Meditating has been a form of healing and self-care for thousands of years.
Every culture has indulged in meditation in some way, although the best-known approach stems from India and is an integral part of yoga. Yoga, meaning union or to yolk, is actually one of three Vedic paths to nirvana (or escaping the cycle of re-incarnation).
Yoga, as it’s well known in the west, is usually asana, or postures. These asanas were designed so that ancient yogis could sit in seated meditation for hours (after all, you don’t want your legs cramping up while you’re trying to meditate).
However, meditating for hours is rarely recommended. Instead, practicing mindful awareness while limiting distractions for up to 30 minutes is best. Otherwise, it’s nearly guaranteed that most westerners will get distracted.
Why does meditation heal and how can we bring it into reasonable daily practice?
Meditation is the practice of looking inward and acknowledging thoughts as they approach (they will) and sending them away.
Some light distractions, such as counting mala beads, can help. Others prefer candle gazing.
There are countless tools to meditation, and one of the most common is pranayama (breath control) which can also be common in western yoga classes.
Pranayama also comes in a wide variety. One of the most simple is three-part breathing where you practice equal parts inhale, holding, and exhaling. All of these tools are designed to increase the odds of a successful meditation practice. Remember: the goal of meditation isn’t a blank mind. That’s rarely possible, especially for prolonged periods of time. The goal is to lessen stimulation and look inward.
Meditation can help lower blood pressure because it’s a calming practice. Since high blood pressure is related to heart disease, the top killer of women in the US, that’s reason enough alone to add it into your daily rituals. Also, bear in mind that meditation doesn’t need to last 30 minutes – even one minute of mindfulness (preferably in a seated position so you don’t slip into a nap) can be beneficial.
Many addicts say meditation was a key part of their recovery.
It can help redirect the mind as is known as a means of easing cravings and dangerous habits. It takes regular practice of any habit, good or bad, for it to form (some say 30 days or another arbitrary number, but it can vary by weeks based on the person).
When pursuing refuge recovery, meditation can be a powerful tool for coping and taking control of one’s life.
Meditation is a stress relief tool, which is critical as many westerners are highly stressed and working around the clock. This can lead to breakouts, anxiety and depression, and a host of mental and physical conditions.
Most people can’t “check out” of modern society, but implementing some ancient tools of self-care can be a great option. Find out what meditation can do for you, and keep in mind you may need to try a few strategies before finding the right fit.