Friday, January 1, 2010

Why Meditate?

Why meditate?

Meditation clears the mind, helps one to relax, gives distance from the every day, increases the ability to face life’s challenges, integrates the self (mind, body, spirit), expands the self.

The Benefits

  • lowers blood pressure (decreases the chance of heart attack and stroke) 
  • creates space in the mind allowing new ideas and creativity to flourish
  • increases the feeling of love
  • quiets the mind
  • ‘opens up the space between the ending of one thought and the beginning of another’
  • decreases stress related illnesses like hypertension
  • heart disease
  • asthma
  • insomnia
  • reduces digestive problems
  • studies show increase in intelligence
  • slows ageing
  • improved quality of life
Practice mastery of the mind.

Types of Meditation

There are many different methods for practicing meditation. Please try a few techniques until you find something you have an affinity for. Aim to meditate every day for a month. Practicing meditation is like any other exercise. You need to train to feel the benefits. You might like to keep a meditation diary to monitor the different experiences you will have.

A few examples for practicing meditation are

Chakra (energy centres - yoga)
- Steady gaze (candle, picture, flower)
- Moving meditation (t
ai chi, qigong, asanas)
- Mantras / affirmations (I am love. I am one with the universe.)
- Guided Relaxation
- Breathing Meditation (Tan 
Tien, Yang breathing)
- Inner beauty cards/ themes (peace, harmony, simplicity)
- Visualization (candle light)

Two Rules for Meditation

1. Back straight (back, neck and head in line) Your spine is aligned so that energy can flow freely.
2. Be comfortable. You can not focus your mind if your body is disturbing you with indications of pain.


  • Quiet the mind before you begin to meditate. It helps to prepare your body and mind.
  • Decide how long you will meditate for…? Set a timer?
  • Choose a quiet place. It helps to settle the mind.
  • Be warm.
  • Music is another option.
  • Sitting down.  How will you position yourself? Kneeling, chair, ball, crossed leg, half lotus, lotus?  Perhaps laying down flat on a firm surface suits you better to begin with? 
  • Why are you meditating? Remind yourself about what you’re looking for.
  • Breathe. Counting the breath to help still the mind.
  • Let go of your thoughts, fantasies, memories.
What happens?

The chatterbox begins to be heard. You may experience glimpses of peace. Watch the self arises in surprising ways. Discover the restlessness within.  What ever happens is normal. Acceptance of your experiences help a long way in meditation practice.

When not to practice

When you’re tired, feeling vulnerable, depressed or stressed. Meditation requires a still, calm yet alert mind. Negative feelings can be intensified if you meditate in a disturbed state.


  • Practice for a short while. 
  • Practice often. 
  • Practice when you feel like it or make a schedule. 
  • The best results are noted when people meditate at the same time every day. When you wake up, before you go to bed. Choose a time that best suits your schedule.
Yoga and Meditation
Dhyana (Dee YAH nah)

The process of quieting the mind to free yourself from preconceptions and illusions. Meditation is the process of attaining total awareness through the cessation of thought.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra lists meditation as the seventh of eight limbs of yoga one can practice. (Asanas are the third limb.)

Meditation is keen, heightened awareness, not nothingness.

Oneness is the object of meditation. Discover the real you. Beyond what you think you know about yourself. A natural time to meditate in yoga practice is after the 

Mudras – special hand positions you can use to channel energy back through the fingers into the spinal column’s charkas, directing and re balancing prana in the body. For example, Namaste, OM, JnanaBuddhi.

Sitting poses Sukhasana (easy pose)
Vajrasana (kneeling pose)
Padmasana (lotus Pose)
Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus Pose)

Trouble shooting
Uncomfortable: if a meditative pose is uncomfortable or painful, you aren’t ready for it. Try a different pose.
Attitude: You can do it! Meditation is for everyone. You can do it with a little practice. Nothing is easy the first time. Everything takes time, energy and patience.
Sleepiness: Its your body’s way of reacting to being still. Be disciplined! Its worth it. Keep trying.
Chatterbox: Little thoughts popping up all of the time? Watch them come and go. Observe yourself. Let them come and go. Be calm. This is the beginning!
Memories: Treat all of your memories the same way. Observe them. Let them come and go. Some may be unpleasant. If you need help, find an experienced meditation teacher.

Finishing off

As you finish your meditation be sure to wake yourself properly. Visualize your body and being in your body. Open the eyes and see that you are in the room you started in. You might like to massage the face and head and stimulate the blood through your rested body. Stretch your body. Take the peace you have achieved with you through out your day. Good luck! Even better than luck though, is discipline.

Patience, Energy, Discipline

If you liked this post, perhaps you'd like to read Meditation Madness, meditation for negative thoughts, or even take a look at my first attempt at a podcast with 'three minute guided meditation' 

Originally posted as 'Basics in Meditation' (some modifications have been made)

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