What is Meditation? Benefits and Types

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Meditation, its benefits and types

Meditation

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

It isn’t about becoming a different person or a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to be present, fully engaged with whatever we are doing in that particular moment.

Benefits of Meditation

As an individual becomes regular with practicing meditation, there is a visible increase in joy, peace, and enthusiasm. This happens because of the increased life force energy in the body.

On the physical level:

  • lowers high blood pressure
  • lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • decreases tension-related pain (headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle, and joint problems)
  • increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
  • strengthens the immune system
  • increases energy levels

On the mental level:

  • anxiety decreases
  • emotional stability improves
  • creativity increases
  • happiness increases
  • intuition develops
  • gain clarity and peace of mind
  • mental agility increases
  • relaxes the mind
  • Better memory and retention

Types of Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation

This can be instrumental in helping us understand how our minds work. This self-knowledge serves as a foundation for overcoming dissatisfaction, impatience, intolerance and many of the other habits that keep us from living fuller, happier lives.

There are several steps to follow if you want to become skilled at this technique. These include:

  • Acknowledging your reality i.e. beginning with being mindful of your body and thoughts;
  • Observing your mind and recognizing each thought that arises without judging or manipulating it;
  • Coming back to the object of meditation such as the breath; and
  • Learning to rest in and appreciate the present moment.

Focused Meditation

This can be a useful tool for people who want to try using meditation for stress relief. This style allows you to focus your attention on an object, sound, or sensation rather than trying to achieve a clear mind without a specific focal point.

Movement Meditation

This is a meditative state – a shift of consciousness – while doing simple movements. It is a way of calming the mind and creating awareness. This type is typically associated with stillness, lying or sitting in a comfortable posture with the focus on the breath. Yet, movement can also provide a path to contemplation.

While flowing movement from one yoga asana to another can be moving meditation. Even dance movements can form its foundation.

Mantra Meditation

This is prominent in many teachings, including Hindu and Buddhist traditions as this type of meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “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 and this allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness.

Some people enjoy this because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath. This is also a good practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition.

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