The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 28, 2013

Health benefits from meditation

By Marcia Flory
Special to the Herald

---- — Each month YWCA members and volunteers are featured highlighting the many facets of our community in which they’re a part. This month, Marcia Flory shares information about meditation classes offered at the YWCA.

I have witnessed a lot of miracles in the last seven years of teaching at our local YWCA. Many have occurred from teaching meditation to hundreds of community members. It is so rewarding to see a positive transformation in a student’s outlook on life. Establishing a daily meditative practice also has resulted in their improved physical health and emotional well-being.

Sandi Sills joined my meditation class last fall. Sills reports she is much more focused now and her daily practice has reduced her arthritic pain, lessened her ADHD episodes and helped to heal her grief.

“I lost my sister and aunt a year ago. I was so sad inside. I now can remember the good times,” she said. “I focus on being grateful to have had them in my life rather than being remorseful.”

Meditating with a group creates a sense of belonging and a willingness to embrace an important truth that pertains to everyone’s life purpose, remembering to be kind. When we remember to be kind, we release judgment and expectations of another. In meditation, we also learn the importance of extending that same kindness and tolerance to ourselves. Students find that meditation opens new doors for them on their spiritual journey. Gerald Eckrich says, “Practicing the meditation techniques I learned in this class brings me a peace I couldn’t get by just sitting quiet or listening to music.”

Being mindful builds patience, acceptance and an understanding of life’s challenges. I teach that challenges are simply learning opportunities being gifted to us to spiritually evolve. Nothing is ever done to us but for us. This provides each of us countless times to master the art of forgiveness and compassion. In class we also learn to forgive ourselves. Everyone is deserving of love. When a person is trapped in the confusion of anger or fear, they are searching for the clarity that only love can offer.

Being mindful teaches us to look at life situations and interactions in a whole new way. When we practice the various meditative techniques, either through learning to monitor our breathing, listening to guided visualizations, or engaging in various healthy activities, all help us to stay present and focused. In doing so healing occurs on all levels. Our minds, bodies, souls and emotions make up the various levels that register pleasure or pain. We are spiritual beings in physical form that create infinite possibilities that allow us to learn our life lessons. Meditation connects us to our inner wisdom. We are never truly alone. We are always being guided by a higher power to choose wisely. Rocio Ayard-Ochoa has experienced this.

She explains, “Meditating facilitates me to be the best version of myself and letting go of anything else that is not beneficial.”

The multiple reasons given to attend my classes are as varied as the participants’ ages and backgrounds. Men and women both report they welcome the community of like-minded individuals. Many students have taken my classes for the entire seven years I have taught. Jean Smith is one of those. She reports that meditation is life changing.

Smith explains, “I have learned how we are all connected and every single person you meet is an opportunity to offer peace and love. By combining the power of the class we can help others in crisis.”

No matter if a person is new to meditation or has advanced into the Level 4 meditation class, all become empowered. All develop some level of healing. Kathi Sherman is just completing her first eight weeks in Level 1 meditation. She shares, “Meditation is teaching me new techniques to help deal with everyday stress. Marcia’s soothing guidance has made for a most pleasant experience. Her teachings are having a positive impact in my life!”

I welcome everyone to embrace a daily meditative practice to create a healthier and happier lifestyle. The new session of meditation classes begin at the YWCA the week of April 9. For class details, visit www.ywcaclinton.org.

Marcia Flory, a registered nurse, is an Usui Reiki Master Teacher.