Want More Out Of Your Life?

MEDITATE, MEDITATE, MEDITATE!

Introduction

Meditation is the practice of training the mind in the areas of attention and awareness, and to achieve a mental state of clarity where you feel emotionally calm and stable

Meditation begins and ends in the body. It involves taking the time to pay attention to where we are and what’s going on, and that starts with being aware of our body

It involves taking the time to pay attention to where we are and what’s going on, and that starts with being aware of our body. That very act can be calming, since our body has internal rhythms that help it relax if we give it a chance

The origins of meditation according to positive psychology “The earliest written records come from the Hindu traditions of Vendatism in India from around 1500 BCE. Other forms of meditation are then cited around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE within Taoist China and Buddhist India”

The benefits of meditation

Now that you know what meditation is and it’s origins the thing you probably want to know most of all is how meditation benefits you. Our everyday lives are becoming busier and busier and were being told that to enhance our lives we need to read this or read that or listen to this podcast or fit this particular practice into our lives and our lives can look a little like this

Meditation helps to:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Control Anxiety
  3. Enhance self awareness
  4. Enhance our ability to concentrate
  5. Encourage us to have kind thoughts about others (Metta)
  6. Improve sleep
  7. Can help in pain reduction
  8. Helps in reducing blood pressure

As you can see meditation offers quite a few benefits if you’d like to give meditation a try you can check out this Link

Different types of meditation will suit different people so I’ve outlined some of the different types of meditation and some of their benefits below

Breathing

One of the most important aspects of meditation is the breath. The breath connects to both the mind and the body. In heightened states like anxiety, stress or fear our breathing can be fast paced, irregular and shallow but when we’re relaxed our breathing tends to be slower, deeper and more regular.

Controlling the breath is part of what leads us into different mental states because as we focus on the rhythm of our breathing in a relaxed state it helps to centre you and allows you to go deeper into a meditative state

Types of Meditation

Its an easy mistake to think that Meditation is just meditation and it’s all about just sitting there with your eyes closed and chanting “om” but there are three categories of meditation

Focused Attention: This type of meditation is the most common and most practised form of meditation it’s a form of meditation where you focus on a single object the result is that this type of meditation activates high frequency activity in the front and core of the brain. Examples of this type of meditation include: Zen, Quigong, Tibetan, Compassion and Vipasanna

Open Monitoring: This type of meditation is about letting experiences pass through our mind without any interference on our part because the aim is to train the mind to return to the present moment by focusing on an object, your breath, or your body. Examples include mindfulness and zazen

Automatic Self-Transcending (AST): This is basically any type of technique that goes beyond the practised steps used in meditation. This type of meditation results in a form of relaxation that increases blood flow and oxygen to the front of the brain and quietens the mind and makes you more alert examples include Transcendental Meditation

These 3 types of meditations have variations of meditations so here is a break down of some of the practised meditations in each category

controlled focus : Tummo, tantric, concentrative, vipassana

open monitoring : mindfulness, zazen, chakra meditation

AST : transcendental

Tummo is a type of tantric yoga that teaches you how to breathe it originated in the Himalayas thousands of years ago. Practising this form of meditation results in benefits like: better concentration, better memory, better mental composure and improved breathing

Tantric The primary goal of this type of meditation is to be one with the universe. I like to think of it as a form of self-improvement as it aims to guide the practitioner to create a life that is richer and more complete. The techniques help you to overcome obstacles that are stopping you from living your best life and one way of doing this is to clear your life of difficult emotions.

Facing your mental conditioning and personal limitations is also another part of this type of meditation. One thing of note is that it’s also very physical and involves sensing, feeling and touching you can read a deeper explanation about the touching part here

Concentrative meditation is designed to help you focus and be present with what is in front of you. In Buddhism concentration is very important and it is said that Buddha himself was practising this form of meditation when he became enlightened. This form of meditation allows one to achieve clarity and awareness

This type of meditation can be used for contemplating life’s problems and you can read more about that here

transcendental meditation is a widely practised form of meditation that has over 5 million practices worldwide it’s a form of meditation that is practised in 20 minute slots twice a day the practitioner sits with their eyes closed and focuses on a single mantra that is repeated slowly. The Mantras are assigned based on personal characteristics so they can be different for each person. Transcendental meditation focuses on achieving inner peace and wellness and some of the benefits of this type of meditation include: being good for stress management, anxiety reduction, reduces blood pressure and helpful for treating ADHD here are some things you need to know:

  • you need a mentor to teach you as it’s not a one size fits all type of meditation
  • anyone of any skill level can do it no concentration, mindfulness or emptying of one’s mind needed
  • evidence based – studies have been done by independent universities and research institutes on it’s effectiveness

Vipassana meditation vipassana translated means “To see things as they really are” it’s a gradual process of ever-increasing awareness into the inner workings of reality itself a type of self exploration type of meditation and is said to be the oldest of the Buddhist meditation practices.

This type of meditation can take years to master and differs from other types of meditation in that it focuses on insight rather than a prayer, chant or object I found an article which explains it a bit better than I can

“Vipassana is different from mindfulness meditation, which focuses on awareness, or to transcendental meditation, which uses a mantra. Instead, it dictates a blanket command of non-reaction. No matter the pain as you sit, or the fact that your hands and legs fall asleep and that your brain is crying for release. You are instructed to refocus attention on the objective sensations in your body, arising and falling, as you do a scan of your limbs in a specific order.”

Mindfulness is about being present and not just present fully present. Mindfulness isn’t something you need to strive to achieve Mindfulness recognises and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings but you do need to learn how to access it.

The majority of us live lives where we mostly focus on what’s going on inside our heads. A lot of the time we get so caught up in our thoughts that we rarely if ever stop to look at how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour

Mindfulness is about taking the time to notice what’s happening inside our bodies and the world around us. If I were to sum up mindfulness in three words I would choose connection, awareness and being present.

Connecting/reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations we experience as well as being aware of our moment to moment thoughts and feelings are what make up some of the most important aspects of mindfulness. Focusing on the present can allow us to see things and ourselves more clearly.

Some of the benefits of mindfulness include:

  • A reduction in Anxiety
  • Combined with CBT it can help treat depression
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Trains you to be a better listener
  • Fall asleep faster

Chakra meditation for starters what are Chakra, Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means disc or wheel. These discs/wheels are invisible energy centres within the body and each Chakra is associated with the glands and organs of the body. There are hundreds of Chakra but Chakra meditation focuses on the 7 core Chakra in the body

The 7 core chakra in the body are

Root Chakra (Muladhara) Colour: Red Mantra: LAM

located at the base of your spine and governs your connection to the wider world

Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana) Colour: Orange Mantra: VAMSits just below the navel and is active in the area of your creativity

Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) Colour: Yellow Mantra: RAM

located at the solar plexus This chakra is important to digestion and plays an important role mentally and spiritually

Heart Chakra (Anahata) Colour: Green Mantra: YAM

useful in creating emotional connections with others

Throat Chakra (Visshuddha) Colour: Blue Mantra: HAM

this chakra governs communication and self-expression

Third Eye Chakra (Ajna) Colour: Indigo Mantra: SHAM

Used in the area of insight and intuition

Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) Colour: Purple / White Mantra: OM

When your chakras are in good health and balance the crown Chakra serves as a power connection to the wider world you can also see a more detailed diagram of the chakras here

The chakra are all about balance and keeping them in balance has been linked to physical and mental well-being. Chakra can become blocked and therefore unbalanced by things like the stress of everyday life, anxiety, emotional challenges or traumatic experiences

here are some of the signs that can indicate blocked chakra:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • A lack of motivation
  • Wanting to separate yourself from others
  • A feeling of helplessness
  • A lack of motivation in achieving goals

There is also an online test that you can do to help identify if your chakra are blocked that you can do here

Zazen is the study of the self, in Zazen meditation the mind, body and breath are seen as one. Zazen is a form of sitting meditation where you aim to let go of all judgement and goals by learning to focus on the present moment

The aim is to allow all your thoughts, inner dialogue and mental images play out in your mind without getting involved in them . There are a number of sitting positions in Zazen like the double lotus, single lotus, kneeling positions and positions where you use chairs

During the meditation you focus on the breath by counting breaths, as you inhale that is one and as you exhale that is two and you do this count up to ten and start all over again

The benefits of Zazen meditation include:

  • Reduced anxiety & stress
  • Better sleep
  • An improve immune system
  • Slower ageing
  • Improved blood flow
  • Improved mood and behaviour patterns
  • Lower blood pressure

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is a type of meditation that is believed to have the ability to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease it does this by increasing cognitive functions like (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering)

This type of meditation makes use of chanting and hand movements, the chants are sung, whispered and silently repeated and visualisation is used near the end of the practice. The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation recommends about 12 minutes of daily practice with this type of meditation to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease

Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first toward yourself and then toward others. Metta increases positively, empathy and compassionate behaviour toward others.

As you spend time in the practice of meditation especially mindfulness you may develop a state of mind known as EQUANIMITY. This has been referred to as the secret ingredient to mindfulness by meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg.

Equanimity is the ability to be calm and composed in the face of stress and problems and this is achieved by being an observer of your thoughts and not being attached to pleasure or pain

The best time to meditate

Well the short answer to that is that you should meditate whenever you feel like meditating however there are a few reasons why the time of day you choose to meditate is both beneficial and important to the practice

The Morning as you awaken in the morning your mind is fresh and hasn’t been cluttered with the thoughts, actions and memories of the day and starting the day with a calm and productive mind helps to set the tone of the day

Morning meditation is a favoured time for a lot of people and I personally find that by doing it first thing in the morning it helps to establish it as a habit as you’re less likely to make excuses like I’m too busy or I Haven’t got time

After work what if you’re not a morning person and find the idea of setting time each and every day in the morning too difficult as you’re mornings are hectic and already packed with activities. Well meditating after work can be beneficial if you’re job is demanding and mentally draining and you just need to declutter your mind after a hectic day. There’s nothing wrong with a little me time and if this is the ideal slot for you then go for it

Before Bed Meditation before sleep has it’s advantages too. If you’re looking to just meditate at night because it’s your only available time slot try to do it an hour before you go to sleep so that you don’t relax off into a sleep state. However if you’re a person who struggles with getting to sleep at night meditation may be the key to getting a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is vitally important to our health and well being because a lack of it can lead to things like heart disease and obesity

Meditation aids with sleep because it helps to clear the mind and it activates our autonomic nervous system (responsible for our “rest and Digest response”) which helps you to go to sleep because it lowers the heart rate, your blood pressure, helps you use oxygen more efficiently so you can drift off to sleep. When you’re stressed you activate the Sympathetic system which activates the “Flight or Fight response” which makes sleeping difficult.

So if you’re meditation as an aid to get to sleep one of the best forms of meditation for sleep is Vipassana meditation and there are guided versions of this available that you can follow along with like this one Sleep Like a baby

Conclusion

So there you have it an explanation of meditation it’s benefits and why you should practice meditation. Hopefully this guide has given you the desire to at least try meditation if you haven’t already. Below I have listed some MP3 recordings that can help you on your meditation journey

 

     Mindfulness meditation

Access a quiet mind anytime

  The stress management pack

          Meditation motivation

To read more articles like this check out https://gethealthyandwise.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*