“The fundamental pulse of life is the rhythmic wave called oscillation” – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Does meditation actually work for relieving stress? Well, you know my response: there is only one way to find out!
As with all self-experiments, first start with information from some of the experts out there. Mark Divine, founder of SEALFIT (a ridiculously intense workout program based on Navy Seal training) talks about the importance of meditation as a part of their SEALFIT program – just as working out activates the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system, deep breathing activates the parasympathetic, which can actively lead to stress recovery. In the SEALFIT program, they even use deep breathing during incredibly intense workouts in order to complete the exercise with far less fatigue than without the breathing techniques.
Brown University had a TEDx talk about meditation, which is below. If you have time to watch it, it is totally worth it.
(the x-axis is time, and the y-axis is my heart rate in beats per minute)
As background to the next HRV graph I will present, I started Brian Mackenzie’s ultramarathon training program last week. As you can imagine, the program is hard. I mean, it is ridiculously kick-ass. It is for masochists. It absolutely wrecked me. There is a ‘rest period’ during one of the days, and during that period I worked on my HRV with no relation to the fact that I was tired from working out. I found something very interesting, reflected by the following graph:
As for now, if you want to try to experience the benefits of meditation without the Emwave2, follow these simple steps:
1. Breathe deeply and evenly through your nose.
2. Focus on feeling as if your breaths are entering your heart – a feeling of opening your heart up. Also focus on how the area around your heart feels.
3. Create positive imagery in your mind while still focusing on your breathing. The imagery should give you a deep feeling of appreciation and happiness.
If you are using an Emwave, you will notice that in the easiest setting you are now in high coherence. Once you increase the difficulty, you will have to learn new techniques (such as holding the breath at the top and bottom and focusing on positive emotions) in order to continue to reach high coherence.
If you are interested in buying an Emwave2, there are several options available including their newest option, which connects directly to your iPhone. Super cool.
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As always, let me know your results and tips - how do you meditate, and what can the rest of us learn from your methods or results?
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