Meditating is a powerful form of relaxation, helping to quiet the mind and ease the stresses of daily life. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when and where meditation originated, considering it is a universal experience from every culture on earth. Tantric meditation was developed by South India tribes ten to fifteen thousand years ago, which exhibited a desire to understand and know the conscious mind. Tantric meditation has since become an integral part of Buddhism and Taoism. Forms of prayer by monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam are also ways of meditating.
Meditation is very beneficial, not only to your emotional well-being, but your physical well-being and overall health. Ideally, meditation should be done in a very quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Any nature setting is preferable, but the great thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere when you can learn to tune out your surroundings and quiet your mind.
Health Benefits of Meditating
Physically, meditation helps:
♦ Improve your immune system and increase energy levels
♦ Lower the pain and rate of tension headaches, joint and muscle problems, ulcers, and insomnia
♦ Lower high blood pressure and decrease the risks of heart disease
♦ Heighten mood and behavior by lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin levels
Emotionally, meditation helps:
♦ Reduce anxiety and stress
♦ Increase happiness and creativity
♦ Sharpen the mind to regain focus and intuition
♦ Improve stability over emotions and grants peace of mind
Gaining these benefits will not come by meditating every now and then. Regular practice and diligence are the keys to succeeding in any endeavor, especially those of the mind and the body.
There are many types of meditation you can practice, but if none of them work for you, invent your own way. Meditation comes down to your personal experience, and if it is not working, find a way for it to work for you. Remember, these meditation styles were invented by people just like you and me. They are not meant to be religiously adhered to, but serve more as guidelines to help you along.
Types of Meditation
♦ Guided Meditation – Mostly guided by a teacher or yogi, this form of meditation uses the senses such as sights, smells, sounds, and textures to form mental images of places or things that help to relax you.
♦ Qi Gong – Part of traditional Chinese medicine, Qi Gong (CHEE-gung) combines relaxation, meditation, physical movement and breathing to maintain and restore balance to your mind and body.
♦ Transcendental meditation – This form of meditation usually has a word, sound, or phrase repeated as a mantra to help achieve a state of inner peace without using concentration or effort.
♦ Tai Chi – A form of Chinese martial arts, Tai Chi is a series of postures executed in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.
♦ Yoga – Focused more on the moment as you move through a series of poses, yoga helps you obtain a more flexible body and calms your mind.