Category Archives: Exercise/Meditation Info

The Dalai Lama Says:

Dalai Lama: “Spiritual practice involves, on the one hand, acting out of concern for others’ well-being. On the other, it entails transforming ourselves so that we become more readily disposed to do so.”

Just thought this was so eloquent and true. I love the Dalai Lama’s ideology, quiet intelligence, and life force. I’m not a follower of organized Western religion (early Catholicism beat it out of me), but I definitely consider myself spiritual. I think this hits the nail right on the head and I appreciate the Eastern religions’ values placed upon the population as a whole— worship is not just viewed as a vehicle for individuals’ wants, needs, desires, and ultimate redemptions. Selfless and what I imagine true spirituality to be.

Multiple Sclerosis and Meditation

The Buddha,

Having a stressful disease like multiple sclerosis can cause racing thoughts, anxiety, and loss of inner focus. I often find myself worrying too much about the future, which is not yet carved in stone. And I also find myself not enjoying the present moment, which can bring serenity and an awareness of beauty and the preciousness of life. The following meditation techniques are short and simple, and they can restore needed peace of mind and focus on the present moment.

Mindfulness Meditation

A form of meditation that brings the participant into the present, calming moment is mindfulness meditation. Participants can access this present-mind status by concentrating on their current breathing.

The process of mindfulness meditation is simple. As a person becomes mindful of his or her surroundings (sights, sounds, smells), he or she settles into a comfortable spot and becomes aware of the breathing process. The mind relaxes and focuses on this breathing as the outside world disappears. Slower, relaxed breathing is helpful for heart rate, digestion, blood pressure, and anxiety. Distracting thoughts are squelched with the promise of addressing them later.

This practice and all of the other meditation practices can range from 5-15 minutes, and are most helpful if done two times a day.

Journey Meditation

This form of meditation involves visualization. The participant imagines a peaceful, relaxing scene in his or her mind, including sounds and smells. Relaxation sets in as the meditator concentrates on this peaceful image, such as a beach, a forest, a farm, and so on.

Practicing journey meditation involves sitting in a comfortable spot and resting hands on the knees or thighs. Several slow breaths clear the mind as the meditator imagines a serene image. The focus on this scene banishes worries as relaxation and tranquility set in.

Movement Meditation

This form of meditation, which involves movement, can include yoga and tai chi stances. It helps to draw in good energy and cast out bad, stale energy.

To practice movement meditation, cleanse the body with a few initial deep breaths. Then take a comfortable stance or sitting position and concentrate on flowing, fluid movements of your choice, such as opening the arms or stretching out the legs. This meditation focuses on the movements that the body makes, and it is great for stiff, painful joints or sore muscles.

Vibrational or Sounding Meditation

This type of meditation has been seen in movies and on television. It employs the use of a repetitive sound or word; essentially it is a form of chanting. The word “vibrational” comes from the movements or vibrations of the vocal cords.

To practice vibrational/sounding meditation, pick a comfy spot and sit or stand. Cleanse the mind with several deep breaths. Then select a word that appeals to you. A good choice would be one that is multi-syllabled and calming, such as “peacefulness.” Short sounds like “ah” or “ohm” also work. Chant the word and focus on it, letting the outside world fade into the distance.

Exercise Classes for People with Multiple Sclerosis

I’m pretty excited about a local work-out place that has yoga classes for people with MS. I found out about it from my monthly Nat’l MS Society magazine (local chapter.) If you belong to the society, your local chapter might have such listings in their monthly magazine. Also listed are aquatics sessions (assisted and open swims) at local YMCAs, and some exercise programs for those with less mobility. I’m not 100% sold on going to this yoga group, though, because there is a closer program 5 minutes down the road, and they have a seniors’ group…Now don’t laugh, because I joined a free senior tai chi class at the library in the winter, and it was a lot of fun. There was little pressure to be “talented”, and a lot of encouragement from everyone.

My target date is July, since I am coming out of my recent relapse (thanks again to my love/hate relationship with steroids), and I need to get “back out there.”

Join the Multiple Sclerosis “Movement”

Tai Chi, Google ImagesToday I had a great time at a family member’s dance recital. I have to admit that I love going each year because I enjoy the pretty costumes, the toddler ballerinas, and the talented older dancers. I also love the fluid dance movements and the stories that are expressed through the dancers.

Staying on this subject, I think it’s vital for people with multiple sclerosis to participate in some kind of physical activity, whether it be walking (aided or unaided) down the street to take in the scenery, doing some kind of organized or individual exercise program, or working with a physical and/or occupational therapist to maintain mobility and flexibility. Water exercise is another great way for folks with MS to work on physical abilities, because what seems daunting on land (walking, moving limbs, and so on), becomes easier in the water because of buoyancy. Neurologists and physical therapists highly recommend water exercise for those with impaired mobility.

A great source for modified exercise programs—- yoga, aquatics, tai chi, and so on—- is your local YMCA. Another option is to contact your local hospital, because they often sponsor programs for people with MS and other conditions. Plus they have a network of social workers with access to community services.

I am working on my MS mobility by taking walks with my husband, buddies, and parents; bicycling around our neighborhood; and on not-so-good days, just being glad to get some of the housework done. It’s all movement.

P.S. I caught a baby striped bass this weekend in the river, so that brings the season’s fish count up to seven (I’m still a beginner, so I like to keep track!)