- Alternative & Natural Medicine
How The Different Types of Meditation Can Change Your Lifestyle
Meditate to Feel your Best
Meditation Requires Silence
You may know that those who meditate wear muslin robes, burn incense, shave their hair, and believe in the Far Eastern religions.
Read on to learn more about this special way of life.
These aspects are not required in order to benefit from meditative practice.
Although wine is a part of Catholic religious service, not all those who drink wine embrace the religion.
Similarly not all those who meditate need adopt a particular religion.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is simply a mental exercise that affects the body processes, just as physical exercise has certain psychological benefits, meditation has certain physical benefits.
The purpose of meditation is to gain control over your attention.
You can choose what to focus upon rather than being subject to the unpredictable ebb and flow of environment circumstances.
Meditation has its tradition grounded in Eastern cultures.
Those of India and Tibet, and has been popularized for Western cultures.
The major exporter of meditation to the Western world has been the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
The Maharishi developed a large worldwide and highly effective organization to teach Transcendental Meditation, known as TM.
To a population of people experiencing more and more stress and recognizing the need for more and more of an escape.
The simplicity of this technique coupled with the effectiveness of its marketing by TM organizations.
The background of Maharishi is interesting in itself, the birth of Mahest Prasod Varma, the given name at birth born in the year 1918.
He earned a degree in physics in 1942 before starting off his profession.
He met and studied under a religious leader, Swami Brahamananda Saraswati. Later he was assigned to the Himalayan to develop TM, which via advertising was later spread into society.
Types of Meditation
Transcendental meditation, is one form of meditation practice,
Chakra yoga, Rinzai Zen, Mudra yoga, Sufism, Zen meditation, and Soto Zen are examples of other meditative systems.
In Soto Zen meditation, common external objects, like flowers or a peaceful landscape are focused on.
Tibetan Buddhists use mandala a geometrical figure with other geometric forms on it that has spiritual or philosophical importance to meditate upon.
The use of imagined sounds like thunder or he beating drum, termed nadam or of silently repeated words termed mantra have also been used.
Rinzai Zen meditation uses koan, unanswerable, illogical riddles, Zazen focuses on subjective states of consciousness.
Hindu meditation employs pranayama, prana means life force, and refers to breathing and Zen practitioners have been known to focus on anapanasati, counting breaths from one to ten repetitively.
There is also the revival of the centuries-old traditional Jewish meditation.
The form of meditation that does not require a belief in the traditional God or membership in a synagogue.
It involves focusing on repetitive prayer receiving the light of the divine with each breath or chanting.
Regardless of the type of meditation, however, one of two approaches is used Opening up of attention or Focusing of attention.
Opening up of your attention requires a nonjudgmental attitude; you allow all external and internal stimuli to enter your awareness without trying to use these stimuli in any particular manner.
As with a blotter the inner self, and ink, were meaning the external and internal stimuli, where everything is just absorbed.
When the meditative method requires the focusing of attention, the object focused upon is something either repetitive.
For example: a word or phrase repeated in your mind or something unchanging for example a spot on the wall.
To understand the two basic methods of meditation place an object in the center of your room.
Try to get an object at least as high as your waist.
Remember that people with the Type A behavior pattern those most prone to heart disease rush through tasks rather than doing them well.
Slow down get that object and participate in meditation.
Look at the object for five minutes, most likely you saw and focused upon the object while excluding the other stimuli in your field of vision.
Behind the object in your field of vision might have been a wall, a window, a table or maybe a poster. In spite of the presence of these other visual stimuli you can put them in the background, ignore them and focus your attention on one object.
The object on focus is called the figure, and the objects in the background of your field of vision are called the ground.
When you see and listen to a lecturer you probably focus upon the person and to his or her voice. You choose to place objects other than the lecturer in the background, as well as the sounds of the voices. Just like while typing you can hear other noises outside like cars, people talking, birds chirping and airplanes taking off.
Focusing of attention meditation is similar to focusing on the figure while excluding the ground. Opening-up-of-attention meditation blends the figure and ground together so they are one and the same.
Imagined sounds used as the object of focus during meditation
A word used as the object of focus during meditation
Unanswerable illogical riddles sed as the object of focus during meditation
A Hindu practice that involves breathing as the object of focus during meditation
A Zen practice that involves counting breaths as the object of focus during meditation
Benefits of Meditation
A popular method and can be learned quickly and easily. Meditation has been one of the most researched of the relaxation techniques.
The findings of Physiological and Psychological Effects of meditation are as follows:
The Physiological effects of Meditation were discussed way back in 1946 by Indian yogis and Zen masters. Indian yogis could control their heart rates, and could slow respiration in four to six breaths per minute,
in decreasing the breaths by seventy percent their ability to conduct an electrical current galvanic skin response, emit predominantly alpha brain waves, and slow their heart rate to twenty four beats than normal.
At this point you realize that the mind can't be separated from the body. Consequently you have probably guessed that the Physiological effects of meditation have Psychological implications. Well you are right!
The Psychological effects of the health in meditators is better than that of non-meditators.
Meditators are less anxious, meditation is related to an internal locus of control, greater self-actualization, more positive feelings after encountering a stress improvement in sleep behavior, decreased cigarette smoking, relief of headaches, and in the general state of mental health.
Decreased drug intake, reduced fears, and phobias, stress management was associated with subjective experiences.
Eating disorders reduced for many meditators, so if you are ready for this technique you got to go for it!
How to Meditate
Meditation is best when learned in a quiet place, in the best comfortable spot, and environment.
Once you become experienced you will be able to meditate anywhere. Avoid falling asleep when meditating it won't be helpful.
Get a straight back chair, a kind of chair that allows you to align your spine, and that allows only a minimum of muscular contraction to keep you erect through and not stiff.
Be seated with your buttocks pushed against its back feet slightly forward of your knees and your hands resting either on the arms of he chair or in your lap.
Let your muscle relax as best as you can. Don't try to relax.
Trying is work not relaxation. Just assume a passive attitude, in which you can focus upon, your breathing.
Allow whatever happens to happen. If you feel relaxed fine, and if you are not relaxed accept that too.
Next, close your eyes, and repeat in your mind the word one, every time you inhale and the word two every time you exhale.
Don't consciously alter or control your breathing, breathe regularly. Continue to do this for twenty minutes, twice a day.
Lastly, when you stop meditating give your body a chance to become re-adjusted to normal routines.
Open your eyes gradually focusing on the object in the room, and then focusing upon on several objects.
Take several deep breaths. Stretch while seated and when you feel ready stand and stretch. If you rush to leave the meditation session you are apt to feel tired or to lose the sense of relaxation.
Since your heart rate and blood pressure are decreased while meditation, rising from the chair too quickly might make you dizzy and is not recommended.
Although you shouldn't experience any problems, if you feel uncomfortable or dizzy or if you experience hallucinations or disturbing images just open your eyes and stop meditating. Situations like this are rare, but occasionally do occur.
More Recommendations for Meditation
Immediately upon rising and right before dinner tend to be good times to meditate.
Do not meditate directly after a meal.
After eating the blood is pooled in the stomach are participating in the digestive process. Since part of the relaxation response is an increased blood flow to the arms and legs pooled blood in the abdomen is not conducive to relaxation. It is for this reason that you should meditate before breakfast and before dinner.
The objective of meditation is to bring about a hypo-metabolic state.
Since caffeine is a stimulant and is included in coffee, tea and cola also in some of other soft drinks, and you don't need to be stimulated but rather to relax, you shouldn't ingest these substances, before meditation, and avoid smoking.
You can rest your neck against a high-backed chair, or keep it directly above the neck, and allow your chin to drop onto your chest.
If you choose the latter you can have a discomfort in the neck area or in the shoulder muscles which may not be flexible enough.
You know when you can't touch your toes when bending down it shows discomfort, the same for the neck and shoulder.
You can check the clock to know if your twenty minutes is up, you won't be interfering with the meditation session. Eventually you will have a built-in clock and will know automatically of when to stop.
Don't set an alarm clock to stop you from meditating since your body is in the hypo-metabolic state a loud sound will startle you too much.
Disconnect the telephone or take the receiver of the hook this is depending on where you are meditating. If the phone rings while you are in the mediation mind then you will lose focus.
You should relax and enjoy meditation, in breathing slowly and to feel less stressed out, avoid rushing through meditation, you won't benefit from it.
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© 2013 Devika Primić