Meditation, Prayer or Both? I Say Both!
I just got home from a little getaway with some friends to celebrate a few birthdays (if you’ve done Core de Force, 10 Rounds or LIIFT4, you might recognize the birthday boy!), and to finally celebrate our 20 year anniversary. Mexico is open at the moment, hubby has been working hard and is beyond stressed – and who knows what the world will even look like tomorrow! So we went for it. Feel free to ask me about flying and traveling during the pandemic – if you know me, you know I err on the side of caution always! I felt safe and comfortable 98% of the time we were away from home. I’m not here to talk about that though.
I had the opportunity to get to know Beachbody Super Trainer, Elise Joan (creator of Barre Blend, co-creator of 3 Week Yoga Retreat) and now I call her friend! I wasn’t sure we’d have much in common (I’m a cardio/weights kind of girl) but as soon as I heard her talking about Big 10 basketball and spouting quotes and scenes from Star Wars I knew she’d be stuck with me. And that girl can lift some weight!
Elise recently released a meditation series within her Barre Blend library, called the I Am Series. I Am is the start of each themed meditation. (I Am Forgiving, I am Authentic, I am Peaceful). This is readily available to anyone who has Beachbody On Demand. There are several 4 minute options to choose from that are meant to be an easy way to promote a positive mindset and a sense of gratitude, before or after a workout, first thing in the morning, before you go to sleep or really anytime of day. Choose the one that suits you for that day or that moment and it can set you up for your best day and keep you motivated and in a positive mindset.
I will admit this is not something that has piqued my interest. As a Christian, I have always believed that any meditation or quiet time should always be directed toward Jesus. Like yoga, I steered clear from anything that could be misconstrued as any other spiritual worship. I’ve learned over time, however, that yoga is only spiritual if you want it to be and that everyone has control over who they follow, listen to, think and are influenced by.
(Side note: I LOVE Beachbody’s yoga options because they take all spiritual elements out of their practices. Yoga has been an amazing tool for Kent and myself for muscle recovery and rest. That’s what we use it for. And only that).
I took some time to get to know Elise and her intentions behind her meditation series. Her purpose aligns well with the thoughts of an author I respect, Jennie Allen. I’m currently reading her book Get Out of Your Head and it addresses the connection between our mental health and our relationship with Christ. I highly recommend this book! Jennie doesn’t talk directly about meditation, but she dives into the fact that “how we think shapes how we live” and the importance of how “taking control of our minds could be the key to finding peace in the other parts of our lives”. Some of Jennie’s own personal struggles led her to dive deep into the study of neuroscience and shared that “many of the truths in the Bible concerning our thought lives have been backed up by science.” She talks about how science proves we CAN change our thought lives and take our thoughts captive. The important thing to remember is that we have a choice!
Jennie guides you throughout her book on how to put off toxic thoughts (because our emotions and actions are a by-product of what we think) and take on Truth (Read Psalm 139!). Because what we believe about God shapes what we believe about ourselves. Read that again! And the more you dive into what God says in His Word, the more you know what He says.
I don’t know Elise’s personal beliefs and these are not Elise’s sentiments, but the connect comes from science. Elise has removed any spiritual element and gives you guided time to clear your mind, thoughts and time to be still and reset which is scientifically proven to help with stress, anxiety, mood and energy. I believe that prayer and meditation CAN be one and the same, but they are also very different. Meditation is not meant to replace prayer.
Between reading Jennie Allen’s book, meeting Elise in person and talking to her about her meditation series, and knowing the mental state that many of us are in right now, I think we can use all the help we can get. The next few months have the potential of being the hardest, and I want you to know that you have tools to help you stay above it all.
Meditating is not telling God you don’t have enough faith in Him to do these things for you. I believe just like with TV, magazines, the internet or music – meditation can be a helpful tool when used with the right mindset and intention. If you want it to be spiritual, it can be. But it can also be separate. Maybe it’s not for you! I get that. I’m usually in that camp too. But I can do 4 minutes knowing that my ultimate I Am statement is that I belong to the Great I Am! ❤️
I’m going to list some statistics and information that Beachbody has provided below.
How Can Meditation Help Me?
Growing research shows that meditation has a powerful impact on our well-being. It’s proven to help melt away stress, decrease anxiety, promote positive physical and emotional health, improve sleep and your relationships, and enhance your self-esteem.
It can also help renew your energy, reduce negativity, and forge a stronger mind/body connection so you feel focused, inspired, and empowered.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation helps clear away the information overload that can overwhelm your mind and contribute to stress.
Meditation can help you:
- Build skills to manage stress
- Gain a new perspective on stressful situations
- Increase self-awareness
- Focus on the present
- Reduce negative emotions
- Increase imagination and creativity
- Increase patience and tolerance
In a study done by the American Psychological Association, nurses working in high-pressure jobs experienced less stress and increased quality of life and self-compassion after meditating regularly for 8 weeks.
Recent findings suggest that meditation may help you sleep better.
In one study, participants who were randomly assigned to a group that meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer than participants assigned to a group that didn’t meditate.
What If I’ve Never Meditated Before?
The beauty of meditation is that it requires no special skill or equipment. All you have to do is sit back, follow the cues, and experience the benefits.
If you can breathe, you can meditate. It’s the easiest “workout” you’ll ever do!
You’ll find that many of the meditations are perfect if you’ve never tried meditating or think that meditation is not for you.
In case you’re still skeptical, here’s what meditation is NOT: It’s not religious, “new age,” or mysterious. It’s simply a technique to help you slow down, clear your mind, and tune out the noise of the world.
Doesn’t Meditation Require Sitting Still for Long Periods of Time?
No! Even just a few minutes a day can have incredible benefits for your mental and emotional health.
Many of our meditations are under 10 minutes, making them perfect to do first thing in the morning, after your workout, or just before bed.
What’s Included in the Relaxation & Meditation Channel?
You’ll find an incredible variety of content when you click the Relaxation & Meditation tile:
- 4 meditations from the Beachbody Yoga Studio
- 13 Themed Meditations from the Unplug app
- 60 meditations from Elise Joan based on her “I AM” cards from Barre Blend.
- A 21-day guided program called Unstress: 21 Days of Meditation for Relaxation, Calm, and Less Anxiety, produced in partnership with the premier meditation app, Unplug, available now.