Discover The Benefits Of Meditation

June 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Benefits Of MeditationMeditation was originally developed to help achieve the ideal meditative state as a way to enlightenment. Modern science has discovered that meditation has a positive effect on the mind and body that can improve various medical and psychological conditions. Discover these meditation benefits for yourself and make daily meditation part of your healthy lifestyle.

One of the main benefits of meditation is stress relief. We live in such a busy, fast-paced world and stress is becoming part of everyday life. Having a technique that you can use to relieve stress and tension, like meditation, is a valuable asset in maintaining optimum physical and mental health. Science has proven that meditation releases stress and reduces the risk of developing stress-related diseases like high blood pressure, ulcers, insomnia and heart disease.

The scientific community has concluded that meditation benefits include the slowing of alpha brain wave activity. This is different than the brain wave activity that goes on during sleep or hypnosis.  During meditation the heart rate, respiration rate, and metabolic rate are considerably lower when compared to sleep and hypnotic states.  And all of this happens while we’re in a completely alert state, unlike sleep and hypnosis. Though brain wave activity is still a bit of a mystery to the medical experts, many believe meditation awakens intuition as well as other extrasensory benefits.

Another benefit of meditation is improved concentration and clear thinking. Because meditation calms and quietens the mind, you feel free of the confusion of thoughts and self-talk that we often live with everyday. Meditation also strengthens the mind and helps to bring it under our conscious control to improve focus and determination. Control of the mind also helps us maintain a positive attitude and control our incessant self-talk, which is so often negative and nonconstructive. Considerable research has been done on the control the mind has over the body, which is the reason many top athletes use meditation as a way of improving their sporting performance.

Meditation has long been practiced to receive spiritual benefits like spiritual awareness, closeness to the Universe, connection to the source of life and opening of the mind to receive guidance. Meditation techniques are now being used in the fight against life-threatening disease, in treating mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, for problem solving and managing lifestyles.

Certain changes have been noted in the body during meditation. The rate of breathing and heartbeat slows, there is an increase in the flow of blood around the body and a reduction in blood pressure. These changes create benefits like release of tension in the muscles, lessening of headaches and digestive discomfort, an improvement in hypertension patients, improved mood due to increased serotonin being released, improved exercise tolerance in people with heart problems and reduced incidence of anxiety attacks.

Patients who have been meditating regularly before they’ve had surgery have been shown to heal faster and recover in less time than other patients. Meditation has also been shown to have had a positive effect on the physical and mental state of patients with terminal diseases. The power of meditation extends to the immune system by increasing the cells that naturally attack bacteria, viruses and disease.

Deep relaxation and contentment are typical results of a meditation session, which helps to improve self-image and self-confidence. Meditation also helps those who are struggling to find their unique identify and sense of who they are. It allows us the freedom from everyday life to think and feel.

These many meditation benefits are backed up by research and science. Learn and practice the technique of meditation, and experience for yourself the results that thousands of people around the world have discovered.

Meditation for Beginners

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Meditation for BeginnersMeditation is one of the best stress-relieving activities that you can do. Meditation also promotes better sleep, makes you feel calmer, aids in concentration and clear thinking, and improves your focus. You can also enjoy a better over-all health by meditating regularly. Taking a few minutes out of your day for quiet contemplation and meditation will help you be more productive and happier as you go about your daily tasks. Use these helpful tips on meditation for beginners to help you get started.

You don’t have to adopt special positions or have a special place to meditate. These can come later. All you need is a comfortable place to sit, where you feel supported and relaxed. Plan a time in advance for meditation; take the phone off the hook, be prepared to ignore the door-bell and other interruptions. Block out 15 to 20 minutes of your time, although, in reality, you will only actually meditate for 5 minutes or so in the beginning. You can utilize a meditation timer that will notify you when your time is up. Meditation timers are a great tool, as they remove the constant distraction and questions of “am I there yet?” After meditation, it is a good idea to sit quietly for a few moments, and not rush off to the next part of your busy day.

It is a good idea to keep a meditation journal; a special book only used for this purpose. As you sit quietly after your meditation, write down any thoughts or feelings that come to you. Some people find that they can write beautiful poetry at this time, which seems to come easily to them, as if from within.

To start your beginner meditation, sit comfortably in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing and take off your shoes. Make sure your back is straight and you are comfortable, with no tension in any part of your body.

There are many meditation techniques for beginners out there, but the best advice for the beginner is to keep it simple. The first thing you do is take several slow, deep breaths. With each outward breath, think of releasing the stresses and worries of your everyday life. Breathe in calmness and breathe out tension; you can even say to yourself – “I am breathing in calm; I am breathing out tension.”

Continue to breathe in your own natural rhythm, just observing the breath as it gently moves in and out. Your body is relaxed. You are feeling calm. Clear your mind of the usual chatter that we have going on continuously. Focus on your breathing, and if a thought comes to your mind, acknowledge it and let it go. Don’t stress about any thoughts that come up, just let them float away. Meditation for beginners isn’t an extremely difficult process. It’s important to note, however, that when we first get started in meditation we quickly realize how much chatter goes on in the mind. This is natural, though our goal in meditation is to seek control back from the egoic mind. As we progress in our meditation practice we’re able to quite these constant thoughts.

Keep your early sessions short, to about 5 minutes. As you continue to practice, you will be able to extend this time, but it is best to start off slowly. Don’t worry whether you are doing it correctly, just develop the skill of observing your breathing and controlling the thoughts that come into your mind. You may vary your meditations by adding soft, soothing meditation music in the background, using guided meditations, burning incense, or lighting a candle and gazing at the flame as you breathe.

Make a meditation appointment with yourself each day to form a habit of regular meditation. By following these tips in meditation for beginners, you will soon start to feel the wonderful benefits of this ancient craft.

Learn to Meditate

May 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Learn to MeditateWhen we come across people interested in meditation it’s not always so simple to explain, they often have an image of  a yogi or spiritual leader meditating with mystical powers. The pop culture image of a bearded wizard type individual who meditates in the forest certainly perpetuates this. Reality, however, is far from it, as there are various types of meditation practiced by millions of ‘normal’ people each and every day. You won’t have to move to a Tibet or take up the forest life to learn meditation. It’s really quite simple, and you can learn to meditate in the comfort of your own home.

When you first get started in learning meditation you may not know where to begin, as there are many types of meditation to choose from. The best advice is to start with a simple meditation when you’re just getting started. Once you get the swing of things you can experiment with the other varieties of meditation and find your preference.

Anybody who is new to meditation can start with the simplest of all, the breath counting meditation. This meditation is the easiest to perform, and the easiest to learn, as it’s also a form of natural meditation. To get started you will want to find a quite place where you’ll be comfortable and have no interruptions. You may sit in the lotus position (cross legged) or simply lay on your back if it’s more comfortable for you. It’s important not to get too relaxed while lying down, which can be an issue.  Once you are in a comfortable position you can start you breath counting meditation.  Gently relax your body and mind, as you close your eyes. We start by simply counting each inhale and exhale. Once we reach a predetermined number we start over. You can count up to 3, 5, 10 or whatever suites you. Keeping the number short, however, helps with your concentration. And concentration is what it’s all about. The goal here is to just focus on our breath, as we count each inhaled and exhaled breath. You’ll quickly learn that this is easier said than done, as your mind has other ideas. Don’t be dissuaded by the constant chatter of the mind, as it’s perfectly normal. You’ll develop better control with time.

You can start performing this simple meditation for a few minutes every once or twice a day. Once you begin to do this practice you can gradually increase the duration of the meditation. Remember to just to watch your thoughts pass by. Try not to get distracted by the mind. Or better yet, when you get distracted by your mind, simply return to your breathing. You can use a meditation timer that will not only signal the end of your session, but chime at certain intervals, so that you can return if distracted.  This mind distractions may seem very difficult at first, but consistent practice will help you get control back from your mind.

Learning to meditate is not at all a complicated procedure, it’s actually quite simple. The problem most people face is that it’s a lot like exercise, in that it takes steady discipline.  Understanding the benefits of exercise is not hard to conceptualize, just the action required to get the the results. Most people get motivated with a few visits to the gym, but the excitement quickly fades, and before they know it they’ve lost all motivation. This applies to learning meditation too. You will not see the results you’re looking for if you don’t put in the consistent practice. Meditation is a learned discipline that can provide a number of life changing benefits, but you’ll have to practice.

Before you learn to meditate your objective should be clear. Setting up goals is an important step. These goals need to be realistic for what you plan to achieve. Make meditation a part of your daily routine. If you can meditate twice a day, morning and night, that’s great, but try to allot a portion of your day to meditation. It’s recommended that you at least devote 20 minutes to your daily meditation. This should be a minimum, since the best results are achieved with longer consistent sessions.

Once you learn to meditate and are clear about what you wish to achieve via meditation you can then choose the meditation that best suits you. There are many types of meditation in some cultures that are actually a form of prayer like in Hinduism and Buddhism. You don’t, however, need to change your religion to learn meditation, rather pick up a meditation that will most benefit you. This may be a Buddhist mediation or some other form, proceed with an open mind.

Picking up the right meditation for you can be a bit of a task with so many to choose from, but it really doesn’t have to be. Many of the most experienced meditation gurus make the simple breath counting meditation the mainstay of there daily practice. This is because it works. Once you learn to meditate you’ll find there is no magic meditation that’s better than the others, just the one that’s best for you.

So start with a simple meditation. Set a realistic goal that you can stick to for a certain peiod of time. For example, 30 minutes in the mornings for 2 months.  Make it part of your daily routine. Don’t have unrealistic expectations. In fact, don’t have any expectations, other than your daily devotion. Once you’ve practiced for a few months and reached this goal, you can then reflect on your developement. What you’ll find will be nothing short of amazing.

A Guide On How To Meditate

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

How To Meditate

Meditation has long been considered an effective way to cope with stress and achieve a deeper state of mental relaxation, helping the mind in the process become more active in performing various mental processes.

For one to be able to achieve these goals, it is important to learn how to meditate. Meditation is more than just the image of someone sitting with his legs on a “twisted” position and his eyes closed as we will find out later on.

But the first thing we must learn in meditation is to set the time for it everyday. It doesn’t matter the time of the day or the length of time you allocate; what is more important is that you do it on a regular basis so that you can better feel the effects of meditation on your mind and body. Remember that meditation is not an exercise that promises immediate results, if that is what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve set up the time, you must now set up the location. Make sure it’s a quiet and relaxing location without any nuisances or other distractions that could get in the way of your meditation.

Now that the time and place has been set, we now go to the actual exercise itself in learning how to meditate. We begin by sitting on the same level as the ground, but you can sit on a meditation pillow or a chair if it makes you feel more comfortable. In fact, you can even do it while lying down, and you don’t necessarily have to be in some limb-twisting posture. Just remember to keep your back straight to help you with the breathing later.

Now that you have a comfortable posture for meditation, you now let your breathing become deep and slow from the abdomen instead of from the chest. At the same time, you should keep your eyes half-opened, not letting them focus on anything. But if you’re having a hard time doing so, you can either close your eyes or let them focus on a single, steady object in their view.

The next step is to relax every muscle in your body little by little. This takes time, so it’s important not to rush it. Around this time, your mind begins to think of many things. For meditation, it’s important for your mind to focus; you must gently let your mind focus on a single point and allow it to eventually stay in that point. This sort of mental anchor can either rest on the flow of your breath (without making any judgment on it) or it can be a mental image of place that calms you. The idea here is to just breath.

With your mind trained now to focus on a single point, the next step is to focus now on nothingness to fully clear your mind. This is the pinnacle of meditation, but also the most challenging. This requires great discipline on your part as you can either let the image be cast away or let it come and go until it disappears from your mind.

One must remember in learning how to meditate that meditation is not about seeking enlightenment or perfection. The ultimate goal here is for you to just be, which meditation allows for us in the midst of the frenzy and chaos surrounding our world today.

A Guide To Meditation Techniques

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Meditation Techniques

Meditation is one of the most universally accepted mental exercises in our world. It is also one of those exercises that have been practiced by man for millenia, harking far back into the ancient times. And as the practice spread across the world, the history of meditation evolved over time as various meditation techniques have made their way into being practiced by many people today.

These techniques vary greatly on the goals they present and the methods used as well. Let us take a look at some of these meditation techniques and what they are all about.

One of the most well-known meditation techniques is the Mantra Meditation. This technique involves repeating specific sounds known as a mantra. The word “mantra” itself comes from the Sanskrit language which means “revealed sound.” This mantra may be given by a meditation guru or you can choose your own. In mantra meditation, it is believed that speaking the mantra emits “vibrations” directed to one’s “chakras” or man’s force centers that will attract divine powers which heals the body physically, spiritually, and psychologically.

Speaking of chakras, another meditation technique is the Chakra Meditation. The purpose of this meditation is to discover these chakras in our body (seven all in all) and be able to bring integration and balance not only to each of these chakras, but to the whole body as well.

The Steady Gaze or Trataka Meditation is a popular meditation technique among many religions, including Christianity and Sufism. It is also one of the simplest and considered the most beautiful meditation techniques. Trataka meditation involves fixed gazing over a particular object like a candle along with deep breathing and alternating with the closing of the eyes. Apart from improving eyesight, it is also said this technique develops one’s “psychic eye” as well.

The Vipassana Meditation is another meditation technique which aims to provide you a vipassana or insight into your inner self to be able to identify the cause of your suffering and get rid of it in the process through self-observation. This body meditation also allows one to study any sensation felt in the body like itching and pain.

Zarzen Meditation, with the image of one sitting in a lotus position, is perhaps one of the most well-known and most depicted among the meditation types. It is said that this is the technique done by Buddha himself. In addition, Zarzen Meditation helps one become more disciplined in life.

The Raja Yoga Meditation technique is a technique practiced by yogis who wish to experience the highest form of bliss and enlightenment. This technique is also used by yogis who wish to be closer to God and be detached from all worldly things.

Finally, there is the Nada Yoga technique which focuses on meditation using the body’s internal sounds. By using the thumbs to plug the ears, one who practices this technique will notice these sounds which are faint at first before it gradually becomes louder. This helps the mind become more active and beneficial to the meditation as well.

Effects of Meditation on the Mind

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Effects of Meditation

Many people today are experiencing bouts of anxiety and depression due to all the pressure this fast paced world is putting on us. This happens because people lack the time to devote themselves to proper relaxation and self-renewal. In turn, it adversely affects their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Meditation is one effective way to calm and refresh our bodies. Aside from that, the positive effects of meditation on the mind are widely accepted by many therapists in the Western world nowadays.

Deep relaxation is the foremost effect of meditation to our bodies. While engaging into different meditation techniques, you are able to free your mind from the stress of the world. You are able to let out all negative thoughts from your body and replace them instead with positive energy. Deep relaxation is far different from what we derive from simply lounging in front of our TV sets. It is even deeper than what we get from sleep. They say that deep relaxation boosts alpha waves intensity in our body and thus reducing the level of lactic acid in the blood. High level of lactic acid causes anxiety and once it is reduced, we become a little less anxious as well. It then becomes a good way of de-stressing ourselves after a long day’s work.

The effects of meditation on the mind doesn’t just bring us to a state where we can relax and feel good about ourselves. This new calmness we can derive from meditation also relieves us from anger and agitation. In turn, it does not only affect us mentally, but also physically. The more agitated we are, the more our blood pressure increases. Meditation, then, helps reduce our tendency to get heart ailments. It regulates our blood circulation by increasing tranquility and removing all types of anxiety and anger.

In the end, an overall sense of well-being can be achieved from regular practice of meditation. All the physical effects of stress in our bodies shall be relieved accordingly. The effects of meditation on the mind will have a domino effect on our physical fitness. Insomnia, chronic headache and migraine, irritable bowel sydrome and upset stomach, dysmenorrhea, and other ailments caused by fatigue and depression will all become nothing but things of the past.

Meditation also encourages a healthy lifestyle. A regular dose of meditation shall alleviate our dependence on medication, alcohol and smoking. If we are undergoing treatments for any injury or illness, meditation aids us in dealing with the pain. Again, what meditation does is calm the mind. The less agitated our minds are, the more we can tolerate any pain. The body will then react positively towards healing.

Aside from benefiting directly, the effects of meditation on the mind benefit from the feeling that we get from progressing in this healthy lifestyle. Experts say that meditation makes us look and feel younger. Studies show that any form of meditation reduces the level of lipid peroxide in the body which contributes to old-age diseases such as atherosclerosis. It then brings about a healthy glow on our faces by bringing peace and tranquility.

Where most of these practices originated, meditation was not just a method for revitilization. It is a significant cultural and spiritual practice that contributes to a person’s well-being. The self-knowledge and wisdom derived from the practice of meditation also provides us with a higher sense of self. Having said that, the effects of meditation on the mind is brought to a much higher level of self-awareness.

The History Of Meditation

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

History Of Meditation

Archaeologists affirm that the history of meditation actually dates back to prehistory. They believe that before written records of meditation in the civilized world existed, early human beings had already discovered the positive effects of gazing into the flickering flames of a bonfire that has brought them to an altered state of consciousness. Since then, many types of meditation have become common among primitive societies.

The earliest records of written meditation techniques are Hindu scriptures called tantra’s that are said to be written 5,000 years ago. A yogi figure demonstrating the practice of yoga proves the existence of meditation in the first ever Indian civilization located in the Indus Valley.

The spreading of meditation techniques across Asia can be attributed to the advent of Buddha in around 500 B.C. Each culture that came to adapt Buddha’s teachings developed their own interpretation and techniques of meditation. This resulted in many different variations and styles, in several cultures, across the continent. Buddha used to be known as Siddharta Gautama. He was able to attain Buddhahood by his experimentation in different forms of meditation. Because of this, he was able to develop jhaanas or supranormal skills until such skills became a practice known as samatha. By practicing these skills, he was able to calm down his inner thoughts and develop in himself the power of concentration. This type of meditation became known as the vipassanaa – the ability to see the nature of life and the universe by means of meditation. Through vipassanaa, one is able to attain Nirvana.

The history of meditation must not be attributed merely on the Buddhists and the Hindus. The Muslims also claim that meditation has become an Islamic practice, dating back to  the time of the Prophet Mohammed. This is according to the beliefs of the Sufis of Islam.

Western religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Jainism also have there place  in the history of meditation as well. However, meditation is not widely practiced or taught in these religions, when compared to the Middle Eastern and Asian traditions.

In ancient times, meditation was performed for spiritual and cultural purposes, though its effects on a person’s physical and mental well-being have long been documented. It took thousands of years before the western civilization took meditation seriously. It became popular in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. Even celebrities practiced different forms of meditation. The Beatles are probably one of these groups who were very vocal about their meditation practices. People who idolized the band also tried to assume the same lifestyle. As a result, they found the benefits of meditation to be quite substantial.

Probably, one great leap in the history of meditation also happened during the 60s and 70s. It wasn’t just hippies learning about meditation, the medical and scientific community started conducting studies on meditation. Most of the studies, if not all, discovered that meditation had some significant health benefits. Because of this collection of findings, the western civilization started accepting meditation as a form of therapeutic remedy to alleviate physical and mental ailments. Soon after, meditation became the first ever alternative, or holistic form of healing, widely accepted in the medical world today.