Many people spend an awful lot of time (and money) taking care of their bodies, through exercising and eating well, but too few people prioritize taking the same care of their Mind.
While the benefits of Meditation has been known by Yogis for thousands of years, an ever increasing body of scientific research now supports the health benefits of meditation. Plus, not only is meditation free, it is also easy to learn and can be practiced almost anywhere, without the need for expensive equipment.
“You should meditate for 20 minutes every day, unless you’re really busy and then you should meditate for 40”
However, which Meditation is right for you!
Here is a short overview of a few of the most popular types, and I encourage you to the select one that feels right for you and begin incorporating meditation into your daily lifestyle
1. Mindfulness comes from the Buddhist tradition. It is the most popular form of meditation in the West and is based on the practice of being ‘mindful’, namely having an increased awareness of the present moment. During the meditation, people are encouraged to become aware of the present moment, for example by focusing solely on the flow of their breath, and to accept any thoughts that come into their mind during practice – without any judgment on these thoughts and with total detachment from each thought. Just letting the mind ‘be’.
2. Transcendental Meditation (TM) comes originally from the Hindu tradition. During practice you sit with your back straight, either on a chair or on the floor, and repeat a Mantra, a ‘sacred’ sound such as a word or sound that has no meaning (the value is simply the sound). The mantra is repeated in one’s mind, and repeatedly effortlessly, with the mind focusing on the Mantra with the goal of narrowing ones conscious awareness and eliminating all thoughts and chatter from the Mind. .
3. Guided meditation (or also called Guided Imagery or Guided Visualization) is a form of meditation that does not come from a religious tradition. It involves focusing your mind upon an illusory image, often done while listening to either a person or a recording of what it is you are meant to imagine, for example taking a long leisurely walk to a deserted beach. As you may have experienced just by reading those words, it can have a profound effect on your senses, often leading a greater state of relaxation – which is one of its primary purposes.
4. Chakra balancing meditation is a form of meditation that focuses on clearing and cleansing the chakras. During practice the practitioner will often lie flat either on a bed or floor and concentrates her thoughts on the energy centers of the body, and begin to sense their Chakra’s and then picture the appropriate color and visualize them being cleared one after another. You can also focus on one particular chakra if you feel a specific blockage in one area.
5. Tai Chi / Qi Gong is a form of Taoist meditation. While I consider these two forms are separate from one another, and do differ slightly, they still have the same basic principles, namely about the circulation of Chi or Qi (energy) through various Breadth work and movement work. Attention is also focused on moving Energy around the body. Simple techniques can easily be found online.
“If you are too busy to Meditate, you are too busy”: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
There are other forms of meditation, such as twin hearts mediation, however those listed above are currently the most popular. Each meditative practice has its own traditions and goals, however they’ve all been developed to bring about a more relaxed stated, an increased consciousness and a more developed connection between Mind, Body and Soul. In a later post, I will address the many health benefits of Meditation, and also discuss the Spiritual benefit – meditation was in fact originally practiced to deepen ones understanding of the mystical forces of Life – however for now simply focus on selecting one of the above that resonates with you and begin your practice and notice not only your more relaxed state, or your new ability to better control or guide your thoughts, but also how your overall Energetic Vibrations change, and be mindful of the way the Universe pays you back for this higher vibration.