Benefits of Meditation:
Research has revealed that a regular meditation practice can improve psychological and physiological well-being. As one meditates, the brainwave pattern is brought into an alpha state, a level of consciousness that encourages the rejuvenation and healing of the mind and body.
Physiological Benefits of Meditation
* decreases stress resulting in lower levels of cortisol and lactate
* decreases muscle tension and headaches (as with PMS)
* promotes a more restful state (lowers heart rate, lowers body’s core temperature, decreases high blood pressure, and decreases metabolic rate)
* decreases cholesterol levels
* improves respiratory function and decreases respiratory rate
* enhances immune system
* increases the production of serotonin-low levels of serotonin are connected with insomnia, depression, obesity, and headaches
* reduces level of free radicals
* promotes pain management especially for women during childbirth
Psychological Benefits of Meditation
* decreases stress
* decreases depression and irritability
* decreases anxiety
* promotes greater creativity
* improves memory and learning ability
* improves ability to focus and concentrate
* leads to increased self-actualization, self-confidence and self-acceptance
* leads to increased emotional stability
* promotes increased levels happiness and contentment in life
* discovery of personal and spiritual growth
Create A Meditation Space
Meditation can be done virtually anywhere, but creating a proper environment will make your meditation practice more fulfilling. Create an environment that is appealing and motivates you to practice regularly. If possible, devote a room or part of a room to meditation. If you don’t have an entire room, section off some space in a quiet, low traffic part of your home. Consider personalized icons, artwork or colors that inspire or soothe you during your meditation.
*Turn off phones, ringers, and any other items that can potentially distract you.
*If possible, have a source of fresh air.
*Have a source of warmth. Have a blanket or shawl to keep warm.
*Try to meditate in natural light – a source of natural light is perfect, though not too much direct sun. Dim artificial sources of light, if possible.
*Keep it clean. The mind is more able to be steady and relaxed when your meditation area is free of clutter. Stow your props (mats, blankets, cushions etc.) in a cupboard or a basket.
*Meditation should be done on a rug, carpet, or blanket. Avoid sitting directly on a cold floor.
*You can light candles and use a diffuser with a blend of essential oils to create a more relaxing mood.
Taking time to establish a meditation space will help you become more dedicated to your practice and will make your meditation experience more fulfilling.
How to Start Meditating
Preparing for a meditation is essential as this will enable you to receive all the health benefits from the practice. You can meditate anytime, but the most favorable times of day are at dawn and at dusk, when the atmosphere is charged with spiritual energy. More important, choose a time when your mind is free of everyday concerns. Consider meditating around the same time each day and in the same place.
We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing as this will allow the freest movement of the body. Also, create a meditation space that is free of distractions, mentally soothing, and will help still the mind. As most meditations are performed sitting, assume a comfortable upright position with your back, neck and head in a straight line. Modify your sitting posture with a cushion or meditation bench, if needed. If you have difficulty sitting due to back or knee discomfort, try meditating with legs straight or seated in a chair. Most important, avoid any feelings of strain, discomfort, or excess fatigue.
If you have any previous or current health issues (i.e. heart or circulatory conditions, respiratory conditions, muscle or joint problems, pregnancy), we strongly recommend that you consult a qualified physician prior to meditating as some the positions and breathing techniques may have contraindications.
Allow meditation to bring mental clarity and awareness. Practice without judgment. Enjoy the stillness that grows with a regular meditation practice.
Michelle Trantina is a certified Hatha Yoga Teacher. She is the co-founder of My Yoga Online and My Yoga Music. She can also be seen in the national Yoga television series Namaste on HDTV and CityTV. To learn more about Michelle Trantina and My Yoga Online, visit www.myyogaonline.com and www.myyogamusic.com