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23 Types of Meditation Find The Best Meditation …

Posted: August 7, 2019 at 12:44 am


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Did you know that there are as many meditation techniques as there are sports? And the only way to find out the best types of meditation for you is to try them.

As you may know, meditation has dozens of benefits, and everybody is doing it. You look for information online or on a bookstore, and see that there are a LOT of different styles of meditation. You wonder which way is best for you.

This is a very important question. Different types of meditation have different benefits. Some of them will work better for you than othersjust like different sports or diets work better for some people than for others.

There are literally hundredsif not thousandsof types of meditation, so here I will explore only the most popular ones. The purpose of this article is to help you experiment different meditation techniques, and find the ones that works best for you.

Finding the right style for you, and practicing it with the right approach, is one of the three essential Pillars of Meditation.

There is no cookie-cutter approach to meditation. You need to experiment many, and find the one that works best for your unique needs and personality. The type of meditation that is most helpful against anxiety, for instance, is not necessarily the best one against depression or for spiritual awakening.

If you prefer more dynamic meditation techniques, have a look at my walking meditation guide. Or, if you already have some experience with meditation, you might enjoy reading about the meditation experiments I was doing while writing this post.

The advice regarding the posture of meditation is very similar among the different styles of seated practice, so I will go into more detail about it only once, when talking about the first technique (Zen meditation).

I have strived to include a Is it for me? section, with general observations about each practice. Keep in mind these are tentative; they are there to give some direction, and potentially any person could feel attracted to any of these modalities.

This article does NOT tell you which isthe best type of meditation because there is no such thing, and Im not here to create controversy. Also, I have here focused more on meditative practices; I may write another article on other similar practices, that are more about relaxation or contemplation.

If you are a beginner, you may also enjoy the post on meditation tipsand meditation for beginners how to build the habit.

On the other hand, if you are looking for the historical background of how meditation developed over the centuries, check out my history of meditation article.

By the way, do you want to have a PDF version of this article, for easy future reference?

Scientists usually classify meditation based on the way they focus attention, into two categories: Focused Attention and Open Monitoring. Id like to propose a third: Effortless Presence.

Focusing the attention on a single objectduring the whole meditation session. This object may be the breath, a mantra, visualization, part of the body, external object, etc. As the practitioner advances, his ability to keep the flow of attention in the chosen object gets stronger, and distractions become less common and short-lived. Both the depth and steadiness of his attention are developed.

Examples of these are:Samatha (Buddhist meditation), some forms of Zazen, Loving Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Pranayama, some forms of Qigong, and many others.

Instead of focusing the attention on any one object, we keep it open, monitoring all aspects of our experience, without judgment or attachment. All perceptions, be them internal (thoughts, feelings, memory, etc.) or external (sound, smell, etc.), are recognized and seen for what they are. It is the process of non-reactive monitoring of the content of experience from moment to moment, without going into them. Examples are: Mindfulness meditation, Vipassana, as well as some types of Taoist Meditation.

Its the state where the attention is not focused on anything in particular, but reposes on itself quiet, empty, steady, and introverted. We can also call it Choiceless Awareness or Pure Being. Most of the meditation quotes you find speak of this state.

This is actually the true purpose behind all kinds of meditation, and not a meditation type in itself. All traditional techniques of meditationrecognize that the object of focus, and even the process of monitoring, is just a means to train the mind, so that effortless inner silence and deeper states of consciousness can be discovered. Eventually, both the object of focus and the process itself is left behind, and there is only left the true self of the practitioner, as pure presence.

In some techniques, this is the only focus, from the beginning. Examples are: the Self-Enquiry (I am meditation) of Ramana Maharishi; Dzogchen; Mahamudra; some forms of Taoist Meditation; and some advanced forms of Raja Yoga. In my point of view, this type of meditation always requires previous training to be effective, even though this is sometimes not expressly said (only implied).

Zazen ()means seated Zen, or seated meditation, in Japanese. It has its roots in the Chinese Zen Buddhism (Chan) tradition, tracing back to Indian monk Bodhidharma (6th century CE). In the West, its most popular forms comes from Dogen Zenji (1200~1253), the founder of Soto Zen movement in Japan. Similar modalities are practiced in the Rinzaischool of Zen, in Japan and Korea.

It is generally practiced seated on the floor over a mat and cushion, with crossed legs. Traditionally it was done in the so-called lotus or half-lotusposition, but this is hardly necessary. Nowadays most practitioners sitlike this:

Or on a chair:

Images courtesy of Zen Mountain Monastery

The most important aspect, as you see in the pictures, is keeping the back completely straight, from the pelvis to the neck. Mouth is kept close and eyes are kept lowered, with your gaze resting on the ground about two or three feet in front of you.

As to the mind aspect of it, its usually practiced in two ways:

Learn more:

Zazen is a very sober meditation style, and you can easily find a lot of strong communities practicing it, as well as plenty of information on the internet. There is a lot of emphasis in keeping the right posture, as an aid for concentration. It is usually practiced in Zen Buddhist centers (Sangha), with strong community support.

In many of them you will find it coupled withother elements of Buddhist practice: prostrations, a bit of ritualism,chanting, and group readings of the Buddha teachings. Some people will like this, others wont. Personally, I practiced zazen in a Buddhist group for 3 years, and I found that those elements and a bit of formality can also help create a structure for the practice, and in themselves they are also meditative.

Vipassana is a Pali word that means insight or clear seeing. It is a traditional Buddhist practice,dating back to 6th century BC.Vipassana-meditation, as taught in the last few decades, comes from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, and was popularizedby S. N. Goenka and the Vipassana movement.

Due to the popularity of Vipassan-meditation, the mindfulness of breathing has gained further popularity in the West as mindfulness.

Ideally, one is to siton a cushion on the floor, cross-legged, with your spine erect; alternatively, a chair may be used, but the back should not be supported.

The first aspect is to develop concentration, throughsamatha practice. This is typicallydone through breathing awareness.

Focus all your attention, from moment to moment, on the movement of your breath. Notice the subtle sensations of the movement of the abdomen rising and falling. Alternatively, one can focus on the sensation of the air passing through the nostrils and touching the upper lips skin thoughthis requires a bit more practice, and is more advanced.

As you focus on the breath, you will notice that other perceptions and sensations continue to appear: sounds, feelings in the body, emotions, etc. Simply notice these phenomena as they emerge in the field of awareness, and then return to the sensation of breathing. The attention is kept in the object of concentration (the breathing), while these other thoughts or sensations are there simply as background noise.

The object that is the focus of the practice (for instance, the movement of the abdomen) is called the primary object. And a secondary object is anything else that arises in your field of perception either through your five senses (sound, smell, itchiness in the body, etc.) or through the mind (thought, memory, feeling, etc.). If a secondary object hooks your attention and pulls it away, or if it causes desire or aversion to appear, you should focus on the secondary object for a moment or two, labeling it with a mental note, like thinking, memory, hearing, desiring. This practice is often called noting.

A mental note identifies an object in general but not in detail. When youre aware of a sound, for example, label it hearing instead of motorcycle, voices or barking dog. If an unpleasant sensation arises, note pain or feeling instead of knee pain or my back pain. Then return your attention to the primary meditation object. When aware of a fragrance, say the mental note smelling for a moment or two. You dont have to identify the scent.

When one has thus gained access concentration, the attention is then turned to the object of practice, which is normally thought or bodily sensations. One observes the objects of awareness without attachment, letting thoughts and sensations arise and pass away of their own accord. Mental labeling (explained above) is often use as a way to prevent you from being carried away by thoughts, and keep you in more objectively noticing them.

As a result one develops the clear seeing that the observed phenomena is pervaded by the three marks of existence: impermanence (annica), insatisfactoriness (dukkha) and emptiness of self (annata). As a result, equanimity, peace and inner freedom is developed in relation to these inputs.

Learn more:

Vipassana is an excellent meditation to help you ground yourself in your body, and understand how the processes of your mind work. It is a very popular styleof meditation. You can find plenty of teachers, websites, and books about it, as well as 3~10 days retreats (donation based). The teaching of it is always free.There are no formalities or rituals attached to the practice.

If you are completely new to meditation, Vipassana or Mindfulness are probably good ways for you to start.

Mindfulness Meditation is an adaptation from traditionalBuddhist meditation practices, especially Vipassana, but also having strong influence from otherlineages (such as the VietnameseZen Buddhism from Thich Nhat Hanh).Mindfulness is the common western translation for the Buddhist term sati. Anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing, is part of the Buddhist practice of Vipassana or insight meditation, and other Buddhist meditational practices, such as zazen (source: Wikipedia).

One of the main influencers for Mindfulness in the West is John Kabat-Zinn. His Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductionprogram (MBSR) which he developed in 1979 at theUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School has been used in several hospitals and health clinic on the past decades.

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of intentionally focusing on the present moment,accepting and non-judgmentally paying attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise.

For the formal practice time, sit on a cushion on the floor, or on a chair, with straight and unsupported back. Pay close attention to the movement of your breath. When you breath in, be aware that you are breathing in, and how it feels. When you breath out, be aware you are breathing out. Do like this for the length of your meditation practice, constantly redirecting the attention to the breath. Or you can move on to be paying attention to the sensations, thoughts and feelings that arise.

The effort is to not intentionally add anything to our present moment experience, but to be aware of what is going on, without losing ourselves in anything that arises.

Your mind will get distracted into going along with sounds, sensations, and thoughts. Whenever that happens, gently recognize that you have been distracted, and bring the attention back to the breathing, or to the objective noticing of that thought or sensation. There is a big different between beinginside the thought/sensation, and simplybeing aware of its presence.

Learn to enjoy your practice. Once you are done, appreciate how different the body and mind feel.

There is also the practice of mindfulness during our daily activities: while eating, walking, and talking. For daily life meditation, the practice is to pay attention to what is going on in the present moment, to be aware of what is happening and not living in automatic mode. If you are speaking, that means paying attention to the words you speak, how you speak them, and to listen with presence and attention. If you are walking, that means being more aware of your body movements, your feet touching the ground, the sounds you are hearing, etc.

Your effort in seated practice supports your daily life practice, and vice-versa. They are both equally important.Learn more:

For the general public, this is perhaps the most advisable way to get started with meditation. It is the type of meditation that is most taught at schools and hospitals, as far as I am aware.The mindfulness movement as practiced nowadays in society at large, is not Buddhism, but anadaptation of Buddhist practices due to their benefits ingood physical and mental health and general wellbeing.

For most people, Mindfulness Meditation may be theonly type of meditation they will like, especially if their focus is only the physical and mental benefits of meditation, as it is usuallytaught dissociated from several of the easternconcepts and philosophies that traditionally accompaniedthe practice. And for that it is great it willbring many good thingsto your life.

If your focus is a deeper transformation and spiritual development, however, then mindfulness meditation may be just an initial step for you. From here you can then move into Vipassana, Zazen, or other types of meditation.

Mettais a Pali word that means kindness, benevolence, and good will. This practice comes from the Buddhist traditions, especially theTheravada and Tibetan lineages.Compassion meditation is a contemporary scientific field that demonstrates the efficacy of metta and related meditative practices.

Demonstrated benefits include:boosting ones ability to empathize with others;development of positive emotions through compassion, including a more loving attitude towards oneself; increasedself-acceptance; greater feeling of competence about ones life; and increased feeling of purpose in life (read more in our other post).

One sits down in a meditation position,with closed eyes, and generates in his mind and heart feelings of kindness and benevolence.Start by developing loving-kindness towards yourself, then progressively towards others and all beings. Usually this progression is advised:

The feeling to be developed is that of wishing happiness and well-being for all. This practice may be aided byreciting specific words or sentences that evoke theboundless warm-hearted feeling, visualizing the suffering of others and sending love; or by imagining the state of another being, and wishing him happiness and peace.

The more you practice this meditation, the more joy you will experience. That is the secret of Mathieu Richards happiness.

For one who attends properly to the liberation of the heart by benevolence, unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned. The Buddha

In this article, Emma Seppl, Ph.D explores the 18 scientifically proven benefits of Loving-Kindness meditation.

Learn more:

Are you sometimes too hard on yourself oronothers? Or feel like you need to improve your relationships? Loving-kindness meditation will help you. It is beneficial both for selfless and self-centered people, and it will help increase your general level of happiness. You cannot feel loving-kindness and depression (or any other negative feeling)at the same time.

It is also often recommended, by Buddhist teachers, as anantidoteto insomnia, nightmares, or anger issues.

A mantrais a syllable or word, usually without any particular meaning,that is repeated for the purpose of focusing your mind. It is not an affirmation used to convince yourself of something.

Some meditation teachers insist that both the choice of word, and its correct pronunciation, is very important, due to the vibration associated to the sound and meaning, and that for this reason an initiation into it is essential. Others say that the mantra itself is only a tool to focus the mind, and the chosen word is completely irrelevant.

Mantras are used in Hindu traditions, Buddhist traditions (especially Tibetan and Pure LandBuddhism), as wellas in Jainism, Sikhism and Daoism (Taoism). Somepeople call mantra meditation om meditation, but that is just one of the mantras that can be used.A more devotion oriented practice of mantras is calledjapa, and consists of repeating sacred sounds (name of God) with love.

As most type of meditations, it is usually practiced sitting with spine erect, and eyes closed. The practitioner then repeats the mantra in his mind, silently, over and over again during the whole session.

Sometimes this practice is coupled with being aware of the breathing or coordinating with it. In other exercises, the mantra is actually whispered very lightly and softly, as an aid to concentration.

As you repeat the mantra, it creates a mental vibration that allows the mind to experience deeper levels of awareness. As you meditate, the mantra becomes increasingly abstract and indistinct, until youre finally led into the field of pure consciousness from which the vibration arose.Repetition of the mantra helps you disconnect from the thoughts filling your mind so that perhaps you may slip into the gap between thoughts. The mantra is a tool to support your meditation practice. Mantras can be viewed as ancient power words with subtle intentions that help us connect to spirit, the source of everything in the universe. (Deepak Chopra)

Here are some of the most well-known mantras from the Hindu & Buddhist traditions:

You may practice for a certain period of time, or for a set number of repetitions traditionally 108 or 1008. In the latter case, beads are typically used for keeping count.

As the practice deepens, you may find that the mantra continues by itself like the humming of the mind. Or the mantra may even disappear, and you are left in a state of deep inner peace.

There are many methods of mantra meditation. I explain them in detail, together with why mantras are powerful, on my article on mantra meditation.Learn more:

People usually find that it is easier to focus with a mantra than with the breathing. Because a mantra is a word, and thoughts are usually perceived as words, it can be easier to keep the focus on a mantra rather than on the breathing. It is useful especially when the mind is racing with many thoughts, since it mantra meditation demands constant attention.

Meditating with a mantra can also make it simpler tointegrate your meditative state into your daily life. In whatever activity you find yourself into, it can be as simple as repeating the mantra in your mind.

Transcendental Meditation is a specific form of Mantra Meditation introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1955 in Indiaand the West.In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Maharishi achieved fame as the guru to the Beatles, The Beach Boys and other celebrities.

It is a widely practiced form of meditation, with over 5million practitioners worldwide, and there isa lot of scientific research, many sponsored by the organization, demonstrating the benefits of the practice. There are over 600 scientific papers, many of them peer-reviewed, and I have used part of their research when composing my benefits of meditation page. However, there are also critics of the Maharishi and his organization, and some accusation of cultish behavior and doubtful research practices.

[Image from NurseTalkSite.com]

Transcendental meditation is not taught freely. The only way of learning it is to pay to learn from one of their licensed instructors. The support given seems to be good, though.

In general, however, it is known that TM involves the use of a mantra and is practiced for 1520 minutes twice per day while sitting with ones eyes closed. The mantra is not unique, and is given to the practitioner based on his gender and age. They are also not meaningless sounds rather, they are Tantric names of Hindu deities. This probably is irrelevant for most people.

This is the official site of the movement:TM site.

There is another similar technique,calledNatural Stress Relief, which was created in 2003 by a former TM Teacher, and is much cheaper to learn (47 USD instead of 960 USD), and has stripped out some mystical elements of the practice of TM, such as the initiation (puja) and yogic flying (part of TM-Siddhi). You can learn more about NSR in comparison to TM here and here.

Personally I dont feel comfortable advising anyone to try Transcendental Meditation anymore, especially if you are looking to go deep into meditation. To know more, check out this answer I wrote in Quora.

If you wish to try something similar, for a fraction of the cost or for free, have a look at NSR (above), or Mantra Meditation.

There is not one type of meditation which is Yogic Meditation, so here it is meant the several meditation types taught in the yoga tradition. Yoga means union. Tradition goes as far as 1700 B.C, and has as its highest goal spiritual purification and Self-Knowledge. Classical Yoga divides the practice into rules of conduct (yamas and niyamas), physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and contemplative practicesof meditation (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi).

The Yoga tradition is the oldest meditation tradition on earth, and also the one with the widest variety of practices.

Here are some types of meditation practiced in Yoga. The most commonand universal Yoga meditation one is the third eyemeditation. Other popular ones involve concentrating on a chakra, repeating a mantra, visualization of light, or gazing meditations.

Yoga is a very rich tradition, with different lineages, so there are many other techniques. But the ones above are the most well-known; the others are more specific or complex.

For a start, this video is an excellent resource on how to do Yoga style meditation, and it combines breathing, body awareness, mantra, and chakra meditation.

Learn more:

With all these types of meditation in Yoga, you are likely to find one that you like.If you are a musician, perhaps nada yogais something that will attract you. If you are a devotional person, kriya yogais a good option. Kundalini and Chakra meditation should only be attempted with a teacher.

Probably the simplest one to try is the third eye meditation, which is simple and yieldsresults fairly quickly. For the other types you would probably need more instruction, either of a teacher or a good book (see references above). Besides, Pranayamais definitely something anyone can benefit from.

Self-Enquiry is the English translation for the Sanskrit termatmavichara. It means to investigate our true nature, to find the answer to the Who am I? question, which culminates with the intimate knowledge of our true Self, our true being. We see references to this meditation in very old Indian texts; however, it was greatly popularized and expanded upon by the 20th-century Indian sage Ramana Maharshi (1879~1950).

The modern non-duality movement (or neo-advaita), which is greatly inspired in his teachings as well as those of Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897~1981) and Papaji strongly uses this technique and variations. Many contemporaryteachers to employ this technique, the most famous ones being Mooji (whom Ive personally been with and recommend), Adyashanti, and Eckhart Tolle.

This practice is very simple, but also very subtle. When explaining it, however, it may sound very abstract.

Your sense of I (or ego) is the center of your universe. It is there, in some form or another, behind all your thoughts, emotions, memories, and perceptions. Yet we are not clear about what this I is about who we truly are, in essence and confuse it with our body, our mind, our roles, our labels. Its the biggest mystery in our lives.

With Self-Enquiry, the question Who I am?is asked withinyourself. You must reject any verbal answers that may come, and use this question simply as a tool to fix your attention in the subjective feeling of Ior I am. Become one with it, go deep into it. This will then reveal your true I, your real self as pure consciousness, beyond all limitation. It is not an intellectual pursuit, but a question to bring the attention to the core element of your perception and experience: the I. This is not your personality, but a pure, subjective, feeling of existing without any images or concepts attached to it.Whenever thoughts/feelings arise, you ask yourself, To whom does this arise? or Who is aware of _____ (anger, fear, pain, or whatever)? The answer will be Its me!. From then you ask Who am I?, to bring the attention back to the subjective feeling ofself, of presence. It is pure existence, objectless and choice-less awareness.

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23 Types of Meditation Find The Best Meditation ...

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Mindfulness Meditation – Guided 10 Minutes

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Mindfulness has been shown to be very beneficial. In this guided mindfulness meditation you can learn to be completely present in the moment, letting go of your thoughts and achieving calmness.MP3 Download here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thehonest...

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Mindfulness Meditation - Guided 10 Minutes

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Meditation – Headspace

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Exercise is a form of stress on the body and mind. Weve all fought to overcome flagging willpower during a workout thats our brains telling us to stop stressing our bodies. Surprise! Meditation can help with that, too. For example, football players who frequently practiced meditation during preseason training showed considerably higher mental resilience, better attention, and improved mood over other players.

Meditation has been shown to provide Marines preparing for deployment with a kind of mental armor. Despite intense stresses, meditation exercises improved their mood, their ability to control emotion, and their focus on complex tasks.

General mindfulness research has shown that mindfulness can reduce stress and increase attention and focus, and these are some of the psychological skills required to achieve enhanced athletic performance. Additionally, research on mindfulness and optimal performance, flow state for athletes, shows a powerful alignment. Mindfulness practice, through awareness and acceptance, has been found to be significantly correlated with increased flow in athletes.

A study involving sport shooters showed mindfulness-based interventions decreased pre-competition stress measured by reduced cortisol, and another study involving young golfers showed that mindfulness and acceptance was associated with performance improvement in competition.

The benefits of meditation for sport are no secret to some of the best athletes in the world: Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Carli Lloyd, Trey Burke, Sam Darnold, LeBron James, Derrick Morgan, and many others reportedly have used meditation to boost focus and performance.

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Meditation - Headspace

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Meditating in a hurry.

Have you been meaning to meditate but just haven't gotten around to it? Despite its apparent simplicity, starting a new meditation practice can be intimidating, especially when we are so caught up in our fast-paced and media-saturated lives.

The good news is that practicing meditation only takes a moment.That's right one moment!That's even less than a minute!The skills instilled by mindfulness practices are comprehensive and greatly affect an individuals well-beingas they are repeated over time.

According to the American Psychological Association, the cognitive benefits of meditationinclude enhancedself-control, objectivity, affect tolerance, enhanced flexibility, equanimity, improved concentration and mental clarity, emotional intelligence and the ability to relate to others and ones self with kindness, acceptance and compassion.

Zen blogger,LeoBabauta, claims thatthe mostimportant part of practicing meditationis just creating a daily habit. It doesn't matter how long you meditate each day as long as you do it regularly.

RELATED:Meditation: The 15-Minute Life Changer

And you don't need anything to get started. You can practice mindfulness anywhere and at any time. It doesn't take any great time sacrifice or complicated yogic positions. You can practice mindfulness while waiting in line, during commercial breaks or when walking into a room by pausing to take a deep breath.

Even a few moments of meditation can help you refocus, negate stress and feel more relaxed.Spending a few moments to meditatecan lead toremarkable short-term and long-term changes in the brain.

We all know that we act out in illogical ways when we are stressed. In his book, "Emotional Intelligence" (1996), author Daniel Golemandescribed this concept as the "amygdala hijack." Our amygdala is the control seat of our emotions and initiates the fear response(i.e., the "fight or flight" response).

In our caveman days this reaction was quite handy in the case we came across a saber-toothed tiger that was ready to eat us. In the modern day, though, we still deal with stressors in our environmentthat are arguably much less dangerous.

Imagine that you are late getting ready for work. The traffic is backed up and you get stuck behind a car going 10 miles under the speed limit. Your breath begins to quicken and you feel your blood startto boil.

As you finally pull into work, you sprint hurriedly into the office. Your boss is (of course) waiting toremind you that you are late. You are quickly inundated with a series of work tasks that have already piled up.Even after you have caught up on work, you may still feel that your nerves are on edge and cannot stop your heart from racing.

RELATED:The Real Reason Your Relationship Lacks Intimacy ( Plus A Guided Meditation To Get It Back)

As you can see, even long after the initial stressful event, you find that your stress interferes with your ability to focus and to talk to clients in a calm manner. This is because you are suffering from an "amygdala hijack hangover." Even after the immediate stress-inducing event, your parasympathetic system (the body's stress response)can be amped up forfour hours afterward, flooding your body with adrenaline and cortisol.

One easy way to do this is to utilizemindfulness.

RELATED:How Meditation Yes, Meditation Led Me To True Love

Just by taking a few deep and mindful breaths, you can successfully and quickly distance yourself from the situation and help your body to calm itself down. You can quit being the victim of an amygdala hijack!

The more you practice mindful awareness, the easier it will become to initiate the relaxation response. This is due to the fact that each time you exercise these responses,the more you forge new and beneficiallong-lasting changes in theneuropathwaysof your brain.

Researchers at Harvard utilized MRI technology to find that, when engaging in meditation just 27 minutes per day, both long-term meditators and people with no meditation experience showed decreased the grey matter density in the amygdala, and an increase of grey matteraround the hippocampusthe region of the brain responsible for compassion, self-awarenessand introspection.

A regular meditation practice has even been shown to have an effect on our genes. Research on epigenetics, or gene expression,have shown that it strengthens those genes known to control the stress response, thus making an individual more resilient to stress overall.

This can be seen in extreme cases such as PTSD-triggering events, which recent research has shown that meditation can actually alter the genetic transcription of neurons in areas like the amgydala and hippocampus. This wiring process occurs whether we are aware of it or not, and results in habitual ways of thinking and behaving.

The good news is that one can engage in "self-directed neuroplasticity" by intentionally engaging in mindfulness practices which, with repeated practice, can lead to a rewiring of the neural pathways in the brain for the better.

This change, in combination with the mind-body connection, can alter our entire body and can reduce rates of contracting life-threatening illnesses that may be caused by stress. For example, according to a health intervention study taken over five years among patients at risk for prostate cancer, researchers found that meditationmay even contribute to increasing the telomerelength of our genes, which the study states "is a prognostic marker of aging, disease, and premature morbidity."

So, if you are thinking of trying meditation, stop yourself before booking a flight to a remote hilltop in the Himalayasor purchasingthat expensive meditation cushion online (although they are incredibly comfy). There are many well-founded mindfulness practices you can try, but this is a simple one you can do RIGHT NOW. It only takes a moment.

RELATED:The One Word You Need To Hear When You're About To Lose It, Per Your Zodiac Sign

Brianna Androff is a journalist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a special interest in science writing, particularly within the field of Psychology, and has also written content on trending topics, pop culture and astrology.

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I love health tech gadgets. But my infatuation typically fades when the novelty wears off (looking at you, Fitbit).

There's one device I've been using for almost three years that has truly changed my life. And the company recently released a newer version with more features.

It's called Muse. It's a meditation sensing device. Muse uses audio feedback to guide you into a super calm, focused state. As you quiet your mind, the feedback wind/weather sounds grows quieter until you hear birds chirp.

The updated device, Muse 2, has added a bunch of new forms of meditation: body movement, heart rate sensing, breath sensing. Each one is better than the last.

Read: I went to the biggest tech show in the world after not going for the past 7 years and the tech I saw was shockingly old news

This device and its accompanying app has taught me how to become truly calm on command, teaching me to go from anxious to settled, still, calm, focused, relaxed and then to sleepy often in less than 10 minutes and sometimes in less than 5.

I not only sleep better, I sleep better when traveling or in noisy conditions. I can also calm myself if I feel panicky which happens when I'm stressed or overtired.

I've been using Muse 2 for a couple of months and I've found a whole new level of mental peace.

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Lultime Meditation opinion you have Survey

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Meditation | 3HO Foundation

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Meditation in Kundalini Yoga contains specific, practical tools that carefully and precisely support the mind and guide the body through the use of breath, mantra, mudra, and focus. The range and variety of meditation techniques in the Kundalini Yoga tradition is truly extraordinary. Yogi Bhajan passed on hundreds of meditations tailored to specific applications. There are meditations that reduce stress, work on addictions, increase vitality, and clear chakras, to name a few.While there exist many, many styles and approaches to meditation, what sets this approach to meditation apart is its precision, effectiveness, and practicality.

Meditation is a process...At any time which is peaceful (the best is the early morning time, before the dawn),youll be surprised that in a couple of minutes a lot of thoughts will start coming to youthe X-rated thoughts, the ugly, angry thoughts. If you let those thoughts pass by, this is meditation.All those thoughts that can pass at that moment of your life can never enter your subconscious mind, and they will not bother you again.This procedure of cleansing the mind is called meditation...It takes about three minutes to get those kinds of thoughts. And sometimes they continue to bug you for about half an hour. But,if you physically dont move, the mind becomes still.That is the foundation, or the beginning of the meditative mind.Once your mind starts becoming still and not having any thoughts, you will feel cozy,and that coziness cannot be described even by me. All I can tell you is that it is very comfortable, it is very cozy, and you will want to do it again and again. But in the beginning you cannot do it for a long time. Gradually, as you develop that coziness, this thought-hitting process becomes shorter and shorter.~Yogi Bhajan, 2/21/78

There is a myth that when you sit down you should be able to quiet your mind. The mind generates thousands of thoughts per second. When you sit quietly and turn the focus inward, you become very aware of what is going on in the background of your mind. Distractions are the rule. Just keep going back to the mantra or other points of focus. Do not evaluate or react to the extraneous thoughts. Let them be processed by the mantra. Have patience with yourself.

Meditation can frequently be blissful or very cozy as the meditative mind establishes a place of elevated consciousness. Sometimes meditation can be downright miserable. Meditation is a cleansing process. You may find yourself observing some very unpleasant, ugly thoughts while youre meditating. The important thing is, keep up! The mantras and meditations are doing their job. Youre cleaning out and getting rid of negativity that has been covering up the divine light inside you.

"A person who has the patience to allow the mind to go through its antics while remaining firmly planted, will experience something. That something is different for each individual, but it will be, in some way or another, a reawakening of the self. With this new awareness comes inner change, then outer change."~Shakti Parwha Kaur

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Why You Should Consider Meditation

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The study and practice of meditation is on the rise, where the physical and psychological benefits are applicable to just about anybody.

Meditation and mindfulness go hand in hand to resolve mind body complications and symptoms during your sleeping life and your waking life. But first off, it is important to know the distinction between mindfulness and meditation, and how the two overlap in improving overall mind and body wellbeing within an individual.

What is mindfulness versus meditation?

Mindfulness is an active, daily process of focusing on the present moment and existing within it. You are present by being fully aware of your physical body as well as any thoughts and feelings that happen inside your mind and body.

Mindfulness is the ability to identify each thought as it passes through your mind, where you objectively identify them without judging or criticizing each thought. Mindfulness can be achieved through both mental and physical exercises and routines that strive to improve your mind-body relationship.

Mindfulness and meditation have a mirror-like relationship with each other: mindfulness supports and enhances meditation, and meditation supports and broadens mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice you can use continually through the day, whereas meditation is practiced in specific time intervals.

With mindfulness, the focus is on awareness, whereas with meditation, the goal is to clear your mind of everything. The two go hand in hand however, especially when it comes to helping you sleep. Sleep is a vital function of your body that should not be ignored, where sleep deprivation can lead to a number of problems.

Mindfulness and meditation together help in three major ways with regard to sleep problems:

  • Mindfulness and meditation work together to combat stress through retraining your body to elicit the relaxation response instead of fight or flight, which can be brought on by chronic stress.  The high cortisol levels associated with fight or flight makes it impossible to sleep, where mindfulness and meditation practices help reduce these high cortisol levels so your body is able to sleep.
  • Mindfulness and meditation strengthen different regions of the brain. Studies show that both disciplines have a direct impact on neural structure and functioning. This impact also reaches the part of the brain associated with REM sleep.
  • They together increase melatonin levels as well. Research shows that meditating before bed leads to increased amounts of melatonin, the neurochemical called the ‘sleep hormone,’ which makes sleep possible.

Physical and Psychological Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are many, besides your sleep quality, where the same physical and psychological benefits that help you sleep also help your waking life.

  • Physical benefits include: growing your brain; increasing blood flow to your brain; reducing blood pressure and heart rate; increasing production of serotonin and dopamine; boosting immune system, relaxing your muscles, and slowing the aging process.
  • Psychological benefits include: reducing stress induced anxiety and depression; increasing stress resilience; increasing positive emotions; stimulating the prefrontal cortex that helps with present moment awareness; increasing emotional stability and intelligence; increasing learning capacity; increasing empathy and compassion; increasing sense of connection to yourself and others in your life; increasing sense of meaning and purpose; and increasing sociability.

The practice of meditation must be ongoing as part of a daily routine, where the benefits will start to show even immediately but especially over a period of time. You have nothing to lose - give it a shot!

 

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Meditation 101: Techniques, Benefits, and a … – Gaiam

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Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. But many meditation techniques exist so how do you learn how to meditate?

In Buddhist tradition, the word meditation is equivalent to a word like sports in the U.S. Its a family of activities, not a single thing, University of Wisconsin neuroscience lab director Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., told The New York Times. And different meditation practices require different mental skills.

Its extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an empty mind. We have some tools such as a beginner mediation DVD or a brain sensing headband to help you through this process when you are starting out. In general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration.

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations.

In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.

Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.

In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.

There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion. There are also moving meditation techniques, such as tai chi, qigong, and walking meditation.

If relaxation is not the goal of meditation, it is often a result. In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, MD, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School, coined the term relaxation response" after conducting research on people who practiced transcendental meditation. The relaxation response, in Bensons words, is an opposite, involuntary response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.

Since then, studies on the relaxation response have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:

Contemporary researchers are now exploring whether a consistent meditation practice yields long-term benefits, and noting positive effects on brain and immune function among meditators. Yet its worth repeating that the purpose of meditation is not to achieve benefits. To put it as an Eastern philosopher may say, the goal of meditation is no goal. Its simply to be present.

In Buddhist philosophy, the ultimate benefit of meditation is liberation of the mind from attachment to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or strong internal emotions. The liberated or enlightened practitioner no longer needlessly follows desires or clings to experiences, but instead maintains a calm mind and sense of inner harmony.

This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.

Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.

Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods. If youd like to follow along with a Meditation for Beginners DVD, we can help with that.

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Transcendental Meditation – Wikipedia

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Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of silent mantra meditation called the Transcendental Meditation technique,[1] and less commonly to the organizations that constitute the Transcendental Meditation movement.[1][2] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced the TM technique and TM movement in India in the mid-1950s.

The Maharishi taught thousands of people during a series of world tours from 1958 to 1965, expressing his teachings in spiritual and religious terms.[3][4] TM became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as the Maharishi shifted to a more technical presentation, and his meditation technique was practiced by celebrities. At this time, he began training TM teachers and created specialized organizations to present TM to specific segments of the population such as business people and students. By the early 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of people, and the worldwide TM organization had grown to include educational programs, health products, and related services.

The TM technique involves the use of a sound called a mantra, and is practiced for 1520 minutes twice per day. It is taught by certified teachers through a standard course of instruction, which costs a fee that varies by country. According to the Transcendental Meditation movement, it is a non-religious method for relaxation, stress reduction, and self-development. The technique has been seen as both religious and non-religious; sociologists, scholars, and a New Jersey judge and court are among those who have expressed views.[4][5][6] The United States Court of Appeals upheld the federal ruling that TM was essentially "religious in nature" and therefore could not be taught in public schools.[7][8]

TM is one of the most widely practiced and researched meditation techniques.[9][10][11] It is not possible to say whether it has any effect on health as the research, as of 2007, is of poor quality.[12][13]

Transcendental Meditation dates its origin back to the Vedic traditions of India.[14] The Transcendental Meditation program and the Transcendental Meditation movement originated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the organization, and continue beyond his death in 2008. In 1955,[15][16][17] "the Maharishi began publicly teaching a traditional meditation technique"[18] learned from his master Brahmananda Saraswati that he called Transcendental Deep Meditation[19] and later renamed Transcendental Meditation.[20]The Maharishi initiated thousands of people, then developed a TM teacher training program as a way to accelerate the rate of bringing the technique to more people.[20][21] He also inaugurated a series of world tours which promoted Transcendental Meditation.[22] These factors, coupled with endorsements by celebrities who practiced TM and claims that scientific research had validated the technique, helped to popularize TM in the 1960s and 1970s. By the late 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of individuals and the Maharishi was overseeing a large multinational movement.[23] Despite organizational changes and the addition of advanced meditative techniques in the 1970s,[24] the Transcendental Meditation technique has remained relatively unchanged.

Among the first organizations to promote TM were the Spiritual Regeneration Movement and the International Meditation Society. In modern times, the movement has grown to encompass schools and universities that teach the practice,[25] and includes many associated programs based on the Maharishi's interpretation of the Vedic traditions. In the U.S., non-profit organizations included the Students International Meditation Society,[26] AFSCI,[27] World Plan Executive Council, Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation, Global Country of World Peace and Maharishi Foundation.[28] The successor to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and leader of the Global Country of World Peace, is Tony Nader.[29][30]

The meditation practice involves the use of a mantra for 1520 minutes twice per day while sitting with the eyes closed. [31][32] It is reported to be one of the most widely practiced,[33][34] and among the most widely researched, meditation techniques,[9][10][11][35] with hundreds of published research studies.[36][37][38] The technique is made available worldwide by certified TM teachers in a seven-step course,[39] and fees vary from country to country.[40][41] Beginning in 1965, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been incorporated into selected schools, universities, corporations, and prison programs in the US, Latin America, Europe, and India. In 1977 a US district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.[5][42] The technique has since been included in a number of educational and social programs around the world.[43]

The Transcendental Meditation technique has been described as both religious and non-religious, as an aspect of a new religious movement, as rooted in Hinduism,[44][45] and as a non-religious practice for self-development.[46][47][48] The public presentation of the TM technique over its 50-year history has been praised for its high visibility in the mass media and effective global propagation, and criticized for using celebrity and scientific endorsements as a marketing tool. Also, advanced courses supplement the TM technique and include an advanced meditation program called the TM-Sidhi program.[49]

The Transcendental Meditation movement refers to the programs and organizations connected with the Transcendental Meditation technique and founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Transcendental Meditation was first taught in the 1950s in India and has continued since the Maharishi's death in 2008. The organization was estimated to have 900,000 participants worldwide in 1977,[50] a million by the 1980s,[51][52][53] and 5 million in more recent years,[54][55][56][57][58][59][60] including some notable practitioners.

Programs include the Transcendental Meditation technique, an advanced meditation practice called the TM-Sidhi program ("Yogic Flying"), an alternative health care program called Maharishi Ayurveda,[61] and a system of building and architecture called Maharishi Sthapatya Ved.[62][63] The TM movement's past and present media endeavors include a publishing company (MUM Press), a television station (KSCI), a radio station (KHOE), and a satellite television channel (Maharishi Channel). During its 50-year history, its products and services have been offered through a variety of organizations, which are primarily nonprofit and educational. These include the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, the International Meditation Society, World Plan Executive Council, Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation, the Global Country of World Peace, and the David Lynch Foundation.

The TM movement also operates a worldwide network of Transcendental Meditation teaching centers, schools, universities, health centers, herbal supplements, solar panel, and home financing companies, plus several TM-centered communities. The global organization is reported to have an estimated net worth of USD 3.5 billion.[64][65] The TM movement has been characterized in a variety of ways and has been called a spiritual movement, a new religious movement,[66][67] a millenarian movement, a world affirming movement,[68] a new social movement,[69] a guru-centered movement,[70] a personal growth movement,[71] a religion, and a cult.[67][72][73][need quotation to verify] Additional sources contend that TM and its movement are not a cult.[74][75][76][77] Participants in TM programs are not required to adopt a belief system; it is practiced by atheists, agnostics and people from a variety of religious affiliations.[78][79][80][81] The organization has also been criticized as well as praised for its public presentation and marketing techniques throughout its 50-year history.

The first studies of the health effects of Transcendental Meditation appeared in the early 1970s.[82] Robert Keith Wallace, the founding president of Maharishi University of Management, published a study in Science in 1970 reporting that TM induced distinct physiologic changes and a novel state of consciousness in practitioners.[83] In contrast, a 1976 study by independent researchers found that TM was biochemically similar to sitting with one's eyes closed.[84] A second 1976 study of five subjects found that TM practitioners spent much of their meditation time napping rather than in the unique "wakeful hypometabolic state" described by Wallace.[85] By 2004 the US government had given more than $20 million to Maharishi University of Management to study the effect of meditation on health.[86]

It is not possible to say whether meditation has any effect on health, as the research is of poor quality,[12][13] and is marred by a high risk for bias due to the connection of researchers to the TM organization and by the selection of subjects with a favorable opinion of TM.[87][88][89] Most independent systematic reviews have not found health benefits for TM exceeding those produced by other relaxation techniques or health education.[12][90][91] A 2013 statement from the American Heart Association said that TM could be considered as a treatment for hypertension, although other interventions such as exercise and device-guided breathing were more effective and better supported by clinical evidence.[92] A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found no evidence that mantra meditation programs such as TM were effective in reducing psychological stress or improving well-being.[93][94] A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis found that TM may effectively reduce blood pressure compared to a control groups, although the underlying studies may have been biased and further studies with better designs are needed to confirm these results.[95] A 2014 Cochrane review found that it was impossible to draw any conclusions about whether TM is effective in preventing cardiovascular disease, as the scientific literature on TM was limited and at "serious risk of bias".[96]

In the 1960s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described a paranormal effect claiming a significant number of individuals (1% of the people in a given area) practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) could have an effect on the local environment.[97] This hypothetical influence was later termed the Maharishi Effect. With the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program in 1976, the Maharishi proposed that the square root of one percent of the population practicing the TM-Sidhi program, together at the same time and in the same place, would increase "life-supporting trends". This was referred to as the "Extended Maharishi Effect".[98][99] Evidence, which TM practitioners[100] believe supports the existence of the effect, has been said to lack a causal basis.[101] The evidence was said to result from cherry-picked data[102] and the credulity of believers.[101][103]

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