LIMELITE health 24 lime January - March 2009 YOUR B EGINNERS' GUIDE TO M EDITATION Lucia Cockroft shows how to meditate for the benefit of mind and body T hink of the word ' meditation' and images of monks in an incense-swathed temple in India or Thailand may spring to mind. But meditation can be for everyone. It's true that meditation has been practised for centuries in the East, and often in religions such as Buddhism. But the rest of the world is fast catching on to the benefi ts of meditation and its ability to calm the mind, improve wellbeing and help us to live more fully in the present moment - to be ' mindful'. And even though in the Caribbean we live in one of the most relaxing and beautiful parts of the world, we could all do with some stress- relief! Put simply, meditation is a state of concentrated attention on an object of thought or awareness. Often this focus is turned inward so that the meditator grows used to watching thoughts as they pass, instead of becoming involved with the sometimes obsessional thought- processes that rule us. One breath at a time One of the most diffi cult things to take on board is that meditation must be practised without a specifi c goal. It needs a relaxed, open approach that is without judgement or expectation. As most of us live in a fast- paced world ruled by deadlines and concepts, this can be rather challenging! Yet, it can also be liberating: learning to let go of outcomes and develop patience can be applied to just about all areas of everyday life. Y The fi rst step is simply to sit quietly and keep the body still. Doing this for even two minutes can be surprisingly diffi cult. The trick, however, is not to give up or become frustrated. The traditional way to Try and watch your thoughts without judging them or entering into them. Notice how one thought leads to another and how quickly a chain of associations is set up. Y Then become aware of your breath, without seeking to change it. A common meditation tool is to count your breathing - for example count one just before the in- breath and two just before the exhale. Your mind is likely to become distracted by the slightest whim. The trick is to notice this but not to become impatient, just bringing your attention kindly back to your breathing. If all this seems like hard work, consider this: the physical and psychological benefi ts of regular meditation have been scientifi cally proven and include helping with stress, depression and anxiety, decreasing high blood pressure, improving lung capacity and asthma and lowering the heart rate. So why not make yourself comfortable, take a deep breath and let yourself go...? Expert's view CAROLINE SYLGE Caroline Sylge, author of Body & Soul Escapes ( Footprint) and a regular meditator, has spent time at a Thai monastery and at retreat centres in the UK. She says: " Meditating is one of the best things you can do to feel calm and approach your day with equanimity. But it is very hard. I think you just have to be really kind to yourself - even if you manage ten conscious breaths a day, that's better than none at all." Even Sylge, an experienced meditator, admits to fi nding meditation diffi cult: " I fi nd sitting still at set times very challenging, so I try to stop and be aware of my breath at different times of the day instead - when I'm feeling stressed at my computer, when I'm waiting for something, when I'm caught by a beautiful view, when I'm lying in my bed and can't sleep at night." FURTHER READING Y The Meditation Bible: A Defi nitive Guide to Meditations for Every Purpose by Madonna Gauding ( Godsfi eld Press Ltd) Y Meditation for Dummies by Dean Ornish and Stephan Bodian ( Hungry Minds Inc) Y Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana ( Wisdom Publications) meditate is in the lotus position. But it can also be done walking, standing, swimming or sitting on a plane. For beginners, the best approach is to fi nd a quiet place, out of earshot of mobile phones and interruptions. Wear loose- fi tting clothes and sit in a comfortable position with the spine upright but relaxed. Set aside a short period of time: ten minutes is fi ne. Y Close your eyes and concentrate on relaxing, bringing your awareness to each part of your body in turn. Become gently aware of your body and how it feels, but try not to fi dget or move around. It's all part of retraining yourself not to act on every impulse. Y Once you have completed your body scan, just sit for a while.
L ocated on the outskirts of Roseau, the capital of the spectacular and rugged island of Dominica, the Fort Young Hotel was built around the walls of the old 18th century fort, with many of the original features of the fort being retained in the public areas of the property. In addition to its charming character, the uniqueness of the Fort Young Hotel is it's wide range of facilities, making it a perfect home- away- from- home for business travellers as well as those looking for relaxation, fi ne- dining, luxury and comfort… with great opportunities to discover the beauty of Dominica under and above the water. Each of the 71 luxuriously- appointed rooms have everything the seasoned traveller expects, including a writing desk, cable television, direct dial telephones and wireless/ DSL Internet so you can always keep in touch with home or the offi ce; and most enjoy a view over the calm blue Caribbean Sea. With Roseau and the majority of the island's businesses just a few minutes away, business travellers will appreciate the convenience of staying at the Fort Young Hotel. In addition to the in- room services, the hotel also offers business guests the use of a business centre, secretarial services and conference and meeting rooms. Five such rooms offer multiple settings and capacities from small intimate sessions to large functions and conferences. The Waterfront restaurant is the perfect venue for a culinary discovery. Start your morning with a wide selection from the breakfast buffet, with made- to- order omelettes or eggs done to style and taste. Buffet lunches are prepared during the week with a different theme each day. For dinner the restaurant offers local and international cuisine with an extensive wine list to complete the gastronomic journey. The Balas lounge bar is noted for its exotic island cocktails and potent Rum Punch. In between meals relax, enjoy and revive your body and mind. An excursions desk can arrange tours around the island. Dominica is a place where man and nature live in harmony; adventurers and nature lovers alike will revel in the island's eco- tourism options, which include scuba diving, snorkelling, mountain- biking, kayaking, horseback-riding, nature tours, hiking/ trekking, sailing, fi shing and watching whales, dolphins and birds. Want to relax? Enjoy the serenity of the swimming pool while viewing the sea, hills and architectural details of the hotel. Rejuvenite your body and mind in the massage and beauty centre, or relax on the jacuzzi deck in one of the three whirlpools. Duty free shopping complements the distinctiveness of the Fort Young Hotel, a place unlike anything else on the island. Whether you are coming to Dominica for business, looking for adventure or leisure, staying at the Fort Young Hotel is the logical choice. January - March 2009 lime 25 SPONSORED PROMOTION Y For bookings and inquiries please contact your favourite travel partner, or call ( 767) 448 5000 ext. 7131, e- mail sales@ fortyounghotel. com or visit the website www. fortyounghotel. com. THE FORT YOUNG HOTEL EXPERIENCE For business and leisure travellers alike