Meditation is one of the top-10 alternative therapies used by the U. S. population. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that 8% of Americans use meditation as a health tool. No longer just for Buddhist monks and New-Age types, meditation is now appealing to mainstream business professionals, medical doctors and even health care companies. This is a result of the growing evidence which supports that meditation can promote physical healing.
Meditation may be spiritual for some, but the practice is not necessarily religious in nature. There are many meditative approaches but regardless of the technique, medical research indicates that the practice of meditation tends to evoke a state of physiological relaxation: blood pressure drops, heart beats slower and breathing is quieter, other biochemical changes can also occur. Scientists do not understand why the changes happen but understanding the physical effects can explain the potential health benefits of meditation.
Twenty minutes of daily meditation can provide relief for ailments such as low back pain, headaches, depression and anxiety. Suffers of these chronic conditions should attempt to incorporate the meditation practice into their daily routine. If meditation can lower blood pressure, it could be a useful tool in helping patients with hypertension. If scientists uncover exactly how meditation works to relieve these symptoms, they may be able to apply that understanding to treat a variety of other disorders.
Research on meditation began back in the late 1960s. Herbert Benson, MD, began studying the physiological impact of Transcendental Meditation on individuals. In recent years, the scope of studies has focused on how the practice can reduce symptoms of chronic illnesses from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Critics indicate some of the research is been on small study populations and has not had adequate control groups for comparison. But some studies have shown promising results.
Meditation can relax the body. Promote more restful sleep and boost the body’s immune system. This will help fight illness and better manage the symptoms of chronic conditions. Meditation can relax the mind and help us better deal with the stress of our daily lives. The popular interest in meditation and its health benefits may help drive more research in the future.
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The Health Benefits of Meditation
Beth Ruhmann, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist with Baptist Health South Florida, talks about the health benefits of meditation.
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Dr. Oz Shares The Benefits of Meditation
Dr. Oz explains how you can reduce stress and anxiety by taking a few minutes each day to concentrate on your breath.
7 Shocking Benefits of Daily Meditation
Today we explore 7 shocking benefits of daily meditation. If you want to know how to meditate for beginners and how this can have a positive impact on your life, this video is for you!
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10 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Meditation
These benefits of meditation, specifically mindfulness, can reduce anxiety, improve your health, and make you happier. The power of meditation is in its simplicity. Learn more about the benefits of meditation below!
7 Ways Meditation Changes the Brain
Potential Age-Defying Effects of Long-Term Meditation
Meditation Experience Is Associated with Network Connectivity
A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind
Mindfulness Practice Leads to Gray Matter Intensity
Hippocampus in Health and Disease
Mindfulness Training Improves Memory Capacity and Performance
Mindfulness Mediation in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Benefits of Meditation that Rewire Your Brain
Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Well-being
Loving Kindness and Compassion Meditation
Brain Mechanisms Supporting the Modulation of Pain
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The Scientific Power of Meditation
How exactly does meditation affect your body?
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Colzato, L.S., A. Ozturk, and B. Hommel, Meditate to create: the impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 2012. 3(116): p. 1-5.
Davidson, R.J., et al., Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2003. 65: p. 564-570.
Goyal, M., et al., Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2011. 174(3): p. 357-368.
Farb, N.A.S., et al., Minding one’s emotions: mindfulness training alters the neural expression of sadness. Emotion, 2010. 10(1): p. 25-33.
9. Kerr, C.E., et al., Effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation in primary somatosensory cortex. Brain Research Bulletin, 2011. 85: p. 96-103.
Ditto, B., M. Eclache, and N. Goldman, Short-term autonomic and cardiovascular effects of mindfulness body scan meditation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2006. 32: p. 228-234.
Epel, E., et al., Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging, cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres. Longevity, regeneration, and optimal health, 2009. 1172: p. 34-53.
Kilpatrick, L.A., et al., Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction training on intrinsic brain connectivity. NeuroImage, 2011. 56: p. 290–298.
Ospina, M.B., et al., Clinical trials of meditation practices in health care:characteristics and quality. The Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine, 2008. 14(10): p. 1199–1213.
Yu, X., et al., Activation of the anterior prefrontal cortex and serotonergic system is associated with improvements in mood and EEG changes induced by Zen meditation practice in novices. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2011. 80: p. 103-111.
Hölzel, B.K., et al., Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 2011. 191: p. 36-43.
Luders, E., et al., The unique brain anatomy of meditation practitioners: alterations in cortical gyrification. frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2012. 6(34): p. 1-9.
Hasenkamp, W. and L.W. Barsalou, Effects of meditation experience on functional connectivity of distributed brain networks. frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2012. 6(38): p. 1-14.
Carlson, L.E., et al., Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors.
The 12 Surprising Health Benefits of Meditation
While there is still a lot of research to do on the health benefits of meditation, in this video we explore how it can improve your life. Meditation is an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years. It’s often seen as a spiritual practice, and thus it can be difficult to think of it as something with proven, scientific benefits. That being said, meditation isn’t just about connecting with and healing your soul! It has real, physical effects on your mind and body.
While many people think they don’t know how to meditate, essentially it’s just a practice in concentration! You learn to concentrate on your breath, notice when you get caught up in thoughts, and return your concentration to your breath. When you do this, you give your body a break from the physical effects of stress. In fact, developing a regular meditation practice reduces the amount of stress-related chemicals in your body. It also leaves you less likely to turn to unhealthy coping strategies to deal with the stress.
Now, you might feel that you’re too busy for meditating. A lot of people do. But studies suggest that those with jam-packed schedules stand to get the most from the health benefits of meditation – even as little as 5-10 minutes a day can make a great difference.
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5 SHOCKING Benefits Of Meditation (Animated)
Today we discuss the top 5 benefits of meditation, and why you should meditate. The list of benefits to meditation are long, but in this video I am going to go over my top 5 favourite benefits to meditation.
Here are the 5 benefits of meditation summarized:
1) The first main point is that meditation improves learning, memory and self-awareness.
2) The second reason is that Mindfulness meditation decreases feelings of loneliness.
3) The third benefit of meditation, is that it Lengthens your Attention Span.
4) The fourth reason, is it may help fight addictions.
5) The fifth main benefit of meditation, is that it reduces stress and anxiety in general.
I will also make a future video on how to meditate. Meditation has improved my life in so many ways, and these 5 benefits of meditation are just beginning. I could make a 20-minute video talking about all the benefits of meditation.
I can honestly say that meditating change my life, and I really would encourage you do try it out. In the future I will make a video on how exactly to meditate.
If you are interested in meditation after watching this, please leave the video a like. And subscribe to Masculine Man :)
Neurologist explains the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique
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My name is Doctor Gary Kaplan, I'm a neurologist and practice at Pro Health in New York and I'm a clinical associate professor of neurology New York University school of medicine. I've been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique since I was freshman in college and I noticed from the first meditation whether I was trying or not trying just naturally calmness, a kind of peace came over my mind and a sense of relief and a real quietness in the physiology as well.
Question: What are the mechanics of Transcendental Meditation?
Dr Gary Kaplan: Well we know that the mind and body are intimately connected. With Transcendental Meditation we have a mental technique, a very simple, effortless, natural mental technique. We experience a thought on quieter and quieter levels of the mind in a very natural and spontaneous way. What's happening since the mind and body are intimately related, physiologically we have a profound change. The physiology starts to gain a type of rest that is different and in some ways much more profound than the kind of rest that it gets during deep sleep or during dreaming. So the body enjoys this unique profound rest while the mind expands and settles down and gains this heightened alertness. This is what scientists would call a wakeful hyper metabolic state. In other words a state of restful alertness. Naturally and easily maintain this state of restful alertness during the Transcendental Meditation technique.
If we can reduce blood pressure into the normal range, we can decrease the incidence of stroke, of heart disease, hardening of the arteries. If the TM technique did nothing else other than this one thing, which is to help normalize blood pressure, it would be worth it for everyone to do for 20 minutes, twice a day.
The technique interests me as a doctor because I'm always looking for something that can help my patients that is free of side-effects. With TM, fortunately we don't have side-effects, and there's very good reason for that because it's a very natural technique. It's just allowing the mind to settle down the way it really wants to and allowing the body to gain that rest. So, it's free from side-effects but instead it has side benefits; many benefits in the area of health–psychological and physiological health.
How Meditation Impacts the Brain and Implications for Health
(Visit: How does mindfulness and meditation improve health? Helen Weng, UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, explains that training our internal mental lives can have positive effects on our minds, health, and relationships.
Recorded on 05/26/2016. Series: UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine presents Mini Medical School for the Public [8/2016] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 31008]
Top 10 Healthy BENEFITS To Regular MEDITATION
Meditation is far more than just a religious practice; it is actually incredibly good for your mental, physical and emotional health. It is great for relieving stress, and has no negative side effects. Below are ten things meditation does to improve your health.
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Benefits Of Meditation - TOP 6 BENEFITS
A list of the top 6 benefits of meditation. You'll be surprised at what sitting down and doing nothing can do for your body, brain, and overall well being.
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We’ve heard this topic time and time again.
People’s lives transforming, some feeling like a Shaolin monk while others not really noticing anything.
If you’re like me, I would always get so bored when I’d try to meditate.
I never really got anywhere with it.
But you can’t just meditate for a few days, then say “meh has no effects, useless much”.
Maybe meditation can actually transform our lives even if it’s a small change.
So I took it upon myself to try a 30-day meditation challenge and here’s what happened.
00:34 - Point #1: I Started To Enjoy Meditating
00:52 - Point #2: The Type of Meditation Changes Your Results
01:31 - Point #3: Guided Meditation Gave Me The Fastest Results
03:10 - Point #4: Meditation Boosted My Athletic Performance
04:54 - Point #5: Revealed My Compulsive Addictive Thinking
06:01 - Point #6: Made Me More Comfortable Being Alone
07:17 - Point #7: Meditation Made Me Hallucinate
#HowToMeditate #MeditationForBeginners #SimpleHabit
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Hansa on Medicine: The Benefits of Meditation
People who meditate say it has a calming effect. But research has proven it does so much more. Here, pediatrician Hansa Bhargava describes evidence showing how meditation changes the brain including areas associated with memory, plus the other health benefits that come from quieting the mind.
What Do We Really Know About Meditation and Health?
(Visit: Does the science live up to the hype? Dr. Rick Hecht, the director of research at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine looks at the effects of meditation on health and behavior. Recorded on 05/12/2016. Series: UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine presents Mini Medical School for the Public [8/2016] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 31006]
5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation and How to Get Started
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First, what is meditation?
The American Meditation Society describes it as “a simple and effortless process where you connect with the silence and peace within yourself”.
the benefits of meditation.
#1 Meditation Reduces Psychological Stress, Depression and Anxiety
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University looked at 47 trials with 3515 participants and found that 2-6 months of meditation programs reduced the anxiety, depression and stress of participants.
#2 Meditation Reduces Physical Pain
A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found that meditation is better than placebo for reducing pain:
75 healthy volunteers were randomly assigned 4 days of either: (1) mindfulness meditation, (2) placebo conditioning, (3) sham mindfulness meditation, or (4) book-listening control intervention.
The researchers “inflicted” pain on the volunteers in the form of thermal stimuli. Although all 4 groups experienced pain reduction, the group that underwent mindfulness meditation experienced significantly reduced pain intensity.
#3 Meditation Can Slow Alzheimer’s Disease
A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease randomly selected 60 older adults with subjective cognitive decline to beginner meditation for three months.
At 3 months, meditation significantly enhanced both subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance.
#4 Meditation Improves Working Memory
This has been shown in a study of 198 middle school children, who were randomly assigned either mindfulness meditation, hatha yoga, or were a control group.
A special computer program assessed the participants’ working memory before and after the intervention, and showed that the mindfulness meditation group had significantly greater improvement in working memory compared to the other groups.
#5 Meditation Boosts Immune System
A review of 20 randomized controlled trials examined the effect of mindfulness meditation on different biomarkers of the immune system that affect inflammation, immunity, and biological cell aging.
The researchers found that meditation was associated with decreased levels of proinflammatory proteins, increased immune cell count and increased activity of the enzyme telomerase, which is an enzyme that helps slow or reverse cell aging.
#6 Meditation Lowers Blood Pressure
A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association declares that based on the available evidence from the published literature, Transcendental Meditation technique lowers blood pressure and may be considered in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.
Ok, let’s go through some common questions you may have about meditation:
#1. I’m an atheist and/or not spiritual, can I still meditate?
Anyone can meditate. Meditation is not about religion or spirituality. It’s a technique or practice of training the mind, where you focus on a single thought, image, object, or feeling.
#2. How can I make the time to meditate in my busy schedule?
Meditation can be practiced anywhere and anytime.
You can meditate for 2 minutes a day if that’s all the time you have. No particular posture is required, as long as you’re comfortable.
#3. How often do I need to meditate?
The secret to gaining the benefits is to practice it regularly. You would need to meditate everyday in order to get into the habit and rip the benefits. But remember, all you need to start with is few minutes a day.
#4. How do I start?
Either find a local teacher in your area or Download an app like Calm or Headspace to your phone.
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Meditation's Impact on the Brain | Documentary Clip
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Benefits of Meditation on Mental Health
Benefits of Meditation on Mental Health.
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Health Benefits of Meditation
The Science of Meditation
Meditation has never been so popular. But can it really make you smarter, happier and healthier? Subscribe to ABC Science YouTube ????
New research shows that it can affect the body as well as the mind, slow down the aging process, and even alter the structure of the brain. Dr Graham Phillips embarks on an eight week meditation course and undergoes a raft of rigorous brain tests and scans, to find out if the ancient art lives up to the current hype.
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benefits of yoga, benefits of meditation, health benefits yoga meditation, how meditation helps,
Free online guided mediitation Introduction video by Sadhguru:-
To learn the Full kriya yoga meditation please visit the official website of Isha Kriya
For an advanced meditation technique taught by Sadhguru please visit:-
Sadhguru is a yoga master, meditation master, from India. Sadhguru's simple yet powerful meditation techniques, hatha yoga techniques, has given self healing power, immense benefits, health benefits to millions of men, women around the world. I am one in that million and I must say that the health benefits of yoga, health benefits of meditation taught by Sadhguru has not only helped me come out of chronic diseases such blood pressure, depression, anxiety but also has helped me to give self healing power to attain to peace of mind, ultimate relaxation and to ultimate blissfulness with in myself and hence I uploaded this youtube video.
In this youtube video, sadhguru explains how meditation helps, what are the health benefits of meditation, what are the kriya yoga benefits for both men and women and how in his younger age, when he was swimming in a deep water well without any stairs, a 85 year old man, after jumping in to the well climbed back to the surface faster than all the youngsters. After this incident he saw the yoga benefits, meditation benefits, and started to learn yoga meditation from this old yoga master.
If you wish to learn Guided kriya yoga meditation technique taught by Sadhguru and attain to full health benefits of yoga, health benefits of meditation and experience how this meditation will help in your life, please view the below youtube videos,
Free online guided mediitation Introduction video by Sadhguru:-
To learn the Full kriya yoga meditation please visit the official website of Isha Kriya
If you wished to do a little more advanced meditation technique, you can do a online yoga class called Inner engineering, please visit the website for more information.
If this guided meditation can be learnt correctly, benefits of this meditation, healing power of this yoga can be derived for stress relief, for concentration, for focus, for memory power, for weight loss, for relaxation, for pregnant women, to control mind, to control anger, to remove negativity, to remove fear, to sleep well and to increase fertility. Benefits of this meditation, benefits of this yoga has the potential and the possibility for back pain relief, for proper hair growth, for glowing skin, for proper eyes sight, for pregnant women and to reduce belly and chest fat, thighs, hips and to increase height, to cure asthma, acidity, arthritis, acne, to cure blood pressure, to increase brain power, concentration, to cure constipation, cervical spondylosis, diabetes, digestive problems, eyesight improvement, ear problem, epilepsy. Benefits of this yoga, benefits of this meditation, also has the possibility for children to give energy boost and fitness. Health benefits of this meditation also has the possibility to cure for heart problems, headache, hair loss, infertility for childless couple, irregular menstruation, insomnia, indigestion, jaw pain, liver problems, lung problems, low blood pressure, leg pain, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, neck should pain, nervous weakness, nose blockage, obesity, ovarian cyst, ovulation problems, sinus problems, skin diseases, spondylitis, upper back pain, urinary problems, ulcer, uric acid, urine infection, urinary tract infection, This meditation also can benefit anyone be it children, youth, old age people or older beginners or even complete beginners. This meditation can also help an individual to reduce weight, increase stamina and to quit smoking.
How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011
Neuroscientist Sara Lazar's amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.
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Benefits of Meditation - Top Reasons To Start Meditating Right Now
Benefits of Meditation -- Learn about the benefits of meditation in less than 10 minutes. Get yourself motivated to start meditating right now!
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How Does Meditation Change the Brain? - Instant Egghead #54
Meditation can sharpen attention, strengthen memory and improve other mental abilities. Scientific American editor Ferris Jabr examines the changes in brain structure behind some of these benefits.
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Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings. [Preview] (Clinical Psychology Review)
Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice (PNAS)
Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain, UCLA researchers say (UCLA)
The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: Larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter (PMC)
Age effects on gray matter volume and attentional performance in Zen meditation (Neurobiology of Aging)
Age effects on attentional blink performance in meditation [Preview](Conciousness and Cognition)
Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources (PLOS Biology)
The American Psychological Association on the benefits of mindfulness
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Meditation & Fitness: Scientific Benefits of Meditating- Thomas DeLauer… Everyone likes to create content surrounding the world of meditation. And I think they do it because it makes them sound smart, but the reality is meditation is a powerful thing, but let's talk about how it's really working within the body. Here's the big problem that we face. Most of the studies that are out there surrounding the world of meditation are very subjective. They take a look at the masses, but they take a look at an overall end result. And sometime this can lead to us wondering, Is this truly a physiological change or is it just the kind of people that meditate tend to have this kind of response?
Now before I go any further, I do want to make sure if you haven't already, hit that subscribe button so you can get three to five videos per week. But also, if you're already a subscriber, turn on that little bell so you can turn on notifications, so you know whenever I post a video.
So you see what I mean by this, when I'm talking about meditation, is since most of the studies are looking at input and output, what ends up happening after someone meditates, it makes it really, really hard to determine if there's really a change happening within the body. What I mean by that is maybe, just maybe, the kinds of people that are meditating are different kinds of people that would be more receptive to a change. Or maybe they're the kind of people that are more receptive to a change and the fact that they, as soon as they start implementing some kind of different strategy within their life or exercising a different form of discipline, they start having different changes. Now, a lot of the studies really back this up in terms of what can happen when someone starts meditating, but maybe it's just a better practice for life.
Now, I'm trying to look at this in a completely unbiased way because I truly am someone that meditates, but I also wonder myself if I'm doing myself good or if I'm just one of the people that has a specific regimen within my life that makes me a little bit more focused. But to back up what I'm saying right now let me give you a couple of studies. Then I'm going to dive into the actual science, into the actual research, from some new studies that are starting to show some really emerging interesting things as far as brain density and gray matter goes.
So this first study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal. And it took a look at 47 different studies, it's what's called a meta-study where they look at multitudes of studies over a period of time. There is overall 3,515 participants in this meta-study, and what they found in this analysis is that those that meditate ended up having lower levels of anxiety, lower levels of depression and lower levels of pain, markedly. So what we can conclude from this is that perhaps maybe the people that meditate are better at managing these things within their life. But it doesn't necessarily mean that meditation triggered it. Where's the cause and effect?
The other study that I want to reference was published in the journal of the Frontiers of Immunology. It took a look at 18 different studies with 846 participants over the course of 11 years. I love studies like this because they look at a wide spectrum of things they look at things throughout different technological advances, they look at things through different advances in our cultures and different mindsets in general.
1) Lidicker, G. (2017, January 17). 15 Scientific Reasons To Meditate Today. Retrieved from
2) 3 Research-Based Reasons to Start Meditating. (2016, May 23). Retrieved from
3) Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. (30, January). Retrieved from
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6 Health Benefits of Meditation
You learn to meditate by meditating. The silence and stillness you experience in meditation and the increased happiness and diminished stress you experience outside meditation are so attractive and welcomed that you naturally teach yourself how to go deeper into that silence and stillness each time you meditate.
To meditate you sit comfortably and quietly with your eyes closed and effortlessly and silently inside repeat a word or a short phrase called a mantra. Your mantra can be any word, sound, prayer or short phrase you like that is in your native language.
For example your mantra could be any one of the words: inner peace, effortless, compassion, love, one, calm, do nothing, or gentle, or any short combination of those words. Your mantra can also be from your religious tradition. For example if you are Roman Catholic your mantra could be “Hail Mary Full of Grace”, which in Spanish would be “Ave Maria”. If you are Protestant your mantra could be “The Lord is my Shepherd” or “Our Father Who art in Heaven”. If you are Jewish your mantra could be “The Lord is my Shepherd” or “Shalom” and if you are Hindu your mantra could be “Om Sat Chit Ekam Brahma” or “So Hum”. If you are of Tibetan Buddhist faith your mantra could be “Om Mani Padme Hum” and if you are of Islamic faith your mantra could be “Insha’Allah”.
To begin meditating, sit comfortably and quietly and close your eyes. Start by relaxing your muscles, first in your feet, calves, and thighs, and then by shrugging your shoulders and rolling your head and neck around. Then for the first minute sit quietly with your eyes closed and do nothing. During that minute thoughts will come and notice that those thoughts come simply and without any effort. Then after a minute or so, silently inside without moving your tongue or lips, start thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as other thoughts came during that first minute.
Slowly repeat thinking your mantra in that same simple, effortless way for 15-30 minutes. (Choose the amount of time based on what suits you.) As you repeat thinking your mantra, thoughts will come and that’s okay; having thoughts during meditation is natural. When thoughts do come, gently return to thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as thoughts come. At times you may be thinking the mantra unclearly, and that’s okay. At times you may not be thinking the mantra at all but rather it may come as just a faint sense or feeling of the mantra, and that’s okay. And at times thoughts and the mantra may disappear entirely but you are fully aware in silence and stillness, and that’s okay.
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5 Amazing Benefits of Daily Meditation
Life a bit overwhelming? Five minutes of meditation 1-2 times per day can help you stop the world and send your woes packing. Here are 5 amazing benefits to daily meditation.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Good for the mind... meditation also provides physical health benefits... Jim Morelli has more.
How Meditation Works WONDERS on your BRAIN, HEALTH and LIFE!
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How meditation works
There’s a new study coming out about meditation almost every week touting its benefits, but how does this ancient technique really work?
We need to look at a few physiological processes to understand why meditation is so great for us.
First – when we meditate, there are changes in our brain wave patterns. Depending upon our state – that is, if we are asleep or awake, the brain creates waves based on its activity that can be measured on an EEG. A simple 20-minute meditation session will start to transition the brain waves from Beta or Alpha to a Theta State.
Meditation has also been known to slow the rate at which our heart’s pump blood, and the rate we breathe.
These slowed states of physiological functioning are associated with a reduction in stress. In brief, a fast heart-rate and quick, shallow breathing causes a cascade of stress-response actions in our bodies, like pumping out more stress hormones like Cortisol. Cortisol is linked with heart disease, depression, poor gut health and more. So, meditation indirectly lowers stress, which makes us healthier.
The next thing that happens when we meditate, is that we stop running from the subconscious thoughts that are secretly running our lives. As we sit and focus on our breathing or consciously observe the thoughts that arise without judgement, we can mindfully experience our deeply held emotions and beliefs. Often we’re reacting to life instead of acting out of the present moment.
Meditation allows a small gap between the stress-response – that fight-or-flight mechanism which causes us to fear every situation and react to it, instead of empowering us with a feeling of strength and calm. When was the last time you reacted to a stressful situation with a peaceful feeling that everything would be o.k.? Most of us simply run around trying to put out fires, or run from them as fast as we can. Meditation reduces our physiological stress so that we can handle mental and emotional stress with more acumen.
Athletes train their muscles to perform better under stress. You can think of meditation like training your mind. The next time you get caught in traffic, you run late for an appointment, or someone does something to hurt your feelings you’ll be able to act in the present moment instead of reacting to stored fears and emotions lingering just below the surface. You’ll be as strong in your mind as that champion boxer is in his body – only you won’t need to fight.