Meditation is the art of quieting the mind and connecting with your higher self. Meditation provides a plethora of health benefits including better concentration, less stress and a general feeling of happiness and contentment. Meditation is god for the body in many unexpected ways. People who have practiced meditation for a long period of time have the ability to speed up or slow down their metabolism as much as 60% and as well as raise their body temperature by as much as 8°C. Just a few minutes of meditation every day can make people calmer and more relaxed. As little as 20 minutes reduces blood pressure, lowers heart rate, as well as promotes deeper and calmer breathing. Positive changes in blood pressure occur as a result of meditation and it also lowers one’s risk of having a heart attack. Meditation is an effective treatment for chronic pain. Meditation increases left-sided, frontal lobe brain activity. This area of the brain is associated with positive mood and immune system function. Just a small amount of meditation has positive effects of the brain. Meditation also significantly enhances positive emotions and mood. Those who meditate are less vulnerable to the common stresses and upsets of daily life.
Below are 11 practical recommendations to help beginners in getting started:
Make meditation part of your every day routine. Meditation should be done in the morning and in the evening. It must become an important part of your day in order to yield positive results. It is a practice, not an occasional experience.
Breathe deeply. Deep breathing slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles and calms the mind. Inhale through your nose, hold the breath for as long as you comfortably can and exhale slowly.
Stretch before you sit. Stretching loosens your muscles, allowing you to sit in meditation more comfortably. Stretching increases blood flow and oxygen flow throughout the body.
Stay focused. Meditation is an ACTIVE process. If your mind wanders, come back to being aware of your breathing. The art of bringing your attention down to a single point is difficult, and you must stay purposefully engaged!
Drop feelings of frustration. It is very common for beginners to get frustrated and impatient when they can’t shut off their thoughts or quiet their mind. Meditation is a practice, not a quick fix. It requires time, devotion and patience.
Experiment. Try new things. Most of us visualize a Yogi sitting in full lotus position beneath a Bonzi tree, but that is not usually the case. We should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying down, eyes open, eyes closed, walking meditation and so on.
Feel your body. Become aware of all sensations. This allows you to be present in the here and now. Once the mind begins to settle down, put all of your attention on your feet and then slowly move your way up the body, including your internal organs.
Pick a specific room in your home to devote to meditation. Make sure not to choose a room where you work, exercise or sleep. Light candles and incense in the room to create a soothing atmosphere.
Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a daily practice. Don't judge it on your result for one day. Just commit to it every day and let it be.
Experience moments of awareness throughout your day. Becoming aware of your breath and “being present” while not engaged in formal meditation is a great way to boost your meditation habits. Awareness is like a muscle and the more you use it the stronger it becomes.
Relax… This may be the hardest part of meditation; to just relax. Regardless of what happens during meditation, do not stress about it. Just go with it and don’t judge your experience. Meditation is what it is. Your job is to simply do the best you can at the time.
The benefits of meditation are virtually endless. Meditation relaxes the body, purifies the mind and transforms the soul. It allows you to reach higher states of consciousness and enhance your awareness. Commit to making meditation part of your everyday life and experience the difference.