Whether you are a beginner or an expert, this book will definitely come in handy. Meditation is rapidly becoming popular and as a result there is a plethora of information out there. This is why it is perfectly understandable if you are bewildered by the variety of choices and unsure what meditation style is right for you. Essentially, this book is an easy step by step guideline on how to meditate.
Meditation is the act of trying to train your thoughts to remain the present moment so as to experience true peace. When meditating you are truly focused on the present meaning you don’t think of the future or the past (for as long as meditation lasts you are freed from negative emotions and stress). The main objective of the meditative experience is to entirely shift the focus of the mind away from everyday frenzied thoughts such as family issues, career problems and finances. There are countless meditation techniques that can help you attain true peace and tranquility.
For a long time meditation was dismissed as something only reserved for yoga addicts; however, growing research has ascertained that meditation a wide array of benefits both to the mind and the body. Regularly investing a few minutes into meditation can have many fruitful results. Here is a brief but detailed overview of some important benefits of meditation;
Meditation promotes sound peaceful sleeps which helps the body to rest and rejuvenate
According to an exhaustive study done by the University of Minnesota, meditation helps get better sleep; uninterrupted and peaceful sleep. Meditation promotes better sleep by helping to break the endless cycle of obsessing, worrying and stressing about life problems. The ability to focus on the present helps relieve stress hence reducing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol which interferes with sleep.
Reliable scientific research shows that meditation is extremely helpful in treating depression
Numerous clinical studies have shown that meditation can help in treating depression particularly concentration meditation. It lessens depression by reducing depression symptoms such as lack of focus, rumination and negative thinking. While it can come in handy in treating depression, it should only be in done in conjunction with other traditional treatment methods.
Significantly improves the ability to focus, memory and productivity at work
Consistent meditation boosts a person’s ability to maintain attention and regulate emotional distractions. Meditation is arguably one of the simplest ways to make your mind work more effectively. When in mediation, you are completely relaxed and absolutely stress-free hence your mind can work optimally. The right side of the brain which is responsible for creating new ideas works actively when you meditate on a regular basis.
Regular Meditation reduces stress and anxiety significantly
When the body is exposed to stress, it responds with a ‘flight or fight’ response. This is characterized by the production of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine released from the adrenal glands. Since meditation is a relaxation technique, it is designed to elicit the opposite bodily reaction. By meditating daily, you are training your body to achieve a state of relaxation that prevents the body from producing stress hormones.
Meditation can improve your sex life
Reliable scientific research shows that one’s sex life can get a boost by exercising meditation. Apparently, meditation enhances connections and size of an important part of the brain called the ‘insula’. The insula is important in awareness. According to Dr Marsha Lucas Ph.D., a renowned neuropsychologist is Washington D.C strengthening the insula can potentially help women to have better orgasms.
Regular meditation balances the body’s systems
Meditation has gained millions of converts because it helps ease chronic pain, heart health, anxiety and resolves pregnancy problems. Many wonder how a simple relaxation technique can do this? The logic is simple, any condition caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation. This is according to cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD who is the founder of Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School.
Meditation and Pregnancy
Since meditation is a deep relaxation technique it can help an expectant mother to deal with the myriad of challenges that come with pregnancy such as stress, mood swings and high blood pressure. In pregnancy it not all about getting in touch with your inner self ; it is about focusing enough to reconcile the fact that you are carrying another life. Focusing on getting in touch with your inner self in pregnancy helps to heighten awareness of the many changes that are taking place in your body particularly hormonal changes. Additionally, meditation will also improve your mental focus and this will help you during labor. Since the last thing a woman needs during pregnancy is stress, tension and worry, mediation will help deal with daunting pregnancy challenges.
Simple but Effective Preparation Techniques that will help you have a deeper Meditation Experience
When it is time for meditation, you can’t simply start without prior planning. It is advisable to take a few minutes to prepare and center yourself so that your meditation session can be more quiet and pleasant. These are hacks will ensure you experience deep and relaxing meditation sessions more often.
Schedule a convenient time
Since meditation is essentially time for you to relax, it should only be done entirely at your convenience. Choose a time when there is no disturbance and you can enjoy and relax without any worry. The hours of sunset and sunrise, while nature transitions between day and night are particularly ideal for meditation. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of time. A beginner can start with a few minutes a day (10 to 20 minutes) then build up slowly.
Choose a quite place free from distractions; a quiet and uncluttered room with a flat surface is ideal
Just like with time, choose a place where there are disturbances. A peaceful and quiet surrounding can make your mediation experience more enjoyable and relaxing. This means a room with loud music and television on is not appropriate for mediation.
Ensure you keep a relatively empty stomach
The best time to meditate in the office or at home is before having a meal. This is because after eating you are likely to doze off while meditating. However, forcing yourself to meditate when you are hungry is unfruitful because you may end up thinking about food the entire time.
It is advisable to always start with a few warm-ups
A few warm-up exercises before you start meditating help improve circulation and remove restlessness and inertia therefore making your body feel lighter. The warm ups are extremely necessary because they enable you body to to focus on the task at hand for a longer time.
Showering right before meditation can help
Although this is not compulsory, the act of washing yourself is symbolic cleansing ritual that will leave you feeling and smelling fresh and clean. Simply being clean can have a positive effect on your mood as well as your mindset. Keep in mind that bathing is also quite relaxing. A nice hot bath will not only leave mentally relaxed but will also soak away muscular tension and leave you soothed.
Wear Comfortable attire
It is very important to be comfortable before meditation; dressing in loose fitting clothes that permit easy movement and are warm enough. The last thing you want is clothes that are too tight and cause disrupt your meditation experience.
Before meditation, take your time to do some slow and deep breathing
When I say ‘slow and deep’ I really mean it! Take around 10 very slow breaths to completely fill your abdomen and lungs. Take your time and release each breath at a natural pace and slowly you will feel yourself becoming more and more relaxed.
Gladden your mind!
The human brain is deeply wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. If you can generate stable feelings of contentment and safety right before your meditation then you are sending a message to your brain that there is no need to be restless. When the mind is content and joyful, it is naturally more introverted, quiet and together. Gladden your mind by ;
- Thinking of something you are grateful foe
- Remembering the joy of meditation (if you have experienced it in the past)
- If you are a religious, a short prayer will come in handy.
Another great way to prepare for meditation is create a relaxing atmosphere
Create a serene and relaxing environment in the place you intend to meditate. How about lighting a candle or three or burning a little incense or play some music and even dim the lights. Goodness…I’m already feeling relaxed just writing about it! Create a peaceful sanctuary for meditation.
To sum up, preparing for mediation should be a simple, fun, relaxing and enjoyable process for you. Any simple activity or rather inactivity that can help clear your mind or sooth your physical body will go a long way in helping you experience a blissful and deep meditation.