Practicing meditation is said to reduce stress and pain, while boosting happiness. Here, Marni Jackson gets mindful.

The first time I meditated was in the 1960s, in an airless studio above a store on Yonge Street. Both yoga and yogurt were still unknown in Toronto. Our teacher was an East Indian gentleman dressed all in white, with a white beard.

"Breathe into your third eye," he instructed us.

I breathed into my third eye and felt very silly. It's not too late to take up Highland dancing instead, I thought.

But by the end of the meditation, I became aware of a blue light gently blooming behind my eyelids – a blue light I now associate with the long, sinuous alpha waves of a brain that is allowing itself to relax.

A few years later, as an enterprising hippie footloose in Europe, I sat in with a more advanced group of meditators doing some Kundalini yoga in a dank stone farmhouse. Kundalini can be strong stuff.

"Imagine your consciousness as a serpent coiled at the base of your spine," said our instructor. "Imagine it rising up the spine to the top of your head where it becomes a shower of white light."

Okay, I thought, I'll give it a whirl.

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