The Benefits of Meditation

Published August 6, 2015

Sure, you’ve heard of meditation. But what is it exactly? Meditation is simply about attention and focus—where you direct it, and how it affects your consciousness.

There are many types of meditation. But the one definition that fits almost all types is taken from the work of Jim Malloy, a trained meditation teacher and practitioner of almost 50 years. He describes meditation as, “consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness.”

There are no limits to the things that you can direct your attention towards: symbols, sounds, colors, breath, uplifting thoughts, spiritual realms, and more.

Traditionally meditation was—and still is—used for spiritual growth. More recently, meditation has become a valuable tool for finding relaxation and stress relief from our demanding fast-paced world. Most of us may not be breathing deep enough as we move through our days. Meditation gives us the opportunity to stop and take some full deep breaths.

There is currently a relaxation therapy group at Burke servicing both the inpatient and community populations. Our inpatient group was established 18 years ago for the purpose of teaching individuals skills to better manage stress and find relaxation through their rehabilitation challenges. Along with teaching, we provide our patients with resources to continue their practices beyond their time at Burke.

The curriculum of the relaxation therapy group includes: Meditation, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques such as

  • progressive relaxation
  • guided imagery
  • color visualization
  • mantra meditation
  • relaxation response
  • gratitude and smile meditation

The goal of meditation is maintaining a calm, non-stress free awareness while allowing thoughts, feelings, sounds and sensations to come and go without focusing on them.

The benefits:

  • Maintaining your calm inner awareness, balance and clarity in the midst of any situation
  • A gradual shift to a higher level of consciousness, centered in peace, joy and freedom from negativity
  • Increased insight and clarity—seeing things truly as they are
  • Increased feelings of relaxation
  • Thinking becomes more organized
  • Stress symptoms are reduced
  • The body’s immune system is strengthened
  • The nervous system becomes relaxed and revitalized
  • Circulation and digestion are improved
  • Pain can be decreased
  • Appreciation for living is enhanced

The Burke Fitness Center is now offering a community meditation group, which meets every Tuesday from 4:15-4:45 p.m. in the Sports Center.  Bonus: the first session is free! For more info, call (914) 597-2805.

—Deirdre Otto, CTRS, LMT, recreation therapist and massage therapist at Burke Rehabilitation Center

This post first appeared on Burke's blog, Rehab Insights. The blog is updated every Tuesday with must-know information about the latest in rehabilitation. 

Image courtesy of stockimages at

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