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How to Meditate
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Meditation relieves stress by
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Hi. I'm Ann Casapini for about.com and today I'm going to talk about how to meditate and how it helps reduce stress.Meditation relieves stress by decreasing the heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones.Meditation teaches us to focus inwardly by concentrating on the breath, cultivating a one-pointed focus of attention -thus quieting the mind.To begin, find a comfortable and quiet location. You'll need a chair or cushion and a timer. Set the timer for 3-5 minutes. If using a chair, sit toward the front of the seat so that your feet are flat on the floor, your back straight. If you need back support, try placing a firm pillow between your lower back and the back of the chair. You can also place a foot stool (or a phone book) under your feet to raise them and sit further back on your seat.If you sit on the floor, use a firm cushion and sit towards the front of the cushion with your legs crossed and your back straight.Ideally you want to raise your hips 3-4 inches above your knees. For more comfort in the knees, take a blanket rolled lengthwise and place it in front of your ankles and under both knees. Once seated, roll your thighs in and anchor them down, widening your sit-bones apart. Be sure your pelvis is not too far forward or too far back.
Lengthen your torso evenly on all sides and draw the shoulder blades gently in. Rest your hands face down on your thighs so that your elbows are under your armpits.The eyes can be closed or you can gaze downwards, keeping the head and neck slightly forward. Relax your jaw with lips slightly touching. Now set an intention. It can be something as simple as "I want to calm down."Taking a full and gentle breath in through your nostrils, begin to focus your awareness on the sensations at the tip of your nostrils as the breath enters and leaves your body. Count your breath in cycles of five complete breaths. If you forget what # you are up to, simply begin counting again at one. If thoughts or emotions appear, gently return your focus back to the breath.
If you feel any physical discomfort, gently change position.If you feel sleepy, check your posture and be sure your back is straight and your head is not bent too far forward.Or you might try gazing at a point on the floor.When your timer goes off sit for another moment and just enjoy your breath. It is best to meditate daily, in the same location at the same time. Once you can sit for 3-5 minutes, add 5 minutes each week until you can sit up to 20 minutes.
For more information visit About.com. Thanks for watching.
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