What is meditation?
Meditation uses various techniques to train the mind in order to achieve one or multiple goals including mental calmness, relaxation, focused awareness, increased energy, or concentration – to name only a very few.
These techniques promote ultimate relaxation and calm in the meditator. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by multiple cultures and almost every major religion. Though some meditate because they enjoy it and the benefits of calm relaxation, others use it for very specific reasons.
During meditation some parts of the brain become more active while others become less active or are even temporarily shut down. This has recently been discovered by modern technology such as MRI’s (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography). This brain activity possesses some of the same benefits as the types of brain activity received during sleep. The brain is able to do a type of reboot and reset itself, making it better able to cope with stress.
There are countless benefits related to practicing meditation including mentally (psychologically), physically and even spiritually. We will explore more of these in a few minutes. Meditation can have multiple meanings, and techniques depending on who you ask, but generally all types of meditation have an overall common goal and benefits the individual in a healthy positive way.
How to meditate:
As mentioned above there are many techniques used to induce a meditative state. Some require a quiet calm relaxing space, while others prefer the use of music, using a mantra (repeating a word or sound), or guided meditation. Guided meditation and music have become increasingly popular meditation techniques in the last few years.
ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a type of guided meditation that results in either a very relaxing state or even a tingling sensation radiating from the head throughout the rest of the body. ASMR uses triggers or sounds that have an effect on the body’s central nervous system. Typically these are soft, repetitive and monotonous sounds. If you’re interested in using ASMR for meditation, visit our ASMR page for more information.
The effects of meditation can be very similar to self-hypnotization. Most people have experienced driving down the highway and realizing that at some point they turned on their autopilot and don’t quite remember how they ended up where they are. The familiar and repetitive sights and sounds send them into a form of self-hypnosis. These same techniques are used for meditation, which is actually very similar to self-hypnosis. This is what makes both music and guided meditation great techniques for meditating.
Music that has been specifically made to facilitate meditation includes beats and tones that have a particular effect on the mind and body. Most users find that using music and guided meditation helps them to relax and slip into a meditative state much more quickly than silence alone. The following is a list of techniques and tips to aid both beginners and seasoned meditators in enjoying the deepest most relaxing meditation sessions possible.
• Meditate in a clean quiet place, where you aren’t likely to be interrupted.
• Use headphones while listening to music to help drown out other noises.
• Dress comfortably
• Set aside a specific time to meditate daily and incorporate it into your daily routine.
• Use visualization techniques, such as imagining peaceful serene surroundings.
• Start by relaxing your feet, then move up to the body to the crown of your head relaxing one body part at a time slowly, while relaxing the mind as well.
• Don’t get discouraged! Like most things, the more you meditate the easier it will become.
• If something isn’t working in your meditation routine, try something different.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The benefits of mediation are nearly endless. Stress relief is one of the major ones. From lifestyles like C.E.O.’s to stay at home moms, just about everyone has some type of stress in their lives and can benefit from meditation. Virtually all Martial Arts use some form of meditation because it greatly improves one’s ability to learn a new skill and increase focus. Many religions have practiced meditation for spiritual peace and guidance. There are also health benefits to meditating as well.
A Harvard Medical School study actually proved that those who practice meditation actually have more disease-fighting genes activated, including those that fight high blood pressure, infertility, and pain. They also found that in as little as two months of daily meditation there was an increase in these genes in individuals who had not previously meditated or did any relaxing techniques. There are so many benefits that almost everyone can profit from meditating.