Meditation covers a number of techniques and it has been scientifically proven that any form of regular meditation calms the mind, reduces anxiety, stress and depression. Meditation enhances happiness, health and vitality. Ask anyone who meditates and they’ll tell you it makes them feel more peaceful, healthier and energetic.
On the physical level, meditation helps lower the risk of heart diseases, reduce blood pressure and bring relief from asthmatic problems, chronic fatigue, ME and migraines.
Whilst meditating, brainwaves change to a unique pattern which is associated with deep relaxation, this peaceful yet aware state is the aspect that distinct meditation from sleep or hypnosis, allowing breathing to slow, blood pressure to drop and your body to rest.
Meditation generally focuses on something in the present, such as your breath or a mantra. When we focus on a single word, thought or image, we close down the internal babble that fills our brains and create instead a state of tranquillity that increases our mental alertness, while soothing the other systems in our body.
Breathing is something we take for granted and do thousand of times a day without even thinking about it. And this is precisely the problem, we never stop and think how remarkable and valuable the breath is in giving our body the oxygen and energy it needs. Stressful modern lifestyles mean that many people have a habit of taking only shallow breaths, which don’t properly energise the body properly. Breathing can be used as a means to enhance health, helping to ease fatigue, panic and stress.
Its well worth sparing 5 minutes daily, preferably outside in the fresh air, taking deep breaths, right down to the diaphragm so your whole chest cavity expands in all directions like a balloon being inflated permitting all of your lungs to fill with air. qigong and tai chi exercises are excellent for this.
During meditation, the governing left part of the brain, linked with verbal, analytic and rational thought, becomes less active, and the right hemisphere, linked to intuition, creativity and emotion, increases activity. This readjusting appears to reduce the demands being processed by the brain, so the body balances and immune functions therefore are boosted.
To meditate successfully all you need is the will, self-discipline and enthusiasm to practice daily. You don’t have to be religious to meditate and anyone can learn. Although it is an ancient spiritual discipline, it belongs to no specific religion.
You can meditate while sitting or walking, practising qigong, tai chi or yoga. Using tai chi or qigong to meditate will suit those who struggle to sit still on a chair.