Why Meditation And How Does It Help
The stressful lives we lead today take their toll on our health.
Mental stress and physical fatigue drain us of our positive
energy leaving us depleted physically, mentally and emotionally.
Considered to be part of alternative medicine, meditation
is fast gaining popularity amongst conventional medical practitioners
as well. Patients are increasingly being advised to meditate
for sometime in the day, which is believed to have a positive
effect along with the allopathic medicines prescribed for
a number of medical conditions.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a technique that helps us focus and calms the
mind resulting in relaxed and restful state of physical and
mental being. Meditation is generally focused on one constant
thing, usually your breath. Meditation is an effective tool
to gain mind control, self-awareness and understanding that
eventually lead to inner calm and peacefulness. For people
practice meditation, it can lead to profound experiences of
self-realization and transcendental awareness and knowledge.
A proven alternative therapy, meditation is a known stress
Meditation is beneficial not only psychologically but is known
to have positive effects on various health conditions ranging
from blood pressure, insomnia to even depression. There are
different techniques of meditation that people follow today.
These are a product of diverse cultures and peoples around
the world. The power of meditation has been harnessed to alleviate
pain, suffering and promote healing for centuries in different
cultures and religions, in some or the other form.
Types of meditation
There are various types of meditation that originate from
various parts of the world. Prayer is possibly the most common
one, the others are Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness
meditation, Zen meditation, Buddhist Meditation and Taoist
The body under meditation
Scientific experimentation and research has found out how
the human body reacts under profound meditation. It has been
found that the meditation process counteracted the effects
of the sympathetic nervous system - the one that wants to
fight or flee. Whereas the sympathetic system dilates the
pupils and gets the heart rate, respiration and blood pressure
up, the parasympathetic system, activated when we meditate,
does just the opposite.
Muscle tension decreases, blood pressure drops, and for some
extraordinary practitioners, even temperature and basal metabolism
rates drop during a prolonged meditation. Oxygen needs of
the body are reduced when you are in a highly relaxed state,
and brain waves change from the busy beta waves to the blissful
There are two major approaches to meditation, which are Concentrative
Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation. These can be explained
as follows -
1. Concentrative Meditation
The approach to still the mind is to focus the attention on
the breath, image or sound (mantra). This gives way to greater
awareness and clarity. In its most basic form concentrative
meditation requires you to sit quietly and focus your attention
on your breath. Practitioners of yoga and meditation believe
that there is a direct correlation between one's state of
mind and one's breath. For e.g. when a person is anxious,
frightened, agitated or distracted, the breath will tend to
be shallow, rapid and irregular. On the other hand, when the
mind is calm, focused and composed, the breath tends to be
slow, deep and regular.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
In this type of meditation, the mind is aware of all that
is happening around you. You just observe the sounds, feelings,
sensations, images, thoughts, smells etc without getting involved
in them or thing about them. The person is just like a spectator
who is witnessing everything but one who does not react or
get involved with thoughts, memories, feelings, worries or
images. This helps to gain a more calm, clear and non-reactive
state of mind.
Kevin Pederson has been managing a number of natural
home remedies websites which have information on home
based natural cures and remedies for some of the most common
illnesses as well as methods of meditation.
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