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Meditation is essentially the practice of making sacred time and space for yourself to be still and listen to your inner voice or your Higher Self, or the Holy Spirit, however you prefer to call the expression of your divinity.
This means quieting your mind and letting go of your conscious agenda. Simply be in the moment.
Recharge yourself by going within and connecting to your centre of power. Take at least 10-15 minutes to empty your mind. Take some deep breaths and deeply feel your energies throughout your whole body.
HealthandYoga.com states the following as concrete physical benefits of meditation:
- It lowers oxygen consumption.
- It decreases respiratory rate.
- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
- Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients.
- Leads to a deeper level of relaxation.
- Good for people with high blood pressure as it brings the B.P. to normal.
- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
- Decreases muscle tension (any pain due to tension) and headaches.
- Builds self-confidence.
- It increases serotonin production which influences mood and behaviour. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, obesity, insomnia and headaches.
- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
- Reduces pre- menstrual syndrome.
- Helps in post-operative healing.
- Enhances the immune system. Research has revealed that meditation increases activity of 'natural-killer cells', which kill bacteria and cancer cells.
Also reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress.
ProjectMeditation.org outlines some of the general benefits of meditation:
- Reduces anxiety attacks as it lowers the levels of blood lactate.
- Builds self confidence.
- Increases serotonin which influences moods and behaviour. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, headaches and insomnia.
- Enhances energy, strength and vigour.
- Helps keep blood pressure normal
- Reduces stress and tension
- Creates a state of deep relaxation and general feeling of wellbeing
- Increases concentration and strengthens the mind
- Helps reduce heart disease
- Helps with weight loss
More about what happens to the brain physically when we meditate at Crystalinks.com
Meditation as most people think of it is actually passive meditation, where one sits to perform techniques to calm the mind and access alpha or theta brainwaves which enhance wellbeing and promote better health (normal waking mode is beta).
Less well-known is active meditation, where one is physically engaged in normal daily activity while remaining able to access higher mind functions instead of responding immediately to the stimuli in our environment.
Don't know how to start meditating? Here are a collection of links that address how to get started on meditation (links open in a new window). Remember that there is no right or wrong way of meditating. If you feel refreshed after, it's a sign that it worked for you, to borrow from Roger Thomson, Ph.D., as quoted in Psychology Today on the benefits of meditation.
There are a variety of passive meditation techniques available online to suit one's preferences and personality. Some common meditation techniques are:
- Mantra meditation, involving speaking aloud or whispering a word or phrase as the focus of your thoughts
- Breathing meditation, focusing on the breath to clear and calm the mind
- Visualisation, focusing on images to relax mind and body deeply
Learn more about the different meditation techniques from the best of the resources on the Internet (links open in a new window):
A listing of various meditation techniques at HealthandYoga.com
A listing of general meditations at Freemeditations.com
A comprehensive guide to meditation and meditation techniques at LifePositive.com
One cannot heal if one is blocked in any way in any of the chakras (energy centres in the body). Especially significant in the healing process is the heart chakra, which should be open to allow any healing energies from the Universe, those praying for you, and from healers to fully enter your body. Here is an overview of chakras. Meanwhile, here is more detailed information about the heart chakra.
So to aid and add power to your healing process, spend at least 10 to 15 minutes a day in meditation on your heart chakra to help you become more fully open to healing, whether it comes through Western medicine, herbal medicine, traditional medicine, energetic healing, or simply prayers from others.
EXCELLENT HEART CHAKRA MEDITATIONS
Here is a list of excellent heart chakra meditations on the Web that Velanthas recommends (links open in a new window). These meditations are geared towards a more general audience and not limited to yoga practitioners.
- Yoga basics heart chakra meditation (for the physically oriented)
- Heart Chakra Energy Meditation (for those whose strong point is visualisation and would like a meditation that incorporates a religious element into it, Christian or otherwise)
- A meditation to expand the heart chakra (recommended only if you feel guided to do so by your intuition)
- A heart chakra meditation video via YouTube
- A heart chakra meditation video via Bebo
GENERAL CHAKRA MEDITATIONS
For those of you always on the go but still wanting to take a quick meditation, don't despair. Here are a few quick meditations you can do anywhere, any time for an instant pick-me-up. Ideal are those moments in modern life where you have to queue and or wait for your turn.
As suggested by Medtech, here are a few visualisation meditation techniques:
RAINBOW SHOWER. Stand erect and take a few deep breathes. Imagine that a shower of light is cascading down from high above. This light will pass straight through your body and auric space, cleansing and tensions and removing any pains as it does. This meditation is great fun to play with, sometimes a gentle shower is all that is required other times you may like to imagine the power and invigoration of a waterfall cascading of light cascading from the heavens!
As you visualize the shower, cycle through the spectral colors; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo then violet. Once you have completed the colors of the spectrum imagine a final shower of pure white light and then close the meditation after allowing a few moments for your senses to tune back to the here and now.
LOTUS CROWN. Sit comfortably with your spine erect and breath deeply and slowly for a few moments. Imagine a wonderful lotus flower of a thousand petals all bathed in golden light opening atop your head. As the petals open visualize a shaft of the purist light filter into you from the heavens. Allow it to fill your being and beyond, light shinning out from every pore.
Enjoy any sensations that come for a few minutes before you gently close the lotus petals softly above you. Take your time to come back to the present moment before going about your day.
If you feel a little light headed after this exercise you may like to follow it with the golden routes meditation and you should also have a drink of water.
GOLDEN LOTUS. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your spine erect. Begin breathing a little deeper than you usually do and imagine that roots of golden light are growing out through the bottom of your feet into the earth beneath. From the base of your spine imagine that another stronger root grows ever deeper into the earth, firmly holding you in place.
Use your creative visualization to see these golden routes spread deep into the earth. Now imagine that you are drawing up vital energies from the planet. Absorbing the goodness into your body like a plant.
Spend a few minutes enjoying any sensations that come to you before you retract your root and mentally thank the earth for its gift. Bring your awareness back to the present moment before you continue with your day.
Richard Ebbs shares a short and simple breath meditation:
Choose a posture you feel comfortable with.
Then relax the body by concentrating on each part in turn, allowing the stress in that area to fall away. (See Basic Relaxation). Spend two to five minutes on this.
Then when you're ready concentrate on the breath, and simply watch it come and go. Allow your breathing to become regular and a little deeper, but don't force anything. Breathing in through the nose and out through the nose is best, although breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is fine too if this is what you prefer.
If your mind wanders off in any direction, gently bring it back to an awareness of each breath you take. Spend a few minutes just 'watching' the air going into your nose, and then through the nose or mouth. Try to maintain this simple awareness.
Breath comes in, and breath goes out.
Now let your attention focus on the sensations you can feel at the end of your nose or your lips as the air passes through on it's way in and out. Relax. Simply watch.
When you are ready, come out of the meditation by gradually becoming aware of your surroundings, and open your eyes. Stretch out. If it helps, put your hands on the floor for a short time as a way of 'coming back to earth'. (See Opening And Closing A Meditation)
Centerpointe.com's HoloSync brainwave entrainment technology
Neurotunes.org ~ a source for free online streams of brain training soundtracks/music