Imagine if there was something you could do every day that could help slow down the aging process, give you a good's night sleep, in addition to helping you have the best sex you've ever had?
No, it's not a fancy new tonic, elixir, or a vitamin. It's something that only requires a little bit of time, a pillow, and your mind.
That's right: it's your meditation practice. And if you don't have one already, Emily Fletcher, founder of Ziva Meditation and author of Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance, certainly makes a good case for starting one.
According to Fletcher, once you implement a meditation practice that works for you, your body can perform at the top of its game, from catching ZZZs to having orgasms. Here's how.
How Meditation Makes You Look Younger
"Stress takes a real toll on our body which can in turn make us look older than we are," says Fletcher. "There's nothing wrong with trying to look younger, but all too often we're chasing youth when we should be chasing health."
So how does meditation help combat stress. It all has to do with cortisol, which is often called the "stress hormone" because of its connection to the stress response. According to Fletcher, cortisol has many negative effects on our bodies such as weight gain and a decrease in skin elasticity.
"Cortisol seeps into your skin when you're in fight or flight, so if you're attacked by a predator, you won't be so tasty," says Fletcher. "When you begin a meditation practice and reduce your cortisol and flood your body with bliss chemicals, it restores that youthful glow. See, there is a reason why your yoga teacher looks so young!"
But appearances aside, Fletcher says meditation keeps us younger beneath the skin as well. She cites a 2000 study in which Massachusetts General Hospital partnered with Harvard Medical School to investigate brain mass, specifically the specialized cortical areas of the brain that control things like cognition. These areas are known to thin over time, beginning around the age of 30.
"They found that the average thickness of meditators between the ages of 40 and 50 was comparable to the thickness of the average brain of people between the ages of twenty and thirty," says Fletcher. "A regular meditation practice showed evidence of keeping the brain up to 20 years younger vs. brains of non-meditators."
So meditation not only helps you look younger, but you'll also feel younger from the inside, out.
How Meditation Makes You Sleep Deeper
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40.6 million Americans have trouble sleeping at night, and Fletcher says she was one of them. That is, until she started meditating.
"I didn't sleep through the night for 18 months straight until my very first day meditating," she says. "The reason so many people have trouble sleeping is because we largely are using our sleep as a time for stress relief which means our sleep isn't as restful as it could be."
By meditating throughout the day, you're allowing your body to use this time for stress relief so your sleep time can be used for just that.
In addition, meditation also sends you into the fourth state of consciousness, says Fletcher. "In recent years, scientists have found that there are states of consciousness outside of waking, sleeping and dreaming and meditation is a means of accessing that fourth state which provides your body deep rest during the day without the nap hangover after."
How Meditation Improves Your Sex Life
According to Fletcher, meditation improves your sex life in several key ways.
"The National Sleep Foundation found that one in four cohabitating American couples don't have sex as much as they want because of exhaustion," she says. "It's pretty hard to feel turned on when you're exhausted. Meditating with a method like Ziva gives your body rest that is five times deeper than sleep which means more energy for play time."
Meditation also strengthens the mind-body connection and relieves stress by de-exciting the nervous system and working through the backlog of stress living in your cells, says Fletcher.
"When you're grounded in your body, you're experiencing the world through all five senses (which is pretty helpful when you're having sex.) The Ziva Technique floods your body with bliss chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which helps increase your sexual appetite and the intensity of your orgasm. "
Then there's something called mirror neuron functioning, which meditation also improves, and it's something that you will want to work optimally when having sex.
"Mirror neuron functioning means you're more likely to be highly attuned to what your partner is feeling," says Fletcher. "Mirror neurons are like tiny boomerangs that are emitted from your brain which go off and dance with your partners mirror neurons, and then they report back."
This is what allows you to intuit what your partner is feeling and is the same reason why when someone smiles at you, you smile back or why you cringe when you see someone getting hurt. So if your mirror neuron functioning is operating at full tilt, you'll be totally in sync with your lover.
Sure, great skin, restful sleep, and amazing sex are reasons enough to start meditating, but, as Fletcher points out, at the end of the day, "it doesn't really matter the why. You will experience benefits regardless."
But in order to reap those awesome benefits, says Fletcher, you need to actually meditate every single day.
"Sometimes people meditate once every week and then can't understand why they don't see the benefits," she says. "Plus, they're not doing a meditation practice that's designed to give the body the deep rest that is needed to see these benefits. It would be like going to the gym, running on the treadmill for 15 minutes once a week, and then marveling at how you're not ready for a big race."
Bottom line: stick with meditation, and your body won't be sorry.
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