Meditation is an ancient practice of connecting with soul and experience calmness and tranquility. Meditation is about consciousness, creating inner awareness, and discovering peace within.
Today, among various kinds of stress and competition, meditating is important and therefore gaining much popularity as well. There are many ways of doing it, just you need to do it with perfection to be your great help.
Types of meditation
Every practice needs different skills and mindset. Here we tell you which meditation suits you and your purpose. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of meditation and how to get started.
1. Mindfulness meditation.
This finds its origin in Buddhist teachings and has become a popular technique for meditation in the west. With this, you attend to your thoughts. You stop judging or don’t get negatively involved by them. You also focus on your breath as you observe your thoughts and feelings.
This is best for those who want to self-practice.
2. Focused meditation.
This is to practice concentrating using the five senses. People may use a stringed-bead, listen to a song, or stare at a light source for better focus. One must stop his or her mind wandering away while practicing to focus.
3. Spiritual meditation.
This is used mainly in eastern religions like Daoism and Hinduism and also in Christian faith. It is like praying and reflecting with silence and seeking a better connection with God and the cosmos.
Essential oils can heighten spiritual experience. Popular options include Frankincense oil, Myrrh oil, Sage oil, Delta 8 THC oil, Cedar oil, Sandalwood oil and Palo santo oil.
This can be practiced at home or in places of worship. This helps in spiritual growth.
4. Movement meditation.
Many may think this is just yoga, but it could be any kind of movement like gardening, walking through woods, and any gentle form of motion. It is a kind of meditation where your motion guides you. Movement meditation is best for people who find peace doing action.
5. Mantra meditation.
You will find this practice prominent among many regions like Hinduism and Buddhism. This type of meditation depends on repetitive sounds to concentrate and feel calm. It can be the use of sound, word, phrase, or the most popular chanting of “Om”.
6. Transcendental meditation.
This is the most scientifically studied meditation and very popular across the world. This is a customized practice with specifications for the practicing person.
The simplest thing, to begin with, is to sit quietly and focus. You can begin with a short duration and keep extending the timing.
Benefits of meditation
There are many supporting shreds of evidence of meditation.
Lower blood pressure
Those who follow a meditation routine can experience the benefits mentioned.
Whatever be your reason to meditate, you will experience the benefits. Maybe you are looking for mental peace, lower your stress, psychological calmness, spiritual growth, find comfort in stillness or motion, there is a mediation practice for you. You may try within your comfort zone or practice something outside of it. With a little exploration, you will know what suits you best.
Meditation is to focus. It cannot be forced. This is a practice that also encourages self-discipline in you. With regular practice, this will help you sustain in life’s challenges, and make the process enjoyable as well.
There are many different types of meditation, open yourself with the one that motivates you to find yourself. It is very essential to stay connected with yourself when there is every scope to lose yourself in the chaos around.
When we go through busy phases of life (or if life feels chronically consuming for us), our intentions to practice mindfulness and meditation frequently get put on hold. When our time feels limited as it stands, taking a moment’s pause seems like the last thing we can afford. However, when life feels all-consuming, mindful step-backs tend to be precisely what we need and truly long for.
Mindfulness and meditation frequently get lumped together; however, the two are not quite the same. For busy people in particular, understanding the difference can break the illusion that we don’t have the time we need to practice mindfulness.
Though meditation typically entails longer steps away from the world around us, mindfulness is something available regardless of the length of time we can set aside for stillness. As mindfulness is simply the art of paying non-judgmental, compassionate attention in any moment, the time required for practice is as flexible as water.
As we explore simple mindfulness techniques in the midst of our busy days, we don’t only find a moment’s respite from our to-do list. In addition, we gain focus, energy, and clarity that supports us in effectively managing the demands of life.
The techniques listed here are simple practices that can be interwoven into your day from morning to night. For each of us, our daily schedules look different and so what will appeal to us varies. You might explore any number of these techniques in a given day, seeing where mindfulness helps you to rest, to reset, and to flourish.
We can begin our daily mindfulness practice during those first few moments of transition from sleep to wakefulness. Upon waking, see if you can mindfully tune into the world around you rather than reaching for your phone or any other early morning distraction. Notice the sounds of the wind, rain, or birds beyond your window, the gentle rhythm of the breath, and the safety and support of the material world beneath and around you. By tuning in mindfully to our first moments of the day, we set the stage for deeper presence and awareness as we move forward.
Our daily interactions with food are wonderful opportunities for mindfulness practice that doesn’t require us to carve out ‘special’ time. Mindful eating is simply the art of being entirely present with our food, our mind, and our bodies – before and as we consume each meal. Consider beginning a mindful eating practice at breakfast by noting:
Hunger cues within the body,
How your food engages all five senses,
The speed of your consumption,
The felt sensation of food as it moves through the body,
Any distractions that might be present for you, and
Your mental and emotional state as you eat.
As we become more aware of the way in which we eat, self-awareness begins to deepen. Ensure that you are practicing this compassionately and non-judgmentally as food is a complex topic for many of us. Overtime, this practice helps us to become more intimately attuned to our bodies, fueling our willingness to nourish our bodies in ways that support us.
Another daily activity that even the busiest of people can bring mindfulness to is walking. As you walk from home to the bus or from your lunch break back to the office, pay attention to both the sensation of your feet hitting the earth and to the world around you. As we walk in this way, we become more attuned to the natural world, noticing the subtleties that we often overlook. From spring buds on bare branches to kind acts of strangers, little moments are witnessed and appreciated through mindful awareness.
Two-Minute Breathing Break
While a two-minute breathing break does require us to set a bit of time aside, we can all find two minutes in our day (at least once) to take a moment’s pause. To practice, set a timer for two minutes, close your eyes, and begin to tune into the natural rhythm of your breath. Simply notice each inhalation and each exhalation, seeing where it might be deepened for greater relaxation. When the timer rings, take your time to come back, extending the practice for as long as you like. Notice how the body and mind may have shifted.
Another practice that requires nothing extra of us, mindful listening helps us to become more present during our exchanges with others. While someone is speaking, whether friend, colleague, partner, or child, self-inquire:
Can I be more present here?
Can I listen without pre-formulating my response?
This is also a wonderful practice for difficult discussions. As we increase our willingness to truly hear another out, the response tends to be the same. We enhance our ability to find common ground where before we may have been too caught up in our own perspective.
Another practice for midday breaks, mindful stretching encourages us to first become aware of the physical tension we hold in the body and to then move through it. Unconsciously, we often held tension in our shoulders, our hips, the belly, and various other parts unique to our personal makeup.
To explore mindful stretching, begin either seated or lying down. Take a moment to scan the body, letting your intuition guide you to where movement, release, or a deep stretch is needed. Spend as long as you’d like to with this practice, moving the body in ways that feel safe, comfortable, and restorative.
Five-Minute Tune In
When life is busy, both mind and emotions often become heavy, anxious, or cluttered (among all other intricate thoughts and feelings we might experience). A five-minute tune in is a great practice to explore when we feel an uncomfortable thought or feeling rising to our awareness. When this occurs, we can set a timer for five minutes (or longer), close our eyes, and move through the following:
Begin by settling through the breath, noting the subtle sensations of each inhalation and each exhalation.
Once grounded, see if you can become aware of your thoughts and feelings as an observer. Rather than becoming consumed by their stories, can you note them as separate energy bodies that do not define you?
With each exhalation, see if you can soften the mind a little bit further. Ensure to practice non-judgment and compassion towards whatever arises.
When the timer goes off, offer yourself a silent thanks for taking this self-care timeout. When you are ready, open your eyes.
Evening Meal Gratitude Practice
Any meal is a great moment for gratitude practice; however, dinner time offers us the chance to reflect upon all we’ve been blessed with throughout the day. Whether eating on your own, with family, or with friends, see if you can invite a moment of silence to contemplate all you have to be thankful for. This helps to shift the mind from perceiving lack to acknowledging abundance, fueling our sense of peace and contentment.
If you enjoy writing or are open to exploring it, mindful journaling is a practice that can be explored for anywhere from a few minutes to many. It offers a chance to step out of the hamster wheel of thoughts we often find ourselves caught up in, expressing what might be weighing heavily on us through the written word. You can free flow during mindful journaling or you can use prompts such as:
If I had one extra hour today, how would I nurture myself with it?
What does ‘balance’ look like? How can I embody more of it (if needed)?
In this moment, I feel grateful for…
Bedtime Body Scan
Last but certainly not least, mindfulness can be interwoven with our last moments of wakefulness through a simple bedtime body scan. Beginning at the head, slowly draw your attention through the entire body, witnessing and gently softening any areas of contraction or tension where it is comfortable to do so. You might also invite your breath into each area you pass, deepening the energetic reach of this life force. Continue to the toes and then hold your entire body in soft, loving awareness. And, if you experience stress or ruminating thoughts before bed, you might deepen your bedtime practice by exploring guided meditations for sleep that enhance relaxation and release.
Above all, the most effective mindfulness techniques are the ones that work for you. We all have varying needs, preferences, and schedules and so our daily practices should reflect that. Whatever you choose to explore, remember that mindfulness is a moment to moment practice. Without setting much (if any) extra time aside, we can enhance our sense of self-awareness, peace, release, and contentment, recharging ourselves for the life that rests ahead.
This is a very common problem. You make a routine for meditation and allot some time for meditating. However, despite your trying your level best, you find that on a one particular day or, for some days in succession, you are not able to meditate.
Focus, simply is not there. You feel as if this whole thing is fake. Meditation is not for you. No matter, how sincerely you are trying, you are just not able to focus. Time just fly away in that particular slot. You start by focusing on you breathing and, after 15-20 minutes, you end while thinking about that nefarious fellow in your office who is hell bent on creating as much problem in your life as humanely possible. Or you end up thinking about that marvelous shirt you wanted to buy in the Mall during your weekend trip but could not as it was for display only !
In nutshell, your mind go into the whirlwind of desires during that short dedicated span of meditation. And you are nuts.
So what to do in this situation?
Nothing. The very fact that you are realizing that it is difficult to focus during meditation is itself a positive step in the right direction. You set aside some portion of time in your daily routine for meditation, you sit peacefully during that time for meditation and you tried in a genuine way to meditate. This itself is enough. Even if the end result was not as satisfactory as you wanted. The time that you spent trying to meditate is not all lost. Believe me. When you realize that your mind keeps wandering during meditation, you actually enhance your knowledge about the nature of your monkey mind.
The most difficult thing is to be aware of this wandering of the mind. Once we get involved in the thought process, we give fuel to this wandering. But as soon as you realize this wandering, you gently come back to the very process of meditation. Then you again got involved in the wandering. Then again you realize and come back. And it goes on.
Slowly slowly, as you keep trying, you deepen your practice. You start choosing not to get involved in the thought process. And this involvement is the food of the mind. Once , the supply of this food is stopped, the mind starts following your command.
It appears difficult in the beginning. However, as you keep trying, it become very easy. Eventually.
The key is to not get discouraged. When you are working on your mind, you are working on the most difficult beast in the world. It is extremely difficult to tame it. But you can tame it, provided you don’t get frustrated. Provided, you keep learning its nature.
In the long run, the very act of sitting daily for meditation, even if the same does not appear to have any effect on your inner being, will bring remarkable change in you. Just wait and watch.
The role of meditation in promoting improved mental health has been recognized for centuries. As more and more medical studies seem to provide concrete, irrefutable links between good mental health and meditation, however, its positives effects are becoming more mainstream and more widely recognized.
If you think that your own mental health could be improved through meditation then you might be right. If you want to see for yourself, then here are 5 simple ways that meditation could improve your mental health.
There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that meditation can help to reduce anxiety and stress, including from studies at Harvard University. However, in order to gain these benefits, you have to meditate. We recommend setting aside at least 10 minutes a day to meditate, and with this practice, you will inevitably see the benefits to your mood and well-being. There are apps available that can track your practice, such as Headspace.
Listen to guided meditation
Meditation provides a space to think and to listen to your body. Some issues that affect your mental health can have underlying, physical symptoms. But let’s face it, how many of us have time to listen to the signs and warnings our bodies provide us that something is going wrong? Meditation reverses this trend – it allows a period of reflection, where you can actually listen to your body and to your mind. One way of improving your mental health through meditation is to listen to guided meditation tapes of YouTube videos, which can provide a sense of calm. Someone who is well known on YouTube is Jason Stephenson. Check out his guided meditations.
Learn from the best
In today’s hectic lifestyles, with time sapping chores and rigid schedules it can be hard to simply find time to relax – and that is not good news for your overall mental health. Finding time to meditate however can really help in this area too. However, perhaps even more helpful is to rely on an expert to teach you how to meditate to reduce anxiety. One example is Andy Puddicombe, who is the founder of Headspace and former Buddhist Monk, who has written a number of books and created a number of platforms to help you to learn from the best.
Combine with Yoga
If you suffer from long-term illness then this can often have a detrimental effect on your mental health. Meditation can be an underutilized tool in combating a number of illnesses, both long and short-term. It is particularly effective in managing illnesses that are worsened by stress. ‘Meditation’, of course, can mean a number of things, but by meditation, most of us will mean sitting quietly and contemplating. Yoga, however, is also a form of meditation, and one that, if combined with quiet contemplation, will also aid anxiety, as it provides another way of practicing mindfulness, and will also give you some physical outlet, further helping with your anxiety.
Of course, meditation should not be seen as – and definitely is not – a replacement for traditional treatments for illness. It is a good idea to consider consulting with your physician before you begin a program of meditation.
Try mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is where mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy combine. It involves interrogating your thoughts in order to change your thought process, and it could be very effective in treating anxiety, as it is more the sum of its parts and not merely a combination of mindfulness and CBT. However, if it is to work, you need to stick to it, as practice is the key.
One of the great things about using meditation to help improve your mental health is the fact that is so easy! 10-minute windows of meditation in the day can really work wonders, making it easy to fit into busy schedules. There is little – if actually any – equipment really required.
Marcus regularly blogs at psysci, a psychology, science blog that examines the latest research and explains how findings can impact and improve people’s lives.
Why Patients with High Blood Pressure Should Practice Meditation
Meditation is an ancient practice from the Buddhist tradition in which an individual tries to focus on peaceful thoughts and relax their mind. Despite the high-stress environment many people live in today, only about 8 percent of Americans take part in some type of meditation.
However, some research points to the fact that stress may impact heart disease, which is a major cause of death worldwide. For example, psycho-social therapies have been found to prevent secondary heart attacks.
“When stress is excessive, it can contribute to everything from high blood pressure, also called hypertension, to asthma to ulcers to irritable bowel syndrome,” explained Ernesto L. Schiffrin, M.D., Ph.D., physician-in-chief at Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital.
If a high level of stress leads to hypertension, would stress reduction via meditation help to treat the condition? Keep reading to find out!
American Heart Association Found Meditation May Decrease Blood Pressure
In September 2017, a group of heart disease experts and a neuroscientist from the American Heart Association reviewed past research on several typical types of sitting meditation and their impact on heart disease risk factors including blood pressure.
The researchers looked at the following types of meditation:
Raja Yoga, Mindful Meditation
The findings show that all of these types of meditation decreased anxiety and stress while improving sleep. The researchers also discovered that meditation may have led to lower blood pressure. However, it is difficult to tell exactly how much it would decrease blood pressure in a particular patient.
Hypertension Expert from Massachusetts General Hospital Prescribes Meditation
Randy Zusman, director of the hypertension program at Massachusetts General Hospital, spent much of his career following the traditional route of writing medication prescriptions for patients with high blood pressure.
However, after taking part in a three-month study, he began prescribing meditation to his patients as well as recommending lifestyle changes.
In this study, patients treated for high blood pressure with medication were also enrolled in a relaxation response training program. These particular patients were taking medicine and following recommendations prior to the study, but their blood pressure was still sky high.
The results from the study showed that around 40 out of 60 patients taking part in the meditation program had reduced blood pressure levels and were able to change the dosage of some of their medications.
Once again, research showed that meditation and relaxation programs do result in lower blood pressure.
Stress Management and Meditation
Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Kent State University, and Rice University published a paper in which they discussed how stress-management therapies have been found to successfully reduce blood pressure levels.
Despite this, stress-management treatments have not been widely implemented in the medical field partially due to the lack of healthcare experts who can provide stress management education to patients with high blood pressure.
This is where meditation comes in.
Meditation can be practiced independently and may not have the same mental health stigma associated with stress management techniques. Transcendental meditation is one type that has been widely studied as a type of therapy for high blood pressure.
One study discussed in the paper found that both men and women who underwent transcendental meditation gained significant reductions in blood pressure levels after three months.
Why Meditation is Worthwhile
These are just a few reputable sources that agree that meditation can lower blood pressure levels among many individuals.
But why would you take part in meditation when your doctor only told you to take your medicine?
If you are able to reduce your blood pressure through meditation and other home remedies, you may eventually require a lower dosage or even be able to stop taking medication altogether, depending on your doctor’s advice.
Why would you prefer to stop taking medication?
There are many side effects that blood pressure medication brings. You may feel dizzy, drowsy, tired, or nauseous. Other side effects include increased sensitivity to the cold, headaches and weight changes.
Another negative aspect of taking blood pressure medication is the prohibitive cost and once you add visits with a cardiologist and medical tests, the price grows much too high.
As such, taking part in meditation to reduce your blood pressure is a much simpler measure. All you’ll need to do is look up a video online describing a form of meditation or possibly take a meditation class at your local YMCA.
Then you can find yourself a quiet space, meditate, and watch your blood pressure drop.
About the author :
Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, attorney, interior decorator, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path Essential Oils, a naturopathic wellness company that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living.
Someone asked me this question. Perhaps the person who asked this question is trying to do a survey to collect data about this question. That is to know how many people attain a deep state of meditation or fall into a state of sleep in the presence of a meditation sound.
In Meditation practice, there have been many sounds like bells, soothing background music, the natural sound of flowing water, cold breeze, ocean waves etc which have been found very useful in the meditation practices the world over.
In my opinion, meditation sounds acts as a helpful tool in creating an environment of ease and comfort while meditating. There has been not much use of these sounds in the actual meditation practice (except when we are talking about the specialized sounds – the Mantras which have an exclusive meditation technique dedicated to them).
During the guided meditation practice (which nothing but a general name given to step by step meditation instructions given to a group or individual by a guide/master/teacher) the use of meditation sound (particularly a soothing background music) is very common. The light background music during meditation helps the practitioners in maintaining a focus on the instructions by decreasing the possibilities of distractions. The background sounds helps in creating a unique atmosphere of attentiveness where every other sound gets receded in the background.
As regards the sleep induction when a meditation sound is played, it is very much possible to fall into sleep. However, the likelihood of the same is very remote and only the absolute beginners in meditation can get affected by it. Further, those meditation practices which require lying down (with eyes closed) may lead to practitioner fall into sleep in the background of a soothing sound. However, again, it depends upon the temperament (and to some extent experience ) of the practitioner that he or she will fall into sleep or not.
So in my opinion, it would be too unrealistic to come to any definite conclusions regarding role of meditation sounds in the matter of meditation or sleep. In majority of cases, meditation sounds helps in the practice than the other way around.