In our stress-filled modern world, the ancient practice can offer mental, physical benefits

By Pam George | Photograph by Carolyn Watson
From the June 2019 issue

june-SunriseYoga

When Alexis Brown wakes up in the morning, she doesn’t fumble for the alarm clock or stumble toward the shower. “The first thing I do when I open my eyes is to meditate for 45 minutes to an hour,” she says. “That’s how I start my day.”

Brown, who meditates for up to two hours a day, shares the benefits of this practice with others through a class called “Meditation for the Fast Track.” “It’s for people with busy lives and busy minds,” she explains. “It’s specifically designed to reduce stress.”

 

And there’s no shortage of stress or anxiety in modern society. According to a Gallup World Poll, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried in 2018 than they were at most points in the past decade. Studies, however, have found that a “relaxation response” — which includes meditation and prayer — can relieve stress and anxiety while positively influencing blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen consumption.

It can also help with depression, many proponents say. At the Shanti Shala studio in the Lewes area, Stacey Chandler combines yoga, meditation and ayurveda, an ancient healing system, to help people struggling with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chandler and Brown are just two of several instructors who are championing meditation along the Delaware coast, which, despite its calming scenery, is not immune to 21st-century stress factors.

 

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