The Physical Benefits of Rosary Meditation

The power of the rosary never ceases to amaze me.  In my daily travels around the internet, I came across this post about the cardiovascular benefits of rosary meditation.  Any long time follower of RosaryMeds knows that I’ve touted the spiritual benefits of rosary prayer.  Increasing one’s physical health should be a nice little extra to motivate you to whip out your rosary beads and get started on those Hail Marys.

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Here is a summary of the findings from Our Lady’s Promise Apostolate Blog (here’s a link to the full study for your science and medical geeks out there):

Luciano Bernardi, associate professor of internal medicine at Pavia University, recorded breathing rates in 23 healthy adults during normal talking, recitation of the rosary, yoga mantras, and six minutes of controlled breathing.

Breathing was markedly more regular during the rosary and the mantra and was slowed to about six breaths a minute. The results mean yoga enhances ‘aspects’ of heart and lung function and might be viewed as a health practice as well as a religious practice, he said.

The benefits of breathing exercises in yoga have long been reported, and mantras may have evolved as a simple device to slow respiration, improve concentration, and induce calm, Professor Bernardi says in this week’s British Medical Journal.

I’ve long said that praying the rosary is spiritual exercise.  But rosary prayer is also physical exercise.  And like any exercise, it’s important to show good form to maximize benefits.  This is what I said in my rosary prayer guide, The Rosary for the Rest of Us, about the connection between prayer and exercise:

It is important that you pray the rosary earnestly. If this is your first time praying the rosary regularly then please set aside some time so you can really concentrate. Going back to the exercise analogy, you cannot expect to get into great shape physically by working out half heartedly. You cannot do one poorly-formed pushup once a week and eat junk food and expect to be in super shape. Similarly, you need to develop good form for praying the rosary, especially in the beginning. Starting anything new and different can be a challenge initially. Think of praying the rosary as spiritual boot camp where you need to put in a lot of effort up front to give your spiritual life a jolt. But once you find your rhythm, the benefits of prayer really start to multiply. Once you are comfortable praying the rosary then it becomes much easier to integrate it throughout the day if you like.

So the benefits of rosary prayer is not just the seemingly random ramblings of this blog, but are backed up by the Church and the medical community.  If you are thinking of buying some new workout gear this year or starting a new fitness plan, perhaps you should add a rosary and my book to your shopping list.  Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

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