What Does Meditation Mean Then
Today we live in a fast-paced life with so many tasks, responsibilities, stress and unexplained fears. There is a significant disparity between the thought process and the actions we tend to perform throughout the day. But when your thoughts and actions are a perfect match you dont feel the conflict or the stress and are genuinely focused at that moment in time. You are committed to living in the present moment. Also, you tend to feel more joy and are less fatigued.
Meditation practice consists of no exercises or bodily movements. An individual sits at a definite place and tries to focus the energies within the body on a particular object, sound, breath etc. Essentially, meditation is a part of yoga, which is mostly performed after Yoga asana practice. After you have done Yoga, the body is filled with vibrations and to gain a stable condition on both mind and body level, meditations are preferred post Yoga asana sessions. Meditation enhances the self-realisation process and promotes over wellbeing but curtailing excessive thinking and coordinating breath control. Contrasting meditation, doing Yoga has some obvious restrictions such as some asanas be performed on an empty stomach; some asanas cant be done if you are having health ailments and issues etc.
What Are Different Types Of Meditation Techniques
Spiritual masters and now mental health experts have come up with several types, techniques, and forms of meditation for you to explore. Some have their roots in the Buddhist traditions, some in the yoga tradition from India, some in Christianity, or the Zen tradition.; In recent times, many meditation teachers, practitioners, and modern research have attempted to classify all these wonderful activities as some type of meditation like closed or focused attention, open monitoring, and automatic self-transcending , etc. All these are different approaches to meditation and offer their own set of benefits.
But for a beginner, all these different types of meditation can be quite confusing and can disturb your inner equilibrium if you try them on your own. So it is very important to learn from a qualified teacher who can help you guide you on your journey to inner bliss. Though you have plenty of varieties to choose from, it is good to stick to whatever works for you and go deeply into it. The important thing is making time every day to practice: sit quietly, eyes closed, breathe, let go, and connect with the Self.
Meditation Techniques To Boost Mindfulness
Here, youll find detailed information on meditation techniques, including the basics of each technique so you can start right away.
The purpose of this guide is to help you choose a meditation method. Through whichever meditative path you choose, your ultimate destination is a state of liberation and mindfulness.
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Turn Sun Salutations Into A Moving Yoga Meditation
If youve done yoga before, youre probably familiar with Sun Salutations, which is why many yoga instructors believe these simple flow sequences make the perfect moving meditation.
Here are the basic steps of Sun Salutation A.
Heres a breakdown of the steps:
Repeat this sequence as many times as you want, holding poses as long as your body desires. Over time, this will become second nature and you might even be able to close your eyes.
If Your Job Is Currently Crushing Your Soul
Is it Friday yet? Is it payday yet? How did that deadline sneak up on you?! Even if youre lucky enough to genuinely love your job, focus and motivation arent always easy to find. Guess what can actually help? Meditation.
You should try:Headspace at Work. This program by the Headspace app helps organizations create a happier, healthier work environment through meditation. If your boss isnt interested in making this a thing, though, you can also benefit from Headspaces meditations for focus.
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The Benefits Of Meditation
Research has confirmed what the yogis of ancient times already knew: Profound physiological and psychological changes take place when we meditate, causing an actual shift in the brain and in the involuntary processes of the body.
This is how it works: An instrument called an electroencephalograph records mental activity. During waking activity, when the mind constantly moves from one thought to another, the EEG registers jerky and rapid lines categorized as beta waves. When the mind calms down through meditation, the EEG shows waves that are smoother and slower, and categorizes them as alpha waves. As meditation deepens, brain activity decreases further. The EEG then registers an even smoother, slower pattern of activity we call theta waves. Studies on meditators have shown decreased perspiration and a slower rate of respiration accompanied by a decrease of metabolic wastes in the bloodstream. Lower blood pressure and an enhanced immune system are further benefits noted by research studies.
How Do I Choose A Yoga And Meditation Practice To Fit My Lifestyle
While most experts recommend the traditional method of doing yoga before meditating, there are other considerations, including schedule and lifestyle, that might influence your mindfulness practice.
When you meditate and do yoga, whether you seek calm or energy, and the type of yoga or meditation you want to do, can influence your process and practice.
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What To Know About Metta Meditation
Metta meditation is a traditional Buddhist practice. Its been used for thousands of years.
Different traditions approach the practice in different ways. However, all forms of metta meditation share the common goal of developing unconditional positive emotions toward all beings.
This includes feelings of:
To cultivate these emotions, you silently recite phrases toward yourself and others. These phrases are meant to express kind intentions.
Some examples of metta meditation phrases include:
- May I be safe, peaceful, and free of suffering.
- May I be happy. May I be healthy.
- May you be strong and confident.
Its important to repeat each phrase with mindfulness. This helps you focus on the phrase and the associated emotions.
A regular metta meditation practice can be beneficial for both your mind and body. Lets look at some of these benefits more closely.
How Guided Meditation Works
Calming vs. insight meditation
Meditation techniques are often described as being either calming or insight meditation. The intention of calming meditation is to cultivate a quieter, more peaceful state of mind and improved concentration. Most calming meditation practices involve focusing on a particular object your breath, a mantra, a visualization, a physical object, even physical sensations within your body and returning to that object whenever you get distracted or notice your mind starting to wander.
Alternatively, people who practice insight meditation often set an intention to transform their minds by developing qualities such as wisdom and compassion. Insight meditation involves focusing on the breath and being aware of and noting all the physical and mental sensations that arise.
Heres the interesting thing about meditation: it doesnt have to be one or the other, calming or insight. In fact, many meditation techniques including the ones in the Headspace app actually combine elements of both. In addition to helping us find calmness and mental quiet, these meditations also help improve feelings of well-being, happiness, and empathy for others.
Types of meditation used in the Headspace app
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Guided Meditations For Beginners
Guided meditations are an excellent tool for beginners, as they provide a focal point and gentle instruction to help you connect and let go of self-judgment.
Try this 3-part guided audio series from Mindful Editor-in-Chief Barry Boyce:
How long would you like to meditate? Sometimes we only have time for a quick check-in, sometimes we can dip in a little longer. Meditating every helps build awareness, fosters resilience, and lower stress. Try to make meditation a habit by practicing with these short meditations from our Editor-in-Chief Barry Boyce. Find time to site once a day for one month and see what you notice.
Risks And Side Effects
Many types of yoga are relatively mild and therefore safe for people when a well-trained instructor is guiding the practice.
However, people may wish to consider a few risk factors before starting a yoga practice.
Some people may need to modify or avoid some yoga poses that could be risky given their specific condition.
Beginners should avoid advanced poses and difficult techniques, such as Headstand, Lotus Pose, and forceful breathing.
When managing a condition, people should not replace conventional medical care with yoga or postpone seeing a healthcare professional about pain or any other medical problem.
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Set An Intention Or Choose A Mantra
A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat during meditation. This can not only help shift your mindset and perspective on a situation but also help ward off distractions like your to-do list or work.
Not sure what your mantra should be? Think about your goals or what youre currently struggling with: self-love or acceptance? Impostor syndrome? Lack of focus? Relationship issues? FOMO? Anxiety about the future?
Try one of these mantras to make your yoga practice more meditative, or create your own:
- I am not defined by one experience.
- I am content in this moment.
- I am not my emotions.
- I have everything I need.
- I am capable.
- My heart will guide me.
- Love the life you have.
- Inhale, exhale.
Types Of Meditation You Can Practice During Yoga
There are a variety of types of yoga that involve meditative practices. You can incorporate different kinds of meditation into your yoga practice. Below is a list of meditation practices that complement yoga and might be included within your yoga flow:
Pranayama: Breathwork is one of the eight limbs of yoga. There are several techniques implemented in pranayama meditation. Benefits of incorporating controlled breathing in yoga and meditation include: calming your nervous system, promoting focus and relaxation, and relieving stress.
Kundalini Meditation: This form of meditation is practiced in Kundalini Yoga. This meditation utilizes breath, position, and mindfulness to move energy through the body from the spines base.
Transcendental Meditation: This form of meditation was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is a practice of daily mantra meditation.
Yoga Nidra: Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, is a practice that involves using guided meditation to fall into a state of consciousness between sleep and waking. Yoga Nidra has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental and physical well-being.
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Sahaj Samadhi Meditationeffortless Mantra Meditation
Sahaj means effortless, and Samadhi means a state of equanimity or bliss. As the name suggests, this is an easy, enjoyable, and effective meditation technique that involves the use of a personalized mantra. This is also founded by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who says, ;In Samadhi, that very deep state of meditation, you are given energy and long-lasting bliss. It carries you higher and higher until your very presence radiates love.
This mantra meditation is a rare combination of simplicity and depth. Each practitioner is given his or her mantra, or sound vibration, and is taught how to use it to go deep into the meditation to experience profound inner peace and bliss. The practitioner learns to let go without making any efforts to stop the chattering mind and comes to a deep state of restful awareness. Though it involves no effort, this ancient and rare type of meditation brings a profound effect. Both your mind and body relax into a state of intense restfulness in which deeply-rooted stresses dissolve, and the experience of ones infinite potential for peace, joy, and creativity unfolds.;
India Vendatism And Yogis
The oldest documented images of meditation are from India and date back to 5000 to 3500 BCE. Wall art paintings depict people sitting in meditative-like seated postures with their eyes half closed, presumed to be deep in meditation.
The oldest documented text of meditation is also from India, from the Hindu traditions of Vendatism, from around 1500 BCE. Although the Vedas created texts describing meditative practices its important to know that these had previously been passed down orally through storytelling practices for centuries.
Alongside the Vedic practice, Hindu traditions also describe the Yogi practice of meditating in caves. It is believed that many modern practices of meditation stem from this lineage, including the modern yoga movement whose techniques are predominantly based on the Hatha Yoga practice.
Although its good to understand that the origin of these techniques is based in meditation for spiritual development, not the common practice of stretches and movement many Western schools teach today.
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How To Get Started
The easiest way to begin is to sit quietly and focus on your breath. An old Zen saying suggests, You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day unless youre too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.
All kidding aside, its best to start in small moments of time, even 5 or 10 minutes, and grow from there.
Couple that with an additional 2 to 5 minutes of meditation throughout the day to break up the chaos, and you will soon be feeling the benefits.
Theres much evidence supporting the numerous benefits of meditation.
Meditation can help:
Feel All The Sensations
To help get out of your busy head, focus on physical sensations.
Feel your quad muscles firing as you hold Warrior II, enjoy the gentle stretch in your calves and hamstrings as you pedal your heels in Downward Dog, breathe into that glorious hip stretch during Pigeon Pose, and experiment with pushing your hands, feet, or other body parts into the floor to engage your muscles and feel more grounded.
All the while, notice where youre holding tension, what positions you may want to stay in longer, and what subtle adjustments your body is asking for to feel more balanced.
If youre practicing a sequence you know by heart , consider closing your eyes to limit distractions and enhance mindfulness.
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How Long Does It Take To Work
The various meditative disciplines encourage a focus on heightened awareness, slower breathing, and increased acceptance.
Meditation is not a results-focused undertaking. Indeed, fixating too much on the results can provoke anxiety that undermines the benefits of meditation.
However, most research shows that meditation can work very quickly. Studies of meditation typically follow practitioners for weeks or months, not years. Many meditation practitioners report an immediate improvement following a meditation session.
During meditation, it is common to feel less stressed, more accepting, and at greater peace. Over time and with practice, these sensations may continue outside of meditation sessions.
There is no right answer to this question. One argument is that any meditation is better than no meditation. So, if a person is only able to meditate once a week, this should not be a barrier to trying out the therapy.
A person can consider starting with a few sessions per week, working up to one session per day.
Meditating around the same time each day can make meditation a habit that is easy to incorporate into daily life.
If meditation is helpful, it may be beneficial to increase the frequency to twice or more per day or to use it to reduce stress whenever needed.
Meditation is a process-oriented undertaking that focuses on the moment, not on the results.
So enjoying the moment is key to successful meditation.
Guided Meditation: A Stepping Stone
If you want to get a glimpse of meditation on your own, you may try a guided meditation. Here are the top 22 guided meditations that you will enjoy to experience relaxation and find your focus and peace. My favorite one is Blossoming In Your Smile. Get settled with your eyes closed and try this meditation now.;
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What Is Vipassana Meditation Also Known As Insight Meditation
Before we get into the details of vipassana meditation, some important background about how this practice ties into the story of Headspace: In his early twenties, Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe left his Sports Science studies and became a Buddhist monk. For over 10 years, he studied meditation in Nepal, India, Burma, Thailand, Australia, and Russia.
After leaving the monastery with a desire to make meditation more mainstream, Andy arrived in London, which is where Headspace was first born, delivering meditations and teachings rooted in both the Burmese and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, while remaining true to the lineage that first inspired the app.
All Headspace meditation techniques incorporate elements of both Samatha and Vipassana meditation, though some of the technique names have changed from their original translation to help make them more accessible. The guided meditations in the Headspace app make meditation easy to understand and follow, even if you are completely new to the practice. Additionally, all Headspace meditations and exercises have an altruistic intention at their core, ensuring that both awareness and compassion are being trained at the same time.
You do not need to know and understand the background of Vipassana or Buddhist meditation in order to use the Headspace app to meditate. However, if you are interested in learning more about Vipassana meditation, read on.
The Benefits of Vipassana aka Insight Meditation