Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I went to my first ever meditation session today, and it was fabulous!

It was at work, at lunchtime, was set up by my company's health and safety committee and was totally free, and I decided to go for three reasons:

1. I've been totally stressed out lately by various things non-RA related
2. I feel as though my body is completely out of balance (and not just because of RA)
3. I thought it would be a great way to learn how to deal with the aches and pains of RA

I had no clue what to expect.

We'd been told to eat a light meal before and bring a shawl or sweater in case we got cold during the session, so I brought a large scarf I keep at my desk. I had planned to wear a skirt today, then pondered changing that to jeans this morning, thinking we might be sitting on the floor or something, then vetoed that idea since my knees wouldn't be up to any cross-legged poses. As it turns out, everyone (five of us, all women) sat around a table, which suited me and my achy joints just fine!

Our session leader started us off by telling us what would happen and why there was a box of Kleenex – apparently a lot of people cry when they meditate (I wasn't at all surprised to hear that and said I just might do that myself!).

Next, she had us do a standing stretch, and we shook off our worries, then we sat back down and she began what was basically a breathing/relaxation exercise leading into a visualization exercise that lasted about 20 minutes.

I have to admit, it was hard not to cry when she talked about us having "healthy bodies," and that took me out of the exercise at times, as did my aching hands at the beginning, but overall, the experience was incredibly relaxing. For the most part, it was relatively easy to let my mind wander along with her voice and imagine myself where she was directing us to go mentally and to forget my body, which was the whole point!

There are more sessions offered, so I'll definitely be attending, and then perhaps look into meditation more seriously outside the work environment.

Anything to escape my physical aches and pains, and if I can relax more, even better!


  1. Meditation can be incredibly therapeutic for RA -- and for all of life's other challenges, too. How wonderful that your company is providing this restful time for its employees. Mine did that, sort of, for a while. A masseuse spent a couple of hours there once a week, and for $10 you could get a 20-minute neck and shoulder massage. I only had time for it once, but it was really nice.

    In one of his books, Deepak Chopra teaches a very simple meditation that can be used to diffuse stress just about anywhere, and anytime. (Well, not while driving ...) It goes like this: Close your eyes. Breathe normally -- not especially deep, but normally. On each inhalation, think the word "so." On each exhalation, think "hah." Do this for a minute, or two, or ten, whatever you have time for. You'll find that your breathing becomes deeper and more relaxed all by itself, and while you're thinking "so" and "hah" you can't really think of anything else. So for that short time, you can gently let your stress go and feel your body -- shoulders and all -- relax.

    I've been doing this for several years now when I feel my shoulders moving up around my ears, or when I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. It's so simple it can be done at your desk, or in the ladies' room, or anywhere, really. Even closing your eyes isn't mandatory, but of course it helps to block other distractions.

    You're doing exactly the right thing for yourself, Laurie. Attagrrrl!

  2. Are you sure not while driving, Wren??? Lol!! Ha! I'll definitely try your technique.

    I can be such a bizarre mix of German
    organized-obsessive/Italian relaxed-passionate, it's crazy and drives me crazy at times, so I'm game for anything that leads me more to the relaxed end of things (and more naps aren't the solution in the real world :) ha!).


  3. Oh my gosh, I love guided meditation! I am really terrible at doing it myself, but Wren, I think your tip might help! I'm definitely going to try it :) Thanks to you both!

  4. Hey Pony – good luck! Let us know how it goes, and if you try some more guided meditation. I'm totally sold on it so far... :) L

  5. That sounds wonderful! It's great that your company gives you these opportunities. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it as you keep going back.

  6. When I first got diagnosed with RA, I took an 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Seminar - offered for free to graduate students at my school. The group went through a bunch of different meditation techniques and I thought it was great. Though I have to admit that after I stopped attending the meeting once a week my whole meditation practice went right out the window! Maybe I should try bringing that practice back to life. I know how important it is to take time for myself - and I'm always encouraging others to do it - but it's easier said than done sometimes!!

  7. Hey Helen & Mariah,

    It is great that the company does it and I'm curious to see how it will progress for me. I tried it while at the dentist last night and again during the night when I couldn't sleep for worry about work, but, of course, it didn't work...More practice is needed! (And more vacation...!).

    :) L

  8. What a wonderful thing for them to offer- I really think meditation helps!!!