With today’s fast-paced lifestyles and constant distractions, it’s common for stress and anxiety to feel like the norm. Unfortunately, too much stress can create an array of both physical and mental problems. While committing to a fit lifestyle helps reduce stress, many of us still need deeper relaxation methods.

The guided meditation classes at Steel Fitness Premier in Allentown give members the opportunity to enjoy practicing in a comfortable setting. To give you an idea of what to expect, we sat down for a question-and-answer session with our instructor, Jen Cortright. Here’s what she had to say.

Q: What is your background story in the health and fitness lifestyle/industry?

I offer spiritual guidance and therapy services to help clients determine their true essence, understand blocks, and get a better understanding of their life’s path and purpose. My gifts also promote healing and closure from past events. I have a background in addiction counseling, energy therapy, and I am certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Reiki, addictions, and mindfulness and meditation. I have a full-time private practice where I offer counseling services, energy healing, and guidance on life’s biggest challenges.

Q: How did Meditation & Mindfulness become a part of your lifestyle and what was the effect it had on you?

I have always been high-strung and have had anxiety my entire life. I found meditation and mindfulness several years ago when I went through a rough patch in my personal life. I did tons of research to find a way to calm myself without seeking the aid of a therapist. I started implementing various mindfulness teachings as well as meditating 24 minutes a day. I found that within the first week of implementing these techniques I had less anxiety and reacted calmer to situations I faced.

Q: When did you decide to offer your expertise in meditation to help others?

Meditation helped me so much that I decided to expand my knowledge on meditation by taking classes about 3 years ago. I wanted to have others experience the great peace I felt.

Q: Are meditation & mindfulness two completely separate things? Do they complement each other?

Meditation is a large umbrella term that encompasses the practice of reaching ultimate consciousness and concentration, to acknowledge the mind and, in a way, self-regulate it. It can involve a lot of techniques or practices to reach this heightened level of consciousness including compassion, love, patience, and of course, mindfulness. So, mindfulness is a type of meditation, and they do complement each other.

Q: Who is the ideal candidate to benefit from Meditation/Mindfulness training and practice with your class?

Anyone! Mindfulness and meditation can help an individual at any level of spirituality become more aware and gain an inner peace.

Q: What can members expect from the experience with your class at Steel Premier?

Each class of the series will offer a different 30-45-minute guided meditation. Not every guided mediation is created equal. First, I will help you relax by deepening your breathing and releasing tension in specific muscle groups.There may be a grounding moment, where I will ask you to visualize your bones and feet growing roots into the ground. You will be asked to be in the present moment by actively listening to your breath or heartbeat. I will have you visualize a healing light filling your body and dispelling any illness or negative energy. I will then take you on a guided journey through your subconscious. The level of intensity will vary class to class. Last, I will slowly have you refocus on your breathing, and have you wiggle your toes and fingers to bring you back!

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