Meditation Special Report

DECATUR - Practiced for thousands of years, meditation produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.

Chuck Beck, instructor at Be Yoga Decatur, says "In meditation you're not asking or looking for anything..the more you are looking to get rid of things that have accumulated."

There are different types of meditation:

- Guided meditation uses mental images you find relaxing.  
- Mantra meditation is silently repeating a calming word or phrase.  
- Mindfulness meditation focuses on the moment, and incorporates increased awareness and breathing.  
- Transcendental meditation involves a mantra to achieve a profound state of inner peace.  

Beck says, "I find for myself it's easier to just pay attention to the sound of myself breathing, to pay attention to the sensation of my body breathing."

Be Yoga in Decatur offers free meditation on Wednesday nights, during which Beck guides participants to relax with the use of his voice and simple sounds.  

One participant, Dawn Barding, says, "I almost think I need that guidance.  Chuck's got a magic voice, he gets you in the zone.  I feel like that helps me, and it doesn't take very long once you're in that zone, (and) it comes more naturally and each time it gets easier."

Beck says, "The yoga helps stabilize the body and loosen up the body, but the meditation is really quieting the mind, letting the noise settle, and letting the obsession about planning and memory and getting lost in different fantasies letting that fade away so you really can just be present."

Multiple studies have shown the benefits of meditation, from pain reduction to reducing negative emotions, even managing high blood pressure and depression.

Meditation takes practice, and at least for me, it proved worthwhile.  We've included several links to resources you can use to learn about free meditation classes below:

- Ananda Liina
- Himalayan Yoga and Meditation Center
- Illinois Vipassana Meditation Center
- Be Yoga Decatur
- Sangamon Zen Group

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