relaxation

One Day at a Time with Meditation

By Greg Schweitzer, MBA

As I approach the anniversary of the day in 1974 that I embarked on this journey of meditation practice, I am gratified that I have stuck with it. What’s kept me going for these 39 years?

A big part of my perseverance was that I felt happier, more joyful and purposeful from the very beginning. There were still contrasts, some days were better than others, but there was a definite trend toward progress.

And there were, still are, times when I didn’t feel like sitting down to meditate because I had so much that I wanted to do. I realize that I’m not alone. Having taught meditation for the past 36 years, it seems the biggest challenge people face is making the time to sit down to do it.

Here’s a tip. When you are in a mood that says “I don’t want to do this now.” Do it anyway. My first teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, told us that we need to learn to ignore or go beyond our moods and circumstances in order to maximize our success with meditation.

A mood will pass while the benefits of meditation last.

Last evening, a new client commented that she’s noticed that if she ignores her desire to skip a meditation and does it anyway, she’s always grateful that she meditated. In his classic, Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill said that successful people do what unsuccessful people will not do!

Here’s another tip. Take it one day at a time. You may be traveling or you may feel irritable and have no desire to do anything positive. Try to find a way to spend 5 – 10 minutes in meditation rather than blowing it off. Then later that day or the next day, do it again whether you want to or not.

Putting one foot in front of the other, in this simple way, the days turn into weeks, months and years. Before you know it, you’ll have a life built upon the foundation of a stable nervous system and a quiet, resilient mind. All are the natural outcomes of meditating, one day at a time.

The number of research studies on the positive effects of meditation practice is becoming increasingly abundant as reported in the mainstream media.

Here are a few of the benefits reported by our meditation clients:
• Deep healing and rejuvenating zest
• Release of stress and fatigue, more energy
• Lower blood pressure
• Relief from anxiety and depression
• Improved memory, creativity and focus
• Relief from headaches and pain
• Stronger immune system, less illness and better sleep
• Better moods and increased happiness
• Mental clarity and peace of mind
• Enhanced self-esteem and emotional stability

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

 

The Trager Approach

Rocking to Health  

Movement Education & Mind/Body Integration 

Have you ever been in an accident? Do you have weak posture? Are you fearful?  Perhaps you have developed emotional blockages or experiencing daily stress.

Dr. Milton Trager developed The Trager Approach, a psychophysical integration therapy, to treat his own chronic back pain. He became fascinated by how the body coordinated its patterns of movement in response to chronic pain or injury.

A Trager treatment consists of gentle, rhythmic rocking, and lengthening movements creating a state of deep relaxation and flexibility, which can allow the body and mind to achieve a state of balance and integration.

As the rhythmic motions progress, it is thought that deeper states of relaxation can facilitate the release of unhealthy patterns of tension between mind and body at an unconscious level.

By teaching the mind to unlearn these patterns of “blockage,” the body can also release chronic states of tension and become more flexible with less pain.

Conditions treated with the Trager Approach:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Joint irritation
  • Soft tissue discomfort
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Physical injuries
  • Neurological events (limited or restricted movement like stroke)
  • Tension headaches
  • Stress-related disorders
  • Emotional imbalances
  • Postural problems
  • Mobility issues
  • Pain relief
  • Increase physical mobility
  • Mental clarity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • Sports injuries
  • Back and leg problems (sciatica)
  • Breathing issues (asthma and emphysema)

Two aspects of Trager Therapy:

Table Work: The client lies on a well-padded table in a safe, comfortable environment while your body is supported and gently moved within its pain-free range of movement and natural rhythm. You may choose to be fully clothed, or partially clothed and appropriately draped.

Mentastics: Dr. Trager developed simple, effortless movements to encourage playful exploration of “what could be freer” for your body. Integrating Mentastics into your daily life will allow you to enhance and recall feelings of ease, freedom, flexibility and joy. Mentastics can become part of the way you take care of yourself by relieving stress and tension. Instruction is offered in private sessions or class.

Bonita Cassel is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and has been practicing the Trager Approach since 1985.

For Table Work or Mentastics instruction, please call 610.395.3355

 

 

 

 

 

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?

In the busyness of the day, it’s amazing that we can consistently ignore our highest good. Under chronic stress, life becomes very complex. In the state of overwhelm, our brain’s rational thinking gets short circuited. Stress makes us stupid!

And yet life does not have to be so difficult. To turn things around, pay attention to your most basic needs. And then take action on those needs. Corrective action, however, can only come if we are AWARE of our needs.

As an example, how many of us have found ourselves pressing to finish tasks when we are very hungry? This is not healthy, we are building stress. When I’m really hungry, I can’t focus on the task at hand because my hunger is shouting for attention.

And how many of you keep pushing on in the face of anger? Anger clouds perception and judgment. Rather than ignoring or denying its presence, why not take a break, get some exercise, relax, meditate, or just take some mindful breaths.

Arguably, our most serious limiting issue is fatigue. There seems to be little understanding of how seriously fatigue is affecting our performance, enjoyment, and health. Rest is an enzyme of life as necessary as air. We need it to keep going and to heal. If you’re tired, get more sleep. If you are not sleeping well, learn how to quiet your mind. Regular meditation practice will work wonders to reduce fatigue and enhance the quality of your life.

The bottom line is that we need to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. When you cross the boundary, take corrective action. If we don’t, life will catch up with us. Accidents and illness are two examples of ways that nature gets our attention. While unplanned and unpleasant, these interruptions can provide us with an opportunity to take stock of our life and create a better future.

Let’s take a proactive approach and create a healthy lifestyle. Pay attention to your needs and take action on them. Let me know if I can help.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay., Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

Improving Sleep & More

With State-of-the-Art Vibroacoustic Chair  

What a drag it was to get up in the morning to go to work. When the alarm went off, I just wanted to throw it out the window. I felt like my eyes didn’t want to open and my body felt like a load of bricks.  I finally had enough of this tossing and turning every night and decided to search for some way to get my nerves under control to enjoy a restful night of sleep.  With a stressful and demanding job, I couldn’t afford to work in a fog all day long.

 Then I saw an ad in a magazine about a state-of-the-art vibroacoustic chair at a health center that helps people with sleeping problems, among other things. I wanted to learn about this chair and experience it so I made an appointment with the counselor who is certified in this type of therapy.

I was fascinated that the process of hearing “sound vibration” through the body’s nerves, skin, and bones heals so many physical and mental problems.

Wow!  Just sitting on the o-gravity chair was incredibly comfortable.  I felt like I was floating as my muscles got more and more relaxed. The chair acted like electronic tuning forks that vibrated my whole body.  I was hearing multi-layered sounds from the ear phones and wearing glasses that transformed what I was hearing into mandala-like patterns of light while feeling the chair vibrate. The whole experience took my brain and central nervous system into a deeply relaxed-healing state – my brain was in balanced harmony!

Now that I had a session with the counselor and knew how to work the chair, I can visit the chair at my convenience and go home relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. This vibroacoustic chair has done wonders for my health–and it’s easy on my pocketbook.

 Meg Deak, MCAT, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Vibroacoustic Sound Practitioner, Certified Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner, and Music Therapist

Meditation is Personal Hygiene

Who among us would start our day without making time for personal hygiene? At the minimum, we clean our teeth, wash our body, and brush our hair. Why do we take the time? We feel better, we’re healthier and we receive good feedback from those we personally contact!

Meditation is a personal hygiene practice.  It prepares us for the day in front of us.  The day goes more smoothly; it is more enjoyable and meaningful as a result of making the time to meditate.

A few weeks after Mary and John learned to meditate; Mary said that John had changed. He’s much happier when he comes home from work, she said. 

John has a stressful one-hour drive to get to work each day. Add to the stress of the drive a long pressure-filled workday and the same return drive home, and you realize what many of us face every day. We then carry the fatigue and pressure of our workday into the evening hours with our family. Now, since taking the Effortless Meditation™ course, John sits in his car to meditate in the garage for 15 – 20 minutes following the ride home. The deep rest of his meditation releases his tension and stress. He then walks into the house with more energy and he’s happier, he’s feeling lighter.

After 38 years of meditation practice, my most obvious benefit from meditation is the increased mental and physical energy and happiness that I feel. Fatigue and stress wear us down; they dull our nervous system and brain. I’ll never forget watching a busy friend, a small business owner, fall asleep as he was talking! When the brain is compromised by stress and fatigue, it’s impossible to be at the top of our game, and it’s hard to find much to enjoy and appreciate in life.

Effortless Meditation™ practice is an antidote. During the practice, we experience levels of rest that are deeper than sleep. The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol decrease as we experience a deeply relaxed state of inner wakefulness. Similar to recharging the battery of your phone, this is a preparation for a higher degree of satisfaction and success in life.  

For maximum benefits, all it takes is fifteen to twenty minutes twice a day. For many, this is as essential as any daily personal hygiene practice.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

 

 

 

Do Less

Accomplish More

The day flies by and at the end, there’s something missing.  You’ve checked many things off your “to do” list and yet that seems like a hollow victory.  You’re not satisfied with the day and what you’ve accomplished.

While many may feel this way from time to time, in my early years, this nagging feeling was always present.  At the age of 26, I was an industrial engineer working for a Fortune 100 company in the Lehigh Valley.  My friends and family thought I had it made. I was young, drove a hot sports car, had a good income and was upwardly mobile in a major corporation.   And yet every workday I was counting the hours till I could leave work and begin my life.

The inner me was sick, maybe dying.  Then one evening, with nothing else to do, I accompanied a friend to a lecture about meditation.  The teacher presenting the talk told us that there’s something missing in most people’s lives.  He said what’s missing isn’t “out there” in the world, it’s inside!

Was I looking for contentment and satisfaction in the wrong places?  I was climbing the ladder of success at work, but was it against the wrong wall?  I was trying to be a good engineer, a good employee, a good son and a good friend.  There was lots of pressure and it was tiring.  My employer, for example, told me that I needed to spend a minimum of 10 hours a day at work if I wanted to get ahead. 

In desperation and with hope, I followed up on my gut instinct that night and enrolled in the meditation course. Almost immediately, I experienced a significant shift toward greater happiness and well-being. Two years later, I found myself enrolling in a year-long training program to become a meditation teacher.   

In training, our teacher frequently told us that we were learning to “do less and accomplish more.” Just sit, close your eyes and be still.  Inside you will find the peace and contentment that you have always desired.  It’s our essence, pure awareness, and it’s found at the source of thought.  Life is not meant to be a struggle. Make a practice of returning to the quiet mind every day. The positive influence on the quality of your life will be magical. 

Let me know if I can help.   

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

 

How Could This Pain Have Anything to do With Stress?

Sarah took the Effortless Meditation™ course because she was intrigued by what she heard in the introduction session; however, her primary motivation was to support her sister who enrolled in the course. She knew her sister was in distress and she felt that her sister would be more comfortable taking the course if she participated with her.

The first four classes proceeded smoothly, and when they returned in two weeks for their fifth session, Sarah remarked that she hadn’t had any stomach pain in two weeks.  Since she hadn’t mentioned stomach pain as a concern, I inquired about it.  She explained that during the preceding two years, “I’ve had every test in the book to determine why I have pain every time I eat. It’s gotten so bad, I hardly eat at all.”  None of the tests have found anything abnormal and just last week, her doctor explained that he thought stress could be the culprit.

How could this pain be due to stress, she asked.  Sarah said she thought her doctor was crazy, but now she’s seeing that he was correct.  Her pain is real, it’s not in her mind.  Stress causes tension and muscle contraction.  Hold a tight fist for a couple hours and tell me it doesn’t hurt!  Under chronic stress, muscle tension cause headaches or pain may show up in our jaw, arms, abdominal area, anywhere in the body.

The deep rest and relaxation of Effortless Meditation was relieving the tension in Sarah’s muscles.  Deep rest is an antidote for stress, it relieves the stress response.  The proof, Sarah was without pain that had been plaguing her for years, and she was able to eat again incomfort!

Deepak Chopra, M.D. would explain that this wasn’t magic, it’s based in science.  Sarah was meditating every day as prescribed.  Her smile said she couldn’t be happier.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay., Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

There is never enough food for a hungry soul!

Many of us realize that we are overweight and/or recognize that we are driven by food cravings that lead to unhealthy food choices. And most of us are aware of the impact of being over weight or obese – lethargy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and gastrointestinal problems are just a few of the major complications. So, why do we continue to overeat and make unhealthy choices about food?

Ultimately, it’s not about the food, it’s about the lack of fulfillment (the hungry soul) inside us. It drives us to eat to satisfy an emotional not physical need.

How do we bring greater fulfillment to our lives and make healthier food choices? A good place to start is with positive lifestyle habits such as exercise and meditation.
Effortless Meditation™ changes our brain and improves our thinking; brain waves
become more coherent and orderly during our meditation.  The state of restful alertness in our meditation brings peace and serenity to our lives. Adding this revitalizing experience, ideally as a daily practice, works wonders.

Try one month of feeding your soul daily by quieting your mind with meditation. I suspect you will quickly notice that you are developing a growing awareness and sensitivity about your need or lack of need for food. Making healthier and smart food
choices comes more easily, almost automatically with growing awareness.

With greater mental clarity and awareness, you will be better prepared to improve the quality of the food that you are consuming. Just as a high performance engine does best on high octane fuel, we thrive when our food is packed densely with nutrients. In
contrast, if we eat foods that are mostly “empty calories” (e.g. soda, white flour and highly processed nutrient sparse foods) we will continue eating and consuming excessive calories in order to get the nutrients that your body needs. Nutrient dense foods energize us and satisfy our hunger with fewer calories.

Be gentle with yourself, meditate, get some exercise, and eat well.

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

The Best Vacation Ever

A client said, “this Effortless Meditation™ is like a mini-vacation, and I get to take it everyday!”

As the complexity of life increases, the need for balance is greater than ever.  Technology was supposed to simplify our lives, and it has in many ways done that.  For example, who would want to give up the instant information access provided by the internet?   And yet the pace of progress and life today is relentless, overwhelming.

In the area of marketing alone, every week or month there seems to be a new method of delivering your message.  And we’re always encouraged to grab onto the new in order to keep up. At the same time, overwork is practically seen as a professional virtue.  Is it any wonder that anti-anxiety medication sales are at record levels.

Yesterday, I was reading an article from a popular columnist who was saying that while on vacation at a remote island off the coast of South Carolina, his children were at a loss because there was no internet access.  What are we to do, they complained?  This is a sign of our times.  Let’s explore, he suggested, “there are turtles and salamanders in these waters, osprey and eagles in the trees, and an ocean for playing.” The kids weren’t buying it, they were frustrated.

Our children are not the only ones so afflicted.  Adult minds have become so busy keeping up or being entertained that the slower pace of nature can seem boring.  We are over stimulated and the solution is simple.  Regularly give our brain a rest.  Reach beyond all mental activity, that’s a true vacation.  Interior silence, in its essence, is freedom from thought.  We need to transcend the activity of daily life, go beyond thinking, watching, tasting, the activity of the senses, in order to be free.

Try Effortless Meditation, yoga, or just spend some quiet time in nature.  Learn to quiet your mind, and for maximum benefits make this a daily habit/vacation.  Your life will be happier and lighter, and you will become much healthier.

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for over 30 years

STAYING ON TRACK WITH EFFORTLESS MEDITATION™

After 35 years of teaching, it is very clear that people experience tremendous value from their meditation practice, and yet who hasn’t thought, I don’t have time to meditate today? It’s easy to lose focus on the things that are important to us when we’re running around responding to the relentless pressure of daily life.

What are some of those things that fall through the cracks when we lose focus?  Meditation, exercise, spending quality time with loved ones (building relationships), hobbies and other soul nourishing interests all get pushed out of the way.

Those attending tune up classes find that they help connect them with the power of meditation.  Most would benefit from a quarterly 1.25 hour tune up class, some could use it more frequently than that.  If you’re having difficulty finding the time to meditate, you definitely would benefit from at least a couple monthly classes.  Tune ups will fine tune your practice and jump start it and your life to a new level.

Our computers, automobiles, and homes all need maintenance to maximize the return on our investment.  Our meditation is the same.  As I was exercising the other day at my gym, I was struck by the number of people participating in a yoga class in the mind body studio.  That is good news, people are taking time to refine their practice in group classes.

Small group Effortless Meditation tune up classes are inspiring for all those who attend.  I invite you to join us.  And if you prefer, private meditation coaching is available.