How to Meditate

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You’ve probably heard how good meditation is for your well-being and health…but you still don’t meditate. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and over the past few decades, a growing body of research appears to support its wide-ranging physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Meditation seems easy: sit, be still, and heal! Meditation, however, is far more complex, and its long history can make it even more mysterious to would-be meditators.

The mysteries of meditation may be why so many people shy away from this seemingly simple practice. In order to learn how to meditate, a person must first understand what meditation is, why it is practiced, and the many different types of meditation. This background knowledge will lead to a sustainable and meaningful meditation practice.

What is meditation?

What is meditation?

The first and most complex question is: what is meditation? Meditation is a practice used to achieve a state of calm, groundedness, and spiritual awareness. It reduces stress and anxiety and helps clear the mind. Meditators get in tune with their mind and body by sitting and thinking and emptying their minds. However, the ways people meditate are as varied as the reasons why they start meditating in the first place.

history of meditation

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, with the earliest written records dating back to 1500 BC in the Vedanta. Date back. However, scholars believe that there were thousands of years before that. The word “meditation” is derived from Latin and means “to contemplate”; however, in the Ashtanga yoga tradition, it is also known as “Dhyana”. It is impossible to trace the exact origins of meditation, but its history is replete with various religious practices in different countries. These include Taoist China, Buddhist India, Buddhist Japan, Buddhist Nepal, etc. Relatedly, meditation has only recently been introduced to the West (from the 19th century).

Why meditate?

Why meditate?

After reading What is Meditation, you may understand why so many people are drawn to it. For centuries, people have practiced meditation for its relaxing and calming effects. However, meditation also has a spiritual component, and many people come to meditation for its spiritual or religious significance. Still others, amid the stress epidemic in the Western world, see meditation as a way to balance and cope with a hectic lifestyle. Whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional, there are as many reasons to meditate as there are benefits you get from it.

Health Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has many health benefits, and a great deal of research has been done over the past few decades to support it. So much so that some health insurance companies started covering meditation and yoga classes. While this research is important, it only confirms the health benefits that meditators have felt for thousands of years. Some of the documented health benefits of meditation are:
• blood pressure control
• Treatment of chronic pain and fibromyalgia
• Discontinuation of irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders
• Combat addictive behaviors such as smoking and overeating
• improve sleeping
• Improve immune function
Meditation has many other health benefits, and more research supports them every day.

Emotional Benefits of Meditation

Emotional Benefits of Meditation

One of the most important benefits of meditation is its ability to manage and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It’s often these deep emotional benefits that draw people to meditation in the first place.

Numerous studies involving thousands of human participants have found that meditation can reduce clinical depression. One study also found long-term changes in brain activity among meditators, with increased activity in brain regions that support positive emotions. Meditation also plays a huge role in reducing anxiety and stress due to its effects on certain neurotransmitters.

Spiritual Benefits of Meditation

Not often mentioned in the research community, but just as important to meditation are the spiritual benefits. As mentioned earlier, meditation has a long history with religious practices, including Buddhism and Taoism. However, the spiritual effects of meditation can be applied to anyone of any religion or no religion. By focusing within and calming the mind, meditators become more attuned to their unique selves. They notice fluctuations in their own spirit and may begin to acknowledge and feel a connection to the universe around them.

How to Meditate: Types of Meditation to Try

How to Meditate: Types of Meditation to Try

Knowing the history and benefits of meditation is important, but that may not explain how to actually practice it. There are many types of meditation to choose from, each with its own style, process, and even specific benefits. Meditation generally has a history of more than 5,000 years, and it is inevitable that there will be various sects, resulting in different ways of meditation. Different types of meditation coexist without interfering with each other. Instead, meditation practitioners can choose the type that best suits their personality. Depending on changing circumstances, they may practice more than one genre throughout their lives, or be more attracted to different genres. Seven different types of meditation and how to practice them are listed below, but there are many more.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation is a simple type of meditation that can be practiced twice a day when the meditator is feeling down

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