Traditionally, winter is a time of going inward and the new year brings resolutions and self-reflections, which is why it's also the perfect time to try meditation to de-stress and reevaluate life.
Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga has paired with Magnolia resident Josephine Diagonale to offer a six-week meditation workshop as an opportunity to relax, reflect and simply slow down.
"January traditionally is a time of self-evaluation and self-reflection and this is an opportunity to go inward and see what you're looking for," said Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga owner Paige Deiner. "People handle stress in different ways and you need someone in the beginning of that [meditation] journey to function as a guide."
So Deiner has partnered with Diagonale to help people open up by looking in.
Diagonale was first introduced to metaphysics and meditation in the 1970s. Since then, she has worked as a consultant for corporations and non-profits, took courses at the Jung Institute in New York City, wrote a meditation column for Asbury Park Press in New Jersey and has led meditation sessions for Kent County's Cancer Support Community and Dover's Modern Maturity Center.
Diagonale doesn't like labels, she said, which stems from the essential attitude that mediation – as well as life experiences – is not necessarily good or bad, they just are.
"Initially it's to relax, but meditation is so much more," Diagonale said. "There's a physical, emotion, brain and spiritual response. It also increases your awareness and that's the key thing about meditation."
Diagonale said she has been amazed at the amount of research being done on the benefits of meditation, from simple relaxation to aiding medical conditions like high blood pressure.
"Meditation helps you to really get your brain working," she said. "Meditation can help you create the space to relax and reflect on what's happening in your life and create the best strategies to move forward. It will keep you rolling and flowing with your life no matter what time of year it is."
Generally, Diagonale said she opens her meditation sessions by handing out a raisin to each participant. She challenges them to take the raisin and focus on nothing but that raisin - its taste, texture and associations - to help them get a clear idea of how rarely we truly live in the present moment.
"Meditation brings us into the now, which relaxes us because we also learn to listen without pre-assumptions," she said. "We always think we're in the present, but most of the time what comes out of our mouth has history to it. We're never right here in the now, but it's the only moment that we have."
Diagonale's workshops include a teaching section, a discussion of how participants have or can practice on their own, time for introductions and questions, 20 to 30 minutes of meditation and reflection time at the end of each session.
Page 2 of 2 - "Meditation is both the single most beneficial and most exciting pathway to walk through in a lifetime because there's always something new and will benefit you on all levels," Diagonale said. "In being present to life, we can savor it."
The six-week program, held at 5:30 p.m. starting Tuesday, Jan. 28, still has space left, and costs $75 per participant. Individual sessions are priced at $12 each. For more information or to register, call (302) 930-3055.