Alleviate life's stresses with our five minute guided meditation audio clip; discover how to combine meditation with physical exercise using the mindful walking technique; and learn how to sew your own zafu meditation cushion. Get even more tips and health facts about the meditation in the March 2004 issue of Canadian Living Magazine.
Meditating to soothe the mind
Amanda McFarlan, 42, started meditating 16 years ago when she did a project on the Buddhist religion during nursing school â€“ and observed meditators at a temple in Toronto. Today, she often does a 15-minute meditation while she sits with her children as they go to sleep at night. She sits cross-legged with her back against the wall. With her thumbs lightly touching (if she starts falling asleep, the fingers drop and she snaps back) and her eyes partially closed, she often uses a river scenario to quiet her mind. Whenever unpleasant thoughts (about work-related traumas for example) come up, McFarlan becomes an observer on shore and just lets the thoughts flow by on the river.
Meditation for pain management and balance
Toben Anderson, 45, a Calgary-based motivational speaker and national spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, started meditating in 1994 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer â€“ since then she has had cancer twice more. "Meditation is one of the tools I use to live a more balanced, peaceful, joyful connected life." She meditates at different times of the day, and "I always start by focusing on my breathingâ€¦ to stop thinking." That quiet space is a place where you can find peace. During an excruciating painful experimental treatment for breast cancer (stem cell transplant) Toben used meditation to cope. While she held her husband's hand, she used meditative breathing, focusing on breathing in light and life and breathing out pain, suffering and fear. And "there was nothing wrong with that moment in my life other than having this pain."