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💜 Cultivating a Sitting Practice: A Holistic Approach to Wellness



In our fast-paced, digitally connected world, finding moments of stillness and silence can seem nearly impossible. Yet, cultivating a sitting practice—whether through meditation, mindfulness, or simple breath awareness—offers profound benefits for our overall wellness. Dedicating time to sit quietly not only enhances our mental and emotional health but also supports our physical well-being. This post explores the holistic benefits of a sitting practice and provides scientific evidence to support these claims.


The Benefits of a Sitting Practice


  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety


One of the most significant benefits of a sitting practice is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Regular meditation has been shown to lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicinefound that mindfulness meditation can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain .


  1. Enhances Emotional Health


Engaging in a sitting practice can lead to improved emotional health. Meditation has been linked to increased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that meditation programs can help improve psychological symptoms of depression to a degree comparable to antidepressant medications .


  1. Improves Focus and Attention


In our multitasking culture, maintaining focus can be challenging. However, a sitting practice can enhance our attention span and concentration. A study in Psychological Science found that just two weeks of mindfulness training improved attention and self-regulation among participants . This increased focus can lead to better productivity and a greater sense of accomplishment in daily tasks.


  1. Promotes Physical Health


The benefits of a sitting practice extend to our physical health as well. Regular meditation can lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and even boost the immune system. A study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that people who practiced transcendental meditation had nearly a 50% reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death .


  1. Fosters Self-Awareness


A sitting practice encourages self-awareness and self-reflection. By taking time to sit quietly, we become more attuned to our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. This heightened awareness can help us make more mindful choices in our daily lives, leading to better relationships and a deeper understanding of ourselves.




Scientific Evidence Supporting a Sitting Practice


Numerous studies underscore the benefits of a sitting practice. For example, researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that meditation can change the brain's structure, increasing the thickness of the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with decision-making, attention, and self-control . Similarly, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience showed that meditation can lead to an increase in grey matter density in the brain regions linked to learning, memory, and emotional regulation .


The Merits of Dedicating Time to Ourselves


In our busy lives, taking time for ourselves often feels like an indulgence. However, dedicating time to a sitting practice is an investment in our overall well-being.


Here are some reasons why it’s worth making this commitment:


  • Recharging and Renewal: Just as our bodies need sleep to recover and rejuvenate, our minds need periods of stillness. A sitting practice provides a necessary respite from the constant barrage of stimuli, allowing us to recharge mentally and emotionally.


  • Mindful Living: By cultivating a sitting practice, we learn to live more mindfully. This mindfulness permeates our daily activities, helping us to be more present and engaged with the world around us.


  • Resilience Building: Regularly sitting in quiet contemplation builds resilience. It teaches us to sit with discomfort, manage difficult emotions, and develop a deeper sense of inner peace. This resilience translates to better coping strategies in the face of life's challenges.


  • Enhancing Creativity: When we allow our minds to rest and wander, we often tap into a deeper well of creativity. Many people find that their most creative ideas come to them during moments of stillness and reflection.




Starting Your Sitting Practice


Beginning a sitting practice doesn’t require any special equipment or significant time commitment.


Here are some simple steps to get started:


Find a Quiet Space: Choose a comfortable, quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.


Set a Timer: Start with just 5-10 minutes and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable.


Focus on Your Breath: Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the air entering and leaving your nostrils.


Observe Your Thoughts: When your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath. Don’t judge your thoughts; simply observe them and let them pass.


Be Consistent: Try to practice at the same time each day to build a habit.


Cultivating a sitting practice is a powerful tool for enhancing holistic wellness. By dedicating time to ourselves in this way, we nurture our mental, emotional, and physical health. The scientific evidence supporting these benefits is compelling, making a sitting practice a valuable addition to any wellness routine. So, find a quiet corner, take a deep breath, and start your journey toward greater peace and well-being.


This month each Monday night we will work on cultivating our sitting practice together. All welcome on this self care wellness journey with us, making meditation time “me time”!


Sign up to a month of classes each Mon & Tues from the comfort of your own home from 9pm for just €40 for a month, or €15 pay as you go.


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