Meditation comes in all different shapes and sizes just like us! We’d love to help you figure out the different ways you can meditate your way to feeling good inside and out! Let's start with meditating our way to a good gut. Don’t worry! It’s SHORT AND SIMPLE! Start with 5-10 minutes and with what works for you!
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is defined as the practice of resting the mind with the goals of achieving deep mental rest and fully embodying the present moment (Hozel, 2011).. We learn mindfulness in the process which is the ability to be present and engaged in whatever you’re doing at the moment. Meditation is a skill that takes consistent practice and effort. Don’y worry! There’s no such thing as perfect meditation. Your focus may wander off, you may lose your train of thought or you’ll even forget to follow your breath. That’s OK! It’s all part of the experience of your meditation journey. Stay consistent because it’s one of those things where the journey is more important than the destination!
TYPES OF MEDITATION
There many different types of meditation, here are some to get you started:
Breathing Meditation Focusing on your breath, and silently count inhalations and exhalations: In (one), out (two), in (three), and so on. Counting your breaths gives you something to focus on so you don't drift away and lose your train of thought. To start an easy routine, you can begin with short breathing exercises every day–start with just 30 seconds, a minute, etc. don’t try to make this extravagant or overly complicated. Start simple.
Mindfulness meditation can definitely help us understand how our minds work. This self-knowledge serves as a foundation for overcoming sadness, impatience, irritability and many of the other habits that keep us from feeling good inside and out! Try being still and let the thoughts flow in and out. Pay attention to what they are, but don’t hold on to them. Let them pass. Think of them as clouds moving across your mental sky–notice, and let go. You can try practicing this for, again, just a short period of time. You’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes to notice your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and let them pass the more and more you practice!
A type of meditation that involves focusing on movements of the body, either by moving specific parts of the body and observing how that movement makes you or that body part feel. Whether this is taking a walk, doing some simple stretches, or something more intense–the next time you are participating in some movement try to focus your attention on the sensations in your body (and not in the way of telling yourself you're tired, or annoyed, or want the movement to be over), feel your body moving, stretching, feel your breaths and how they oxygenate your limbs.
MEDITATION AND GUT
Studies have shown that regular deep meditation may help regulate the gut microbiome and lower the risks of physical and mental illness (Sun Y, Ju P, Xue T, et al 2023). Other studies have shown an increase in Lactobacillus and Faecalibacterium – bacteria associated with better digestion and gut health – for those regularly practising mindfulness meditation. Another benefit of meditation is that it lowers stress and cortisol levels improving your ability to digest. When your body is in fight or flight mode, there’s not enough energy in your body for functions like digestion.
It is proven that stress can compromise the gut barrier, its functions and the microbiome, while meditation helps regulate the body’s response to stress, inflammation and helps to keep a healthy and balanced gut. Stress can deplete the good bacteria that are needed for your health and vitality, from your digestion and nutrient absorption to your metabolism and immune function (Househam AM, Peterson CT, Mills PJ, Chopra D., 2017). It’s all connected!
Meditation gives us a way to find ourselves and our centre. It can help relieve stress while also improving the functions of our brain and gut, definitely crucial for our health, our immunity, our moods, and how we feel inside and out. Taking the time every day to practice meditation is truly one of the best steps you can take towards feeling good inside and out!
Meditation may work to improve IBS and IBD in three ways (Dr. Ruscio, 2021).
- Meditation reduces stress and anxiety, which affects the digestive system.
- The relaxation response created by meditation can actually change gene expression in the genes that contribute to IBS and IBD.
- Meditation decreases inflammation that may contribute to these diseases.
HOW TO GET STARTED?
Why not some guided meditation while you figure out which type or style works best for you! Here are some apps and links to get you started:
- Shine App
- Insight TImer
No pressure! Why not give it a try? Let us know how it goes! Maybe try doing a 10-14 day challenge? Adding this practice to your routine can definitely help your gut feel good!
Want to know more? We chat about this type of stuff everyday in The DotCom. Enter the chat now to see how everyone else incorporates a little bit of wellness into their busy lives ☻
Hölzel, Britta K et al. “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” Psychiatry research vol. 191,1 (2011): 36-43. doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006
Sun Y, Ju P, Xue T, et alAlteration of faecal microbiota balance related to long-term deep meditationGeneral Psychiatry 2023;36:e100893. doi: 10.1136/gpsych-2022-100893 https://gpsych.bmj.com/content/36/1/e100893
Househam AM, Peterson CT, Mills PJ, Chopra D. The Effects of Stress and Meditation on the Immune System, Human Microbiota, and Epigenetics. Adv Mind Body Med. 2017 Fall;31(4):10-25. PMID: 29306937.
“How Meditation Improves The Health Of Your Brain And Your Gut” Hyperbiotics, https://www.hyperbiotics.com/blogs/recent-articles/how-meditation-improves-the-health-of-your-brain-and-your-gut
“Meditation for IBS: Harnessing the Gut-Mind Connection” Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC, August 27, 2021, https://drruscio.com/meditation-for-ibs/
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AS MEDICAL ADVICE. THIS POST IS NOT MEANT TO TREAT, CURE, PREVENT, OR DIAGNOSE CONDITIONS OR DISEASES; AND IS MEANT FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. AS ALWAYS, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING ANY NEW TREATMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS.