Guest Post Pt. 2: Safe and Sound Yoga-Meditation 101

On Tuesday, Maureen Mason, MS PT, WCS, CCI, PYT-C, discussed insights on practicing Medical Therapeutic Yoga in her own work. She also shared the following work with us: Meditation 101. This meditation guide and the information following are provided by Comprehensive Therapy Services, in San Diego, CA.

Meditation 101

From Comprehensive Therapy Services

Here is a meditation 101 primer for you, to help you unfreeze, focus, re boot, re-frame and calm your mind. Calm your body, slow your breathing.


SIMPLE: this may help you remember elements of a meditation practice:

Select a place. Sit tall. Sitting tall will help you stay alert. If you have back pain while sitting, you may lie supine, on your back. If you are lying down, turn your palms up and move your arms out to the side slightly, as in the corpse pose at the end of yoga classes, Shavasana.

Intent: Calming, relaxation, peace, and joy. Interest the mind in calming, relaxation, peace, and joy.

Mental: scanning, body, skin, pressures supported by the chair and floor, and note sounds, sensations, aromas, mood, moment. Melt away from it all. Mantra; Your phrase. Choose your mantra as your mind calming, and focus. See the guide at the end of this post.

Pace: your breath, with an easy pulse of airflow in, and a pulse of air flow out. Pure oxygen, Pace 1, 2, and 3 inhale, pace pause, pace 1, 2, 3 exhale, pace pause. Peaceful recharge. Pace the breath as a wheel turns, flowing, circular.

Let: Let go of your thoughts, your busy rabbit brain, let your mind wander and come back, let your thoughts be without judgment. Leave the concerns of the past, leave concerns of the future, and let yourself be. Let go of the need to move or “do” let go, to be present. Let all be. Continue the mantra, and the breath cycling, flowing.

Enjoy: positive feelings, a positive thought, enjoy gratitude. Enjoy a sense of gratitude for the positive things in your life. Enjoy being, and your mantra, and your breath. Enlist all thoughts of gratitude and appreciation.

The practice of meditation can allow you to slow down and focus on moments during the day, with appreciation. This is when meditation overflows to mindfulness. Mindfulness entails a slowing down sense, and appreciation and being in the moment throughout the day.


The mantra:

A great text is Strength in the Storm, by Easwaren, founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Berkeley Ca. Easwaren provides examples of how individuals of various faiths can use a mantra specific to their faith for meditation.

He advises half an hour in the morning, and evening if possible for meditation and spiritual reading. You may use his guide for selecting a mantra at http://www.easwaren.org/mantra

The mantra can be your own personal, brief prayer, honoring your religious tradition. A prayer session would be different in that it would involve the recitation of longer passages of scripture, or prayers. Or perhaps silence with devotion. A prayer practice is unique to each religion and practitioner in how the faith doctrine is practiced, such as kneeling, or on a prayer mat, or seating or standing as part of a worship service. Certainly these two topics, meditation and prayer, can be blended as part of a practice.

There are many free online-guided meditations that can be useful to guide your practice. Here are some links:

Meditation guides


This is a nice site with free offerings of guided 10 -minute sessions, great for mini breaks, and more extensive options for those who want to study as a free course.


Guided breath training, creating a supportive “yoga couch” if needing to lie down, and guided meditation options. Ginger is a PT, founder of Professional Yoga Therapy, and pioneer in bringing complementary evidence based methods into physical therapy practice. The associated website home page has extensive education on breath control and the diaphragm.


Jim trains individuals and small groups at CTS, and he is compassionate and has a great sense of humor. He has participated in research in the health benefits of mindfull meditation. Biofeedback is useful to note physiologic responses to training. Jim also spreads the message working as a consultant at other sites around San Diego. This link is rich with 9 videos about stress, relaxation training and a guided session by mindfulness meditation “guru” John Kabat-Zinn. Schedule with Jim at CTS for guided training with expertise.


Meditation music


Good luck choosing music, this is such an individual taste driven genre.

There are many websites with free offerings.


Relax Melodies, apps for I phone and Android. I use the combo ocean wave sound, and flute, during yoga, and some meditation session.


Medical effects and benefits of meditation

Improved status of those with PTSD, reduced worry and reactivity, improved sleep, improved cortisol levels, reduced signs of cellular-DNA aging with longer telomeres,

reduced BP, weight loss, and other benefits as noted in these links:


Dr Herbert Benson pioneered early research at Harvard while I studied PT at Boston University, and his book the relaxation response was a primer for my thesis work on yoga and breathing for Type A individuals.


Health benefits of meditation from ADHD and anxiety to cancer and menopause


Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug; 1172: 34–53.


Pediatrics. 2009 Sep; 124(3): e532–e541.

Sitting-Meditation Interventions Among Youth: A Review of Treatment Efficacy

This is an extensive review article, with a synopsis of health benefits here:

“Meditation is found to help control the hypothalamic-pituitary-adreno-cortical axis and associated systems (e.g., parasympathetic nervous system), which are pathways that control stress-response mechanisms and regulate various bodily processes including digestion, immunology, mood, and energy usage. Meditation can also affect neuroendocrine status, metabolic function, and related inflammatory responses and can decrease experienced stress load. Relaxed attention can also permit more flexible psychological and behavioral responses to internal and external cues, possibly through a restructuring of frontal brain regions associated with self-regulation. In addition, actively focusing the mind on nonmotor activities, such as meditation, is associated with dopamine release in ventral areas of the brain, which is a process that can enhance positive mood states.”

Meditation is becoming more of a mainstream practice for all of its benefits and ease of performance with simple training. Enjoy creating your own practice, and reap all the benefits that come with regular time for re framing and re booting your body and mind.