Talk to any group of parents, really any group of adults, and after a while the conversation will turn to the topics of stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and how each of these affects our health. And pretty much everyone either has or is looking for a way to manage all of the above. Some meditate. Some practice yoga. Some kickbox. Some primal scream. For one Bergen Mama, the answer was just up the road in Ramsey.
Bergen Mama wellness editor, Helaine Kay, has just completed an intensive course to learn the practice of Transcendental Meditation. This simple, natural technique has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance brain function, performance and creativity, improve cardiovascular health, and combat a host of issues including depression, insomnia, addiction, PTSD, high blood pressure and chronic pain.
At the Transcendental Meditation Center in Ramsey, certified instructors work one-on-one with students to provide individualized guidance in the practice of Transcendental Meditation. Over the course of four days, Helaine’s instructor, Christine Loyocano, a certified teacher and lifelong practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, immersed Helaine in learning about the history and the benefits of TM while also teaching her to practice this ancient technique. In the process, Christine also dug deep, helping Helaine explore her “why” for learning TM. On the first day, Helaine received her mantra, a sound that is unique to her, which she then practiced and perfected and that she now uses when she practices TM on her own.
For Helaine, life can get crazy and like most parents, she is often stressed and overwhelmed by the tasks that go along with adulting: raising kids, working, shuttling the kids to and from their activities, games, doctors’ appointments, or (insert your stress here). Even with exercising and eating right, Helaine felt that she needed a consistent, daily practice of mindfulness in her life.
TM fit the bill with the simple requirement that practitioners simply allow their active, thinking mind to quiet by closing their eyes and sitting comfortably for twenty minutes, twice a day. During these times, the body learns to achieve a level of rest and relaxation deeper than the deepest sleep, helping to release anxiety, fatigue, depression, decreases cortisol levels, and increases serotonin levels.
So, now that she’s been practicing on her own for a while, what are Helaine’s takeaways? First, and this will not be surprising, she has found it difficult to carve out the time to do it. But she’s committed to making it a habit and she forgives herself on the days when she’s only able to meditate once. Helaine also advises carving out places and times for meditation saying, “I have gotten very creative in finding places to meditate - from the parking lot outside of my daughter’s tennis lesson to the closet in my bedroom when the dogs are barking to the waiting area in a crowded doctors’ office.”
But, does it work? Helaine says yes, “Everyday I see aspects of my life improving in subtle but impactful ways. I’m sleeping better. I don’t feel anger in quite the same way. I’m calmer.”
Intrigued? The Transcendental Meditation Center of North Jersey offers free introductory talks a few times a month. You should check it out. What have you got to lose? Well, except your stress.
Transcendental Meditation Center of North Jersey 17 S Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey 201-904-0025