Meditation has been shown, beyond reasonable doubt, to help in normalising blood pressure, metabolism and to balance the brain hemispheres. It helps in attaining peace with oneself and expanding the inner consciousness. The regular practice helps in the clarity of the mind. This in turn helps cleanse the body of negative energies such as resentment and hate. Meditation helps to energise the body, mind and spirit and yet also helps one to relax, reduce stress, improve health and to live in harmony. Using specific breathing patterns we can improve the amount of oxygen and energy reaching our cells and get rid of stress and toxins. How can we learn the process so that it works best for us? When and where should we practise Meditation? Learn this so both you and your clients could benefit.
Meditation: The History Indian Artifacts have played an important part in proving the history of meditation, called “Tantra”. Such artifacts have shown meditation practices dating back 5000 years. While gazing into the roaring flames of their fires, primitive hunting and gathering societies are said to have discovered meditation and its many states of consciousness. However, evolution has taken its course and meditation has evolved from mere gazing into flames into a structured practice that people use on a daily basis.
One of the biggest supporters and pioneers of mediation is the Buddha. The Buddha who has been around since 500 BC is a key meditation icon both in the world today and in the past.
Meditation Is Scientifically Proven To:
* Reduce Stress / Anxiety
* Cure Phobias & Obsessive Thoughts
* Rejuvenate Your Confidence
* Relieve Feelings Of Depression
* Improve Concentration & Focus
* Enhance Motivation
* Cure Addictive Traits
* Revitalise Relationships
* Prevent sleep problems
* Aid those who Suffer Panic Attacks
Many people of all different kinds regardless of age or gender suffer from stress. Stress is not only a problem within itself but can also lead to further health problems. For example, it can cause high blood pressure and heart problems. The question one may ask, is how are we supposed to ease such stress levels? The answer is simply regular meditation; this can be supported using statistics. It has been shown that stress levels in certain people have been considerably lower when they were in a state of meditation rather than merely in a relaxed or rested state. Based on this, it is no surprise that a substantial number of employers throughout the United States feel it to be necessary to dedicate an entire room in their workplaces to enable employees to practice meditation.
Meditation has also been used in research relating to cancerous tumours in the body. Meditation and cancer are linked in that meditation helps to relieve stress and worry associated with cancer to such an extent that it can prevent cancer cells from growing. All this information begs the question as to why meditation is not approved by any agency as an actual course of treatment or medicine? The response is that such treatment has been suggested to agencies and the go ahead for such treatment is in the pipeline. Meditation is able to trump medication in that it need not be prescribed or purchased. An improved quality of life and a revitalised state can be achieved by simple techniques which can be tried out yourself.
It has been said that “meditation is universal”- but what does this mean? Whether one is meditating to create a calm environment in their life, to heal or enhance their physical or mental health or indeed to be one with their inner self, meditation can provide something for everyone. Nevertheless, just because meditation is known to be universal, one would be mistaken to believe meditation techniques are also universal. There are a variety of techniques which are practiced and this is largely determinant upon the type of personality one has. Some techniques allow for free flowing thoughts to enter the mind during the meditation, while other techniques may be more stringent and concentrative by bringing focus to just a single thought. It is natural for human beings to have mood swings and it is widely agreed that it is rare to find consistency in mood. One may be groggy and stressed at the start of the day but perfectly calm and relaxed towards the end. The reasons for such mood swings has been said to be due to the balance of certain chemicals in the brain. These chemicals can be controlled through meditation and as a result improve the likelihood of mood swings. Meditation is instrumental in reducing tension both in the work place and at home which in turn will lead to a better quality of living.
The research on meditation that has been carried out has taken the business world by storm. Businesses have quit the idea of coffee and cigarette breaks and have introduced meditation breaks. In fact some companies have incorporated meditation into the timetable of the working day. Other companies who are unable to fit this in have funded seminars which coach employees in various meditation techniques. Meditation research has led to profound findings with regards to the effects of cancer and meditation. Meditation does more than simply relax an individual. It can go a step further and control rapid growth at which cancerous tumour cells can multiply and cause damage to the body. Scientists have constantly been interested in finding out what it is that enables meditation to effect the human body in the way it does.
Types of meditiation An overview of the various meditation techniques:
Mantra Meditation: To learn the essence of this technique, it is important to understand what the meaning of a mantra is. Mantra literally means ‘revealed sound’ or a combination of sounds which develop spontaneously. Therefore in Mantra Meditation, one would consciously repeat certain sounds that appeal to the mind. This aids in creating what one would call a meditative state. It is at this point we must clarify that one shouldn’t confuse a mantra with a religious mantra. A mantra may be personally chosen or given to you by a guru. However, the important thing is that this mantra appeals to the mind. Sounds such as “ah”, “om” or “hum” are commonly used in the practice of mantra meditation. These sounds help to annex a spiritual meaning to the meditation. However, this spiritual meaning is not the same for everyone. The spiritual meaning could be a connection with someone or something when chanting the word or sounds. To illustrate this lets take the sound “om”, when this is chanted, it is said that one is connected to their body, the sound “ah” is said to be connected to one’s speech and lastly “hum” is said to be connected to one’s mind. As a result of this when one chants “om” during their meditation, they should feel more connected with their body and so on. The Mantra Meditation can be seen to be more than just mere chants. Such meditation can be seen as poetic or even symbolic. For example in Avalokitesvara meditation, a type of mantra meditation, the words “Om Mani Padme hum” is said, which translates to “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus”. The poetic statement is best understood if it is split up. It is believed that the jewel represents wisdom and the lotus represents compassion. Therefore if one were to practice Avalokitesvara you should feel more connected to wisdom and compassion. So what is the benefit of Mantra meditation? Mantra meditation is an energy based exercise. It enables one to focus all of their energy on one or more key parts of the body, mind and soul. If done correctly, would lead to a heightened knowledge and control over those key parts. Therefore Mantra Meditation may best be described as a form of concentration that helps you to keep your mind at rest while maintaining a certain degree of focus on the necessary parts of the body. This is type of meditation where the technique requires practice. The longer one practices, the easier it would be to abandon needless thoughts and create a clear calm mind.
Trataka Meditation: The Trataka meditation technique is one which requires the meditator to adopt a steady gaze on one particular object. The advantage of Trataka is that it is an established yoga cleansing technique which requires dedicated practice to achieve an effectively high level of meditation. It has been adopted by many religious systems, including Christianity and Sufism.
Chakra Meditation: The chakras are a representation of an increased level of energy manifestation and development of self. The words Chakra can literally be translated to mean Wheel. There are seven chakras in the human body, each one represents a major nerve centre which branch off from the spinal cord. Each chakra serves each of the major organs of the body. Therefore the main aim of this type of meditation technique is to help individuals find and explore their chakras. This would in turn lead to an awakening these ‘wheels’ on a conscious level in a well rounded and integrated way.
Vipassana Meditation: To understand what this meditation involves, one must understand what Vipassana means. It is translated to mean ‘insight’. It involves the meditator to see things as they really are and this is achieved through a process of self observation. One would explore and find their nature by recognising the bad elements and consciously eliminating them from the system. The technique which is used in such meditation is free of rite and helped enhance wisdom, knowledge. It creates a platform which enables the individual to study different feelings in the body such as pain, cold and itching etc.
Raja Yoga meditation: This type of meditation is unique in that it takes the yogi (person who practices meditation) into a greatly ennobling experience and enables them to achieve a higher level of oneness. This meditation fills the yogi with immense joy and bliss which diverts the mind away from material pleasures of the flesh and reforms his bad habits. Raja Yogi enables the meditator to establish a relationship with God and so allows one to give up worldly pleasures. All energies are devoted to the spiritual awakening of fellow beings. This meditation technique carries with it a great number of benefits. However, it is important to remember that to attain the full benefits of it, it should be learnt thoroughly through the guidance of a Guru.
Meditation for Children: Have you ever wondered how to raise your children with a sense of focus in life complimented with well being? The answer lies in meditation. Meditation can do wonders for children and can help in alleviating stress, frustration, worry, anger, fear, restlessness and many other common symptoms which children suffer in their fast pace hectic lives.
Myths of Carefree Childhood: Many people are often mistaken to think that stress and anxiety only greets you when you become an adult. However, this is not necessarily true, children are affected by stress and worry too. Whilst they may not have the same responsibilities, obligations and cares as adults, this does not entail that they don’t have other problems of their own. It is therefore beneficial to encourage children to practice meditation which can in turn prevent common problems children face such as sleep problems, anxiety, panic attacks and prolonged stress Family meditation for children A question which both adults as well as children find difficult to find an answer to is, who are we? It is incredibly difficult to understand who we are and also accepting who we are. Meditation may provide a path in which we can find an answer to this and may allow one to accept themselves.
Meditation For Children Can Help With The Following Common Problems:
· Panic Attacks
· Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
· Sleeping problems
Benefits of Meditation for Children:
· Reduced Prolonged Stress
· Reduced Anxiety
· Reduction in the Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder
· A Calmer Sense of Being
· Ability to Sleep on a Regular Schedule and Sleep Well
· Reduced Aggression
· A Sense of Relaxation
· Enhanced Concentration
· Enhanced Ability to Focus
· Increased ability to be Creative
· A Clearer Memory
· Better Awareness
· Stress Management
· Increased Tranquillity
· A Healthier Mind and Body
· A Lower Risk of Possible Future Health Problems
Effects in the brain: It wasn’t until recently that researchers have been able to measure brain waves in meditation. It was thought that such measurements would help explain how such an ancient technique can minimise stress, enhance well being and improve one’s focus. Whilst the normal waves in the brain are of the Beta Type, further details regarding such waves are discussed below.
Before going into the science and relationship between meditation and the brain’s activities, it should be made clear that there are three different types of waves, namely alpha, beta and gamma. There are also two different nervous systems which operate in our bodies which are the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The most common brain waves in meditation are alpha waves. These waves calm the autonomic nervous system. Regular contemplative practice of this type has a reversal effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. In other words the sympathetic nervous system which usually dominates is overshadowed by the secondary parasympathetic system. Consequently this reduces blood pressure, heart rate and gradually lowers the number of stress related hormones such as cortisol in the body. An advantage of reducing cortisol is that when the hormone is present, it has shown to increase weight gain over a period of time. When in a meditative state, there is a presence of the gamma waves in the brain. Interestingly enough it was found that in experienced practitioners, gamma waves were found in abundance in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
The significance of this is that this area of the brain is associated with decreased anxiety, fear, positive emotions and a decrease in depressive feelings or symptoms. Another type of wave which operates in the brain during meditation is known as Theta waves. These waves help to open up the ‘third eye’. The significance of this eye is that the meditator is said to gain wisdom via vibrations received through this third eye. In more practical terms, theta waves enhance a deep sense of relaxation, creativity and enable the ability to memorise to be easier. A theta state can best be illustrated by giving an example of a person who is an experienced driver and is able to drive home without thinking about the tasks they are performing, this in turn leads to them not remembering the drive home from work. Therefore one would know when theta waves are operating as it would be present when one is undertaking a task which comes to you automatically. A final waves present in the brain during meditation is the slowest of them all known as the delta brain waves. These waves enable a practitioner to access their unconscious mind. The existence of delta waves explains why newly acquired skills can be best integrated and learnt through sleep. After all these waves operate when one is in a deep sleep and therefore allows one to be able to integrate these newly learned tasks.
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