“The universe is process and the process is in me. when I fight this process or ignore it I am in trouble. When I move with it, something happens.”
Al Chung-liang Huang
Embrace Tiger, Return To Mountain
In today’s world, we live with a constant battle for attention.
From Instagram, Facebook, TV shows, to work and family, our lives are on constant ‘GO’ mode. We never seem to be able to switch off and sooner or later this is going to lead to burn out.
Interestingly enough it took a chat with some old ladies to realise that the answer to preventing this burnout lies within the martial arts.
Don’t worry I will explain all.
The Old Ladies of Tai Chi
I went for a meeting recently at a martial arts dojo. It was a full-time premises on an industrial estate in the UK. You had no idea what this place was until you went up the stairs into the building and I was blown away.
All of a sudden, I was transported to a state of tranquillity. Wooden floors, plants, waterfalls and even a bird in a cage. This was martial arts heaven.
Anyway, after the meeting finished I saw a lot of ladies in their 70’s coming into the dojo. They were fit and healthy and really happy.
I was fascinated as to why 70-year-olds were in a dojo and asked them why they were here. They told me that they were here for the Tai Chi and meditation class.
Hold on, it is tough enough to get kids into martial arts but here I saw pensioners all lining up for classes in Tai Chi and meditation. Then it struck me that these ladies were here to improve their health and to be honest they were all really spritely.
I once heard that the Chinese have a saying “Running water never grows stale”. I am not sure if that is true but I have no doubt whatsoever that Tai Chi is great for the body but it was the meditation that struck me as interesting.
Could Meditation Really Help People?
Now I was no stranger to martial arts meditation having done a lot of it in my late teens. However like everything I fell out of habit with it and haven’t actively done any in years.
So I went home that night and found some quiet time, sat and meditated. I was only there for 5 minutes and afterwards, I felt invigorated and the time felt as if it was 15 minutes and not 5 that I had been sitting for.
So what is the actual science behind meditation?
Well, it turns out that there is a hell of a lot to back up the use of meditation to benefit our lives. There are in fact five key areas where mediation has proven results. These are:
Research has shown that when you meditate the brain changes it’s structure and has been proven to reduce stress.
Meditation research has shown that it helps to produce what is called divergent thinking, a process whereby new ideas are generated.
Scientists have discovered that meditation changes the area of the brain that controls focus and tests have shown that those who meditate stayed focused for longer.
In 163 studies it was shown that meditation had a positive effect on anxiety
Research has even shown that meditation can help married couples to improve communication.
It is clear that meditation is great for life but somehow modern martial arts seems to have kept it out of focus. Instead, we have seen a market focused on fighting skills.
Perhaps if we step back a little we can see the benefit in focusing on the mind as well as the body.
Thanks for reading
The WoMA.TV Team