Among the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, Meditation, also known as ‘Dhyana’, comes seventh. In fact, the practice goes hand in hand with yoga.
Meditation requires people to be still, sometimes for hours at length, helping them train their minds and consciousness. When you talk about the practice, you imagine yourself sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, sitting quietly in one part of a room. But, that is not all. The practice is more than that. It involves a variety of techniques, which promote relaxation, life force or prana, compassion, and most importantly mindfulness.
If you have been meditating for quite a while now, then you have formed an amazing habit. For those of you who have not started yet, it’s about time that you go for it.
How meditation changes you?
When you begin meditating, after a few days, you will notice that you are delving deeper into your thoughts than before. It will no more be an automated thing like following the mind’s command. Instead you will be more aware and in control of your thoughts and emotions. Enhancing your ability to know about yourself, even if not completely. Thereby, paving way for emotional growth, flexibility of body and mind, and above all freedom.
Meditation is therefore, a highly recommended routine activity. You do not need to go supernova right from the start. Take small baby steps and as you continue, the practice will get better with time.
Here are some tips to help you implement the practice in your lives so that you can lead a better lifestyle than you are at present.
Tips to Get Started with Meditation
1. Meditate in morning or find a good time
When you meditate, you need to do it during a quiet time so that you can focus on your thoughts completely. After all, Meditation is all about letting go. Mornings and evenings are the most relaxing hours of the day. These times are also the most peaceful in the entire day. However, if you have limited options due to your busy lifestyle, you can always choose another time, which suits you best.
2. Find the right place to meditate
Like a quiet time, it is also important that you find a quiet place to practice. This will ensure that you do not get disturbed when doing the practice. A quiet and peaceful environment will give you the relaxation and full benefits of meditating.
3. Make a routine
Discipline is the first step to achieving success, whether at the workplace or in Meditation. So, make a good and achievable routine of when and how much you can meditate each day, so that you do not miss a session due to lack of time. Also, if you are going to travel, create a routine to meet its timings.
4. Focus on your breath
Breathing is an important component of Meditation. Focusing on your breath will make you more mindful of your health. You allow more oxygen into your lungs and blood when you inhale healthy air and exhale toxicity from within.
5. Sit in a comfortable posture
Your posture when meditating is crucial because it is your comfort that will make the experience enjoyable. Poor or wrong posture will give the wrong effects to your body and you will not reap any benefits from Meditation. You must remember to keep your spine erect and body relaxed to ensure that you go through a relaxed state of Meditation.
Benefits of Meditation
Yoga and Meditation share some common benefits. Here are five of the benefits you can reap from practicing Meditation.
1. Decreased Levels of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common issues that everyone faces today due to growing financial difficulties, the workload at the office, a busy lifestyle, and growing pollutants everywhere. Meditation is known as a stress reducing tool that triggers the area of the brain, which is responsible for controlling emotions. With time we lose our hold on our emotions as we start piling one problem over the other. Meditation aids us in organizing our thoughts and controlling our mind, while also giving us solutions to deal with them.
2. Improved Concentration and Mindfulness
Since Meditation involves focusing on your entire being, it promotes mindfulness. As we practice we become more aware of our thought process and our actions. This results in increased concentration levels and better decision-making skills, even as we age.
3. You are Happier
According to a study by a Neuroscientist, Sara Lazar, when you meditate, the Amygdala in the brain, which is responsible for controlling stress and anxiety, shrinks. When this reduction happens, automatically we too experience lesser bouts of anxiety, stress, and fear. Thus, it makes us a happier person.
4. You Age Slower
You will age, and no one can stop that. However, what can be done is- slow the process. Meditation slows the aging process on a cellular level for people who practice Meditation regularly. As you age, your DNA and protein caps can only divide up to a certain period after which it stops. Meditation helps you slow down this process and keeps you healthier and younger- looking even in your later years.
5. Boosted Immunity
When you meditate, you become more aware of your needs. Hence, you are going to eat right, sleep right, and build a fitness regime around your busy lifestyle. When you start doing so, your body will reciprocate better from all the love that it is receiving, which in turn makes your metabolism stronger. Thus, you are more immune to even small cold and flu which are prevalent during the start of each season, leave alone the big illnesses.
Now that you know the benefits of doing Meditation, here are some Meditation techniques that you can try out. Some of these techniques need the expert supervision of a teacher, so that you do not end up hurting yourself. Let us see what these techniques are and how are they good for us.
1. Transcendental Meditation
This Meditation technique requires the supervision of an expert or a teacher. Transcendental Meditation focuses on our state of enlightenment, so that you can yourself connect to your inner being. The Meditation is done as you chant a mantra and is one of the most common forms of Meditation worldwide.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
Like we discussed earlier, being mindful is one of the benefits of practicing Meditation. This practice aids you in paying attention to your thoughts, enabling you to make informed decisions about what is right and wrong, important and unnecessary. Mindful Meditation amalgamates your power of concentration and awareness to benefit you. This Meditation requires you to focus on certain elements during practice, like your breath, surroundings, a particular focus point, or your third eye. This form of Meditation does not require expert guidance and can be practiced at home on your own.
3. Breathing Meditation
Breathing Meditations, alike transcendental Meditation helps us attain our calm and fights the habit of getting distracted. The Meditation focuses on breathing after we have been able to ward off distractions and clear our minds. The practice can be done alone and does not require the assistance of a yoga teacher or expert.
4. Kundalini Meditation
Kundalini is an old-age method, which focuses on the awakening and rise of dormant energy in the body until you reach a state of enlightenment or an altered sense of consciousness. If done without supervision, the Meditation technique can prove harmful and even cause mental imbalance. Hence, it needs to be done under the supervision of qualified yoga teacher expert in yoga teacher training.
5. Heart Rhythm Meditation
This form and type of Meditation is the opposite of Kundalini Meditation. In this case, the dormant energy does not rise but settles down, so that you become more conscious. The Meditation technique focuses mostly on the heart and places importance on breathing so that you can experience oneness with your surrounding by grounding yourself. Again, it is recommended to only practice this technique under expert supervision.
Meditation helps in keeping our mind and body healthy. Meditation practices have existed since centuries and is still practiced by many till date. Science too has accepted the fact that Meditation can make considerable changes to the brain functions and structure, with results like boosted IQ levels and enhanced empathy and compassion.
You can follow one of the five Meditation techniques mentioned above, it will help you attain the benefits that will surpass your expectations. Also, if you stick to the tips, you can ensure to stay balanced and grounded.
Keep doing the practice and you will notice the difference after a certain period. Work will be much fun without any stress and you will be able to make wiser decisions. Whether it’s a matter of the mind or heart.