As Alberta residents slip and slide through another winter, commuting on icy roads, dealing with daily pressures of employment, rising costs and an uncertain economy, the importance of holistic health takes on an even higher priority.
Alicia Jerome, who is now offering guided meditation at the Peter Lougheed Community Centre, wants to help others learn and appreciate the benefits of this form of stress relief.
“Everybody is stressed. Everybody has so much on their plate. Guided meditation helps people to stop and be still and focus on their breath.”
The primary objective of guided meditation is to learn how to relax. People who participate in the practice are encouraged to find a focus point in the body and begin to relax that part. While staying focused, all the muscles are encouraged to relax and, finally, the mind is able to let go of stressful thoughts and relax as well.
“You just need to focus on your breath and be still.”
Jerome said as a general rule people are so busy and when they join a guided meditation class and allow themselves to simply relax they may find themselves falling asleep.
“I encourage that, if you feel the need to fall asleep, you probably need to. We need to bring back the nap. Remember when you were a kid and the freedom of just taking the time to lay down in the grass and stare up at the sky. Nobody has to teach meditation to kids, they already know how to do it. But for adults, meditation gives you the opportunity to experience that freedom again.”
Jerome said she first began meditating when she was 18-years-old and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Meditation helped her find a balance, relieve stress and, it seemed that when she was able to let go of her worries through guided meditation, her symptoms disappeared.
Jerome, who is a councillor and yoga instructor, began offering classes at the community centre through Rimbey recreation department earlier this month. Classes are held upstairs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
“It is much easier to practice guided meditation with a group of people,” she said.