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Leftfield 101, MIndset - Meditation
By: Leftfield Training

Leftfield 101, Recovery - Meditation

Meditation has been practiced since antiquity. Across different faiths, and cultures, and across geographical borders; much like food, it takes on various guises according to cultural and geographic norms. Yet it retains an essence and purpose common to all.

Even if we have no direct experience of meditation, we at least have some notion as to what it is. Although these notions my be wildly different, they could all also be correct.

As well as the many different styles of meditation, there are also various acivities that can be referred to as meditative such as yoga and tai chi. Performing any task mindfully can be meditative. Eating a meal can be. Washing the dishes can be. Filling a dishwasher, less so.

There is however a factor common to all, as Daniel Goleman in The Meditative Mind writes:

"the need for the meditator to retrain his attention, whether through concentration or mindfulness, is the single invariant ingredient in... every meditation system"

The reasons as to exactly how the practice of meditation benefits the body are still speculation, but there is growing research that there are physiological changes made at a very fundamental level - even down to our genes.

Meditation is now widely used in clinical practice for benefits including reducing stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain, and blood pressure, but it is this retraining of attention that can help us specifically with regards to Leftfield 101.

In terms of recovery, there are the obvious benefits associated with deep relaxation. Learning to self-induce a state of rest and physical renewal allows the body to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system and aids (amongst other things) digestion, memory, fertility, immunity and circulation. It is essentially a regeneration mode.

A study in Perspectives on Psychological Science,as reported in The Huffington Post, shows there are benefits in:

- body awareness,
- self-awareness,
- regulation of emotion and
- regulation of attention.

These have clear parallels to every facet of the Elements training system.

Living with Intent

In the process of behaviour change it is our unconscious behaviours that can trip us up. Having decided what we want to achieve, the closer we can stick to the path, the more likely we are to succeed.

Unfortunately, many of our day -to-day decisions are made unconsciously. Rather than following any path, we are more like leaves in the breeze.

We all like to think we are masters of our own destiny but in the thousands of decisions made daily, how many of them actually take you directly towards where you want to be?

How many are side-shows?

Our thoughts and urges hold sway over us only in that they go unnoticed. By learning to observe our minds we become aware of our whims and urges. Unnoticed, we don't choose our behaviour. With awareness, grows the ability to live with a deliberate and conscious intent.

In control.

I am by no means an expert - an advanced learner at best, yet if you begin your own practice you will begin to notice the benefits almost immediately.

Needless to say, my monastic credentials are sorely lacking but, fortunately, this guy’s are not.

Andy Puddicombe, through the website (and phone app) Headspace, helps to demystify the practice of meditation. Through easy to understand explanations of what meditation is, and more importantly, what it isn't, you are guided through an introductory program in an easily accessible manner that will at the very least give you a good idea. This sort of guidance is invaluable.

If you have your own method already - then of course, continue with it. If not, take a look.

There are very few things we can do in life that have a bearing on all of it.

This is one of them.


Check out the website and get the Headspace app here

Either do it now, or set a reminder to do it later, I’ll wait.

Good. Now set another reminder to read all of the information provided on it, and watch all the clips.

Between now and Tuesday think about how you could best adopt a mediation practice into your day. Start with can, not can’t.

For the moment, that's it.

On Tuesday, after we have looked at building habits - we'll make the practice of daily meditation our first.
Any line between body and mind is blurred at best, and the comparisons to training the body are obvious. With consistent, dedicated practice you cannot help but see results.

But as outlined in 'Movement', developing this mind-body connection can exponentially increase our progress.
Along with our practice in movement, we will do better if we also practice stillness.

Again the analogy is apt - that music is shaped only in part by it's sound, and equally by its silence.

Further reading:

Call Leftfield Training now, and take the first step to getting IN SHAPE OUTDOORS.


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Added: 25-03-2014