ATHENS, Ga- Those who practice daily meditation say they reap the benefit of having fewer stressful days, even with just a couple of minutes of daily dedication.
Becky Smith, the owner of Above Barre Athens, started incorporating a few minutes of meditation into the barre classes at her studios to help gym-goers de-stress. For about two to five minutes at the end of class, women are encouraged to meditate and clear their minds.
“We have such busy lives. It’s just good to have those few moments to yourself,” Smith says.
Above Barre isn’t the only workout studio incorporating meditation into their workouts. Shakti Yoga starts each class with two minutes of meditation. Lexie Rooker, an employee at Shakti Yoga, has been practicing yoga and meditation for two years.
“For anxiety and stress, it’s great to be able to sit down for a minute and just not think about anything. It’s really beneficial,” Rooker says.
Meditation and mindfulness are practices that go beyond the gym. Jerry Gale, a licensed family therapist and clinical director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at the University of Georgia, believes that meditation and mindfulness should be a daily practice.
“Mindfulness is a part of meditation and meditation is a set of practices that engage ourselves to be self-reflective and it impacts how we see the world. Different practices including mindfulness, compassion, loving-kindness and concentration allow us the ability to manage our reactivity,” Gale said.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the research-backed stress-reduction program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, said that meditation is a different journey for each participant. It’s not about getting to a fixed destination, but rather a place where the person enters a moment of thought free from distraction. Mindfulness meditation allows us to escape our judgments and allow us to enter a world where we exert more kindness to others and more importantly to ourselves.
“Mindfulness is an aspect of meditation, and meditation is skills and practices for engaging ourselves to be self-reflective, to examine how our thoughts and emotions impact our health and well-being,” Gale continued.
There are many different ways to meditate. According to Shape Magazine, meditators can rest their palms either face up or face down as they wish. Palms up means one is “open to receive” and will typically give the meditator more energy. Palms down “grounds” an individual.
University of Georgia student, Emily Peoples, finds meditation to be a way of life.
University of Georgia Professor Jerry Gale believes that meditation would help students relieve stress and better their relationships with one another.