexual function, and control weight
- 75% of insomniacs were able to sleep normally when they meditated
- 34% of people with chronic pain significantly reduced medication when they began meditating
- reduction of substance abuse
The research DSK is undertaking is starting to suggest the medical meditations (ie Kundalini Yoga) are having an even more powerful effect. For example the deeper structures in the brain are showing more activity where memory centres are located, and in areas involved in mediating the aging process.
It seems that we are most often encouraged by society to look outside ourselves for medication – whether it be for a headache, a heartache or some peace of mind. And in reality the medicine is within ourselves, our attention, our awareness, bringing ourselves into a healing space that let’s the intelligence of our body/mind do what it was born to do. Heal us.
I suppose the deeper question is, what stops us from doing it? Perhaps make a list of all the reasons you can’t take the time to meditate or do yoga, and see which ones you want to hold onto, and which ones, if not all, you want to let go of. And if this is your reason “I don’t know how, and I can’t stop thinking” , then try a 3 minute meditation, sitting with a straight spine, inhale deeply and slowly and mentally say Sat, exhale slowly and completely, and mentally say Nam (or some other mantra you prefer). Repeat for 3 minutes and observe the difference inside. You decide then if it’s worth it.
Sat Nam – I honor the Truth of your identity, which is the same as mine and makes us one