{ MIND & BODY }

Meditation and the Art of Ohm

Centuries-old fitness craze is seeing a reawakening at the La Jolla Sports Club

bram_meditation

Some of the earliest records of the practice of meditation come
from the Hindu tradition as far back as 1500 BC. This long-celebrated practice is alive and well in the 21st century and needed more than ever in our fast-paced, hectic world.

Twice a week, Bram Wiley, a long-time personal trainer at the La Jolla Sports Club, leads classes on a meditative journey that offer a multitude of benefits. Wiley actually began meditating at the age of six (along with his mother who was battling cancer). He continued to practice this discipline intermittently until he noticed the real benefits and realized its importance.

Q: Most people know what the benefits of meditation are, but they just don’t take the time to do it. What would you say are the key advantages to meditating?

A: The key advantages are actual changes in attitude and brain function. There is plenty of scientific evidence that shows that the brain makes adaptations from meditating. The parts of your brain that are associated with positive emotional states, like empathy, grow larger, and the parts linked to emotions, like envy, will shrink. Taken as a whole, it’s hard to argue that anything is better for your attitude than meditation.

Q: Would you recommend meditating every day, or is it something you can do a few times a week?

A: I recommend meditating at least once a week to start with. You can set a timer for one minute and concentrate on breathing slowly and deeply. As you get more comfortable, go for two minutes, three minutes or longer. The more often and the longer you meditate, the greater the benefits.

Q: Can a person begin the practice of meditation alone, or is it best to start with a professional or use guided meditation?

A: You can go solo or be in a group. The hardest part is actually showing up to meditate. Having a group ensures that you will be accountable. So it’s a great way to start. And there are many free or affordable resources out there to use while meditating, so just find something that resonates with you.

Q: What would you say are the biggest mistakes that beginners make?

A: There are three big mistakes that come to mind. The first mistake is being too hard on yourself. It doesn’t matter if your mind is clear or if you go for one minute or 20 minutes. Showing up and trying is the big thing. The second mistake is not giving it enough time to change you. If you went running for the first time, you wouldn’t expect to be immediately in great shape. But after a month of running two to three times a week, you’d start to see some benefits. It’s the same thing with meditating.

The third mistake is not meditating at all. Having it become part of your schedule helps. For instance, doing it every workday on your lunch break, or twice a week with a group, helps ensure that you’ll keep it up. Show up, sit down and don’t expect anything from your session. It will work for anyone, but you just have to do it to get the benefits.

Q: There are a lot of meditation apps available these days. Is it okay to use electronics to assist in meditation?

A: Meditation apps are great! Anything that gets people meditating is wonderful. Some of the more popular apps are “Headspace,” “Calm,” and “Relax Melodies.” We have set up a Facebook page, “La Jolla Sports Club Meditation,” that offers quotes, articles, videos and more. So that’s a good place to start as well.

Wiley’s popular classes began in 2014 as a way to share the benefits of meditation with other people. Now they meet Mondays, 4 pm to 5 pm, and Thursdays, 9 am to 10 am. It’s free for members of the La Jolla Sports Club, and anyone can stop by, pick up a day pass and try it out.