Back from the Brink: The Power of Meditation
At 5’2”, a tremendous strain was placed on my knees and hips from excess weight. The simple act of walking was an arduous task. Since walking places a force of 3 times your body weight on the critical joints of your body I had 528 pounds of pressure with every excruciating step. I developed bursitis in my hips creating an inflammation so severe that I couldn’t walk. My condition had gotten so severe that I couldn’t even play with my newborn. Exercise was out of the question. I could barely see my toes—being able to touch them was a fantasy. I used the pain as an excuse.
My wake-up call came two years later, at my son’s birthday party. When I saw the videotape of the celebration, I didn’t even recognize myself. It was time to make a change. I understood why I had no energy. Staring me in the face, right there on the screen was the reason my hips and back ached so terribly. Every day was another dose of my harsh reality. Commuting to work on the bus was a humiliating experience, as I had to endure the cruel snickers when I couldn’t fit into the seat. I had enough. It was time for a change.
While I was working at CBS Television, a guest panelist and psychologist told me about how meditation could benefit me. I was skeptical, but desperate to try anything that would make me feel whole again. I needed to be there for my son. I decided to give it a try. At first I didn’t understand how a sedentary activity like meditation could help me to lose weight. It was not long before I discovered the secret---during meditation your mind is the CEO and your body the dutiful employee. You tell your body what it needs to do and it follows suit.
The ritual of meditation was the spark that jumpstarted my weight loss plan. I felt energized to exercise daily, choose healthier options and control my portion sizes. The meditation motivated me in ways I never thought imaginable, helping me lose the excuses and get on the track to better health. I started with gentle yoga combined with what is now my TV series, Functional Fitness. This not only helped me start shedding pounds, but also made my day-to-day tasks more manageable.
Meditation even saved my life, and prevented my son from becoming motherless at 10 years old. The same breathing techniques that I used to control my appetite and regulate stress delivered me from the brink of death, when a medical miscalculation caused my heart to stop on an operating table. As doctors frantically performed CPR, my body started to shut down, turning my lips, hands and feet a chilling blue. Near death, I was transported by ambulance to the intensive care unit. My body was on the verge of giving up. My kidneys shut down and my veins constricted so tightly that doctors could not administer a lifesaving intravenous line. My body and my spirit were determined to live. I would not die. I would live. I would see my son again. I started to meditate. After five minutes of willing myself to survive and using my meditation skills, my body started its journey back from the edge. My kidneys started functioning again. My pulse strengthened and my veins opened up. Later, my cardiologist would proclaim in amazement, “I’m an Indian doctor and my patient is teaching me how great meditation is!” The News Journal heard about it and did a story.
After that day, I had a renewed sense of purpose. I had to motivate others who were struggling with their health. My weight could have been a death sentence, but meditation and determination was my pardon. I’ve made it my mission to help others on their journey to finding the healthy and slim person within. You are the CEO of your health. Exercise and be healthwise!
Suzanne Andrews is a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician with 30 years exercise expertise. Airing to over 49 million on Public Television, Suzanne Andrews, a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician, (they specialize in function) creates evidenced based fitness programs for specific health conditions. Originally created in 2008 with it’s first run on WDSC TV, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews broadcasts on 113 Public Television stations.