Meditation ‘5W1H’: Everything you need to know
I was introduced to meditation, 9 years back, by my yoga trainer. Ten minutes of meditation after a tiring yoga session went more like a nap time. So little did I know when my instructor asked me to visualize walking on a beach..
Today, being a regular practitioner of meditation, I believe meditation is as important as oxygen and food, for health and well-being.
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As a beginner or intermediate meditator, you may have many questions about the practice. Whether you are doing meditation for stress relief or spiritual enlightenment, you will likely find some interesting information here.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the process of settling our mind in the present moment so that we are fully engaged with whatever we are doing at that moment, and consequently, it can apply to all aspects of our lives. For example, when we eat meditatively, we are fully present with eating, instead of eating with our mouth and planning the rest of our day with our minds.
People who meditate regularly tend to sleep better, handle the ups and downs of daily life with more clarity and ease and relate to others with more compassion and warmth.
Who discovered meditation?
In the Indus Valley, archaeologists discovered evidence of meditation in wall art dating from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. The images depict people sitting in what many of us would recognize as meditation postures. In other words, the figures sat on the ground with crossed legs, hands resting on their knees, and their eyes slightly narrowed but not completely closed. There are also descriptions of meditation techniques found in Indian scriptures dating back around 3,000 years ago.
As the centuries passed, most of the world’s great religions adopted the basic concepts of meditation. Though the methods may vary from culture to culture, people across the globe believe meditation is an essential cornerstone of spiritual development.
Why meditation is the best?
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”
He replied, “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”
There are literally hundreds of commonly experienced and scientifically validated benefits of meditation.
Meditation keeps you stress-free: Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.
Take a deep breath.. Let out all the stress..
When you meditate, you may clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to negative emotions and worries, and gain better control over your feelings and behavior. It will help increase your patience and tolerance. Also to control or eliminate fear, loneliness, and depression and develop the ability to tackle any challenge, leading to more productive and accomplishing lives.
Regular meditation really can slow aging — It significantly increases melatonin and DHEA and decreases cortisol, which has a significant impact on slowing the aging process down.
Meditation is like multivitamins for your brain. Good to take it every day.
When you start meditating, the grey matter concentration increases in areas of your brain involved in learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self and having perspective.
Grey matter contains most of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies. It includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making, and self-control.
Which technique to follow?
Beginners can follow a simple breathing meditation, by watching your breath and observing the sensations of breathing. Or mindfulness meditation which allows you to be fully present in the moment, bringing your attention to the sensations within your body.
Also guided meditations, which can be experienced in a class with the help of a teacher who will guide you through the entire process, or by listening to a guided recording. Try it now!
When and where?
You can meditate at any time. The exact best time to meditate depends on your lifestyle, your job and the various tasks you are dedicated to every day. At sunrise, early in the morning is usually an ideal time to meditate. I meditate twice a day. Once in the morning, to start my daily routine in a comfortable way, and once in the evening, to relax after having completed a busy day.
And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.
How to meditate?
Anyone can practice meditation. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.
Choose a peaceful environment. Sit comfortably, on a chair or cushion. Close your eyes and focus on your breath and the movement of your body with each breath. Don’t make a conscious effort to change your breathing patterns, just breathe normally. Don’t worry if your mind starts to wander — you are a beginner and, like anything, becoming good at meditation takes practice. Just make an effort to refocus your mind on your breathing and try to think of nothing else.
To experience the benefits of meditation, regular practice is necessary, initially for 5 to 10 minutes a day. Once imbibed into the daily routine, meditation becomes the best part of your day!
If you are thinking “Who has the time for it?” Then please consider this: There are 1440 minutes in a day. How many do you waste in front of TV or online? That’s how many minutes you can devote to meditation.
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Happy meditating :)