What are meditation and its benefits?

Meditation has been mentioned in our ancient Hindu Vedas, as a spiritual journey to connect with the Supreme.
Today, in the West, with the greater need to reduce stress in the midst of our busy schedules and demanding lives, meditation is increasing in popularity.
Meditation creates a sense of calm and inner harmony, consciousness, finding awareness, and achieving peace. 

Meditation can help:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Decrease pain
  • Ease depression
  • Improve sleep

What are different ways to meditate?

There are nine popular types of meditation practice, and one can choose the one that suits their lifestyle & personality. They are:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Spiritual meditation
  • Focused meditation
  • Movement meditation
  • Mantra meditation
  • Transcendental Meditation.
  • Body scan meditation
  • Loving-kindness meditation
  • Visualization meditation

These practices require different skills and mindsets. How do you know which practice is right for you? 

How do I start meditating for beginners?

Tips For Beginners

  • Be patient. Don’t expect instant results. Meditation is a practice that’s meant to evolve.
  • Let go of perfection. Your mind will likely drift, so don’t worry about getting distracted. Try to focus on the present moment instead of the potential results.
  • Avoid judging yourself. When you get distracted, avoid criticizing yourself. Recognize the distraction and gently return to the practice.
  • Experiment. Meditation can be done in any location or pose, and at whatever time works best for you.

What is mindful meditation and how does it work?

This is the most popular meditation technique in the West. 

  • This practice combines concentration with awareness.
  • It can be easily practiced alone.
  • You pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind.
  • You don’t judge the thoughts or become involved with them.
  • You simply observe and take note of any patterns. 
  • You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings. 

What is spiritual meditation?

  • Can be practiced at home or in a place of worship.
  • This practice is beneficial for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.
  • you reflect on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with your God or Universe.
  • Essential oils are commonly used to heighten the spiritual experience. Popular options include: sandalwood, cedar and sage.

What is focus attention meditation? What are the benefits of focused meditation?

  • This practice is ideal for anyone who requires additional focus in their life.
  • It involves concentration using any of the five senses. For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention. 
  • Try counting Jaap mala, staring at a statue of an icon.
  • This practice may be simple in theory, but it can be difficult for beginners to hold their focus for longer than a few minutes at first. 
  • If your mind does wander, it’s important to come back to the practice and refocus. 

How do you meditate with movement? What are the benefits of movement meditation?

  • This type of meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander. 
  • This practice may include walking through the woods, gardening .
  • It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides you.

How does Mantra Meditation Work? What is the purpose of mantra meditation?

  • Some people find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath.
  • It’s excellent for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition. 
  • This type of meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind.  e.g., Om”
  • It doesn’t matter if your mantra is spoken loudly or quietly.
  • After chanting the mantra for some time, you’ll be more alert and in tune with your environment.
  • This allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness. 

What is Transcendental meditation? How do you do transcendental meditation?

Those who like structure and are serious about maintaining a meditation practice. 
using a mantra or series of words that are customised to each practitioner. In controlled scientific studies, TM has shown to decrease anxiety.

What is Body scan meditation? What is the purpose of a body scan meditation?

  • Is a practice aimed at reducing tension in the body and promoting relaxation.
  • It involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body.
  • Or you can imagine a gentle wave flowing through your body to help release any tension.
  • This is mindfully scanning your body for sensations of pain, tension, etc
  • Developing greater awareness of bodily sensations can help you feel more connected to your physical self.
  • This knowledge can make it easier to address what’s wrong, leading to improved wellness in body and mind.

What is Loving-kindness meditation? How do you do loving kindness meditation?

  • This type of Meditation is ideal for those holding feelings of anger or resentment.
  • It is used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness, and acceptance toward oneself and others.
  • The goal is to cultivate unconditional love, kindness for all beings, including yourself and Family, friends, neighbours, animals etc.
  • It involves reciting positive phrases toward yourself and these beings. E.g.- “May you be strong and confident.”
  • It’s important to repeat each phrase with mindfulness. This helps you focus on the phrase and the associated emotions.
  • Promotes self-compassion

The idea is that you must love yourself before you can love other people. You can do it anywhere you like.
Try to choose a spot where you’re least likely to be distracted, then follow these steps:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose and continue breathing deeply. 
  2. Focus on your breathing. Imagine your breath traveling through your body. Focus on your heart.
  3. Choose a kind, positive phrase. Silently recite the phrase, directing it toward yourself. You can say, “May I be happy. May I be safe. May I find peace.”
  4. Slowly repeat the phrase. Acknowledge its meaning and how it makes you feel. If you get distracted, avoid judging yourself. Just return to the phrase and keep repeating it.
  5. Now, think about your friends and family. You can think about a specific person or a group of people. Recite the phrase toward them, “May you be happy. May you be safe. May you find peace.” Again, recognize the meaning and how you feel.
  6. Continue reciting the phrase toward others, including neighbours, acquaintances, and difficult individuals. Recognize your emotions, even if they’re negative. Repeat the phrase until you experience compassionate feelings.

What is Visualisation meditation? How do you practice visualization?

  • Here’s a little secret about your brain: It can’t always tell the difference between something you’ve imagined and something that’s actually happened.
  • Adding visualization exercises to your mindfulness practice can help you drive your brain where you want it to go.
  • That’s partially why visualization works. When you visualize yourself achieving goals, you brain may eventually believe you’ve already done those things. This can help you feel more confident and make it easier to achieve those goals in reality. 
  • Visualization also helps create new pathways in your brain over time through a process called neuroplasticity.
  • By visualising positive scenes or image, using all five senses to add detail, you will get feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness.
  • Adding visualization into your meditation mix allows you to better direct your relaxed mind toward specific outcomes you’d like to see.
  • How to do it?
  • Hold your goal firmly in your thoughts. Maybe your goal canters on winning a competition, learning a new skill, or developing a specific personality trait. 
  • Imagine yourself succeeding at this goal. Focus on your location, the other people around you, and your feelings in the moment. Add as much detail as possible to make the scene vivid and realistic. 
  • If doubts come up, such as “I can’t do this,” or “This just won’t work,” combat them with a positive mantra. “I can do this,” “I have faith in myself,” or “I have the strength to keep trying.”
  • Focus on your breathing and your mantra as you visualize the scene of your success.

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