When it comes to being happier and healthier, there are so many different options to try. Everyone always wants a quick fix. Unfortunately, if you want lasting results, most things take time. You have to make them part of your routine.
We just talked about how you can Improve Your Health and Fitness with Yoga.
Since meditation and yoga can be used hand in hand for great results, I think it is important to talk about meditation so you can decide if it is the right option for you.
What is Meditation
The concept of meditation is pretty simple. It is thinking deeply or focusing on one’s mind for a period of time. All meditation is meant to relax and open the mind.
Like I said, pretty simple. You can do meditation whenever it is convenient for you and for as long as you want. If you are looking for something easier to add to your routine, meditation might be just the thing for you!
What are the Benefits of Meditation
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety
- Increase Self-Awareness
- Improve Creativity
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Increase Patience/Tolerance
- Improve Sleep
- Increase Attention
- Improve Memory
It is amazing the amount of benefits there are from simply taking the time to think deeply. And even better, anyone can do it!
Now maybe you are thinking this is worth a try. That is great if you are, but you are going to want to consider what type of meditation is right for you.
Here we are going to talk about 4 types of meditation, Guided, Transcendental, Metta (Love and Kindness), and Vipassana.
This type of reflection uses guided imagery. Hence the name. You form mental pictures that you find relaxing. This is usually lead by a guide or teacher and can involve your other senses as well to intensify your image.
To practice guided meditation, you want to sit in a quiet spot. Take a few deep breaths to relax and imagine something that make you happy and puts you at ease.
This could be a beach, a forest, or sitting at a campfire for example. You want to imagine yourself being calm, happy, and relaxed.
To help with this process, you want to add in your other senses too.
For example, if you are on a beach, you might imagine you can smell the water and feel the sand under your feet.
This technique is used to detach oneself from anxiety and to promote harmony. The goal is to feel at deep rest. It is accompanied with repeating a mantra.
To practice transcendental meditation, you want to sit comfortable with your feet on the ground and your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and take a few deeps breaths.
Then you will repeat your mantra in your mind. The mantra is commonly learned from a teacher and is used to aid in concentration.
If you realize you are having a thought, you simply return to repeating your mantra. You practice this for about 20 minutes twice a day.
When you are finishing your reflection, you want to slowly return to your day. That means, when your 20 minutes is up, start by wiggling your fingers and toes, then open your eyes and sit for a few minutes. Once you feel ready, you can go about your day.
Again, this is supposed to be relaxing and help reduce your anxiety, so you don’t want to just jump right back into your day. Take it slow.
Metta (Love & Kindness)
This type of reflection focuses on directing well wishes towards others You use specific words and phrases to evoke warm feelings.
To practice this, you will want to sit comfortably. Then you will repeat, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease”.
As you go you will use someone else in your phrasing. You simply replace the “I” with that person’s name. You will also picture the person as you wish them well.
It is suggested to use people that you find difficult too. This helps you to have better feelings towards those difficult people. To end your session, repeat “May all beings everywhere be happy”.
Also knows as insight meditation. The goal is to have a clear awareness of exactly what is happening as it is happening It is done by gradually increasing your awareness over time.
It takes years to reach this goal, or what they call reaching liberation. This is said to be the true nature of existence because it focuses on the deep interconnection between the mind and body.
To practice this, you want to start by finding a very quiet place. Sitting under a tree is highly recommended. You want to sit up straight with your legs crossed.
Make sure you are comfortable because you will be sitting for a bit.
You will then close your eyes and breath, focusing on the sensation of each breath. The rise and fall of your abdomen.
If your mind starts to wander, just bring it back to your breathing and the sensation. This usually lasts for about an hour.
You will begin by opening your eyes, fully sensing that you are opening them. Then slowly make your way to standing. Again with the full sensation/knowing that you are standing.
If you are considering giving meditation a chance, that is great. Even after reading all of this you still might not know where to start. That’s ok. Here is a book for beginners that can help get you started.
You will want to start by sitting or lying comfortably. Close your eyes. Breath naturally and focus on your breathing. Don’t try to speed it up or slow it down.
Focus on the rise and fall of your body. If your mind starts to wander, bring your focus back to breathing. You can start by doing this for a few minutes and gradually increase the time.
If you are someone that has any sleeping issues, this can be a great way to get a better night’s sleep. You use guided meditation to help and relax your mind. Instead of having a bunch of random thoughts, you focus on relaxing image, which helps your body unwind to fall asleep and sleep more peacefully.
Since I feel it is important to not just tell you what to do, I have been practicing mindfulness since I decided to write this post. I have been doing guided meditation at home to help with sleep.
I have to say, there is a noticeable difference. I have been able to fall asleep faster and I don’t wake up so much throughout the night.
Meditating can also be great for kids and it is easy for them to do. Children do not have the same preconceptions that adults do so it is easier for them to free their mind and use guided imagery.
It can have many of the same benefits for kids as it does adults. It can help kids learn to focus better, foster their self-esteem, boost their confidence, and help increase their self-control. Different exercised work best for different ages, but any child can practice the basics of mindfulness.
The Take Away
As you can see there are a lot of benefits to practicing meditation. From better sleep, to less anxiety, and more focus. Anyone at anytime can commit to trying it.
There are no requirements or even equipment necessary. All it takes is some of your time. To be honest, if a little bit of your time can help you achieve even half the benefits, isn’t it worth trying?