Daily meditation is key if you want to reap the highly acclaimed benefits of meditation. It means finding some time every day to be with yourself. It happens when meditation becomes part of you, almost a physiological need, like eating, sleeping and breathing. A point comes when, if you skip your daily meditation, you will feel different, as if something good is missing. In our current fast-paced world, the scarcest resource available to most people is time. This article helps you understand why daily meditation is important to improve your life and how to make meditation an essential part of your daily routine, even if you think you have no time for it.
Why People Need Meditation?
Meditation has become a buzz word nowadays. It is practised by CEOs of big companies and it has been incorporated within corporate well-being programmes in a number of organisations. Many sport people and professional athletes include meditation in their tool-box to improve their performances. The Media are also paying lots of attention to meditation and it is no longer confined to the New Age circle. Today meditation is spreading in popularity across the health conscious movement and general public.
Daily meditation is needed today more than ever in the history of humankind. Thousands of years ago meditation was a spiritual path for mystics and monks. Nowadays meditation is no more an esoteric discipline, rather the most powerful stress-relief tool available. Modern life is very demanding on the nervous system, which needs to constantly process an enormous amount of information. People’s minds and senses are overstimulated and chronic overstimulation leads to stress, and stress leads to poor health. Today, daily meditation is not a spiritual path or a religious call, it is a necessity to ease the mind. Daily meditation is needed to relax, de-excite the nervous system, unclutter the mind from constant stream of thoughts, leading to improved sleep quality and better performance in life.
What are the benefits of daily meditation?
The main reason why meditation is becoming so popular and is gaining such traction, comes down to an increasing body of scientific evidence which demonstrates the objective benefits of a regular meditation practice. Meditation has been practised in the East for thousands of years and Western science is now catching up to its benefits. Advances in technology allow scientists to collect data, which were not available just 50 years ago. And this opens up huge possibilities for the future of medicine and well-being.
Studies show that daily meditation can help reduce stress-related condition such as:
- High blood pressure
- Chronic fatigue
Meditation can help to experience a deep state of relaxation that changes physical and emotional responses to stress: decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, calmer breathing and muscle tension reduction. And more recently, very interesting studies show that daily meditation can stimulate neurogenesis and influence genetic expression. In these studies, meditators exhibit an increase in anti-oxidant production, telomerase activity and oxidative stress; meaning that meditation has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects.
Moreover, brain scan technology has shown that daily meditation can literally change your brain. Studies show an increased activity of the prefrontal cortex and decrease activity of the limbic system (i.e. amygdala, the “danger sensor”, part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight stress response). Regions of the brain associated with attention, memory and sensory processing have been shown to be thicker in daily meditators. The interesting fact is that these changes are not temporary, and can re-wire brain pathways in the long-term, thus altering brain structure permanently.
How to meditate?
Meditation is a natural state of being and cannot be forced. However, due to our hectic lifestyle and chronic mind stimulation, it has become very difficult to experience a deep sense of relaxation. For this reason, a meditation technique is necessary to train the body/mind to relax. Meditation typically involves sitting crossed legs and focusing your attention to your breathing or chanting a mantra or visualising some image. These methods are based on ancient Eastern wisdom, and have been created thousands of years ago, when people used to live an agriculture type of life. Fortunately, there is a modern meditation method available today: it is called Active Meditation and it has been designed to address the obstacles to meditation of the modern urban man. Active Meditation involves fast breathing, body movement, emotional expression, shaking and activation of energy. Normally an Active Meditation session goes like this:
- Start in a standing position
- Breathe fast and deeply to oxygenate your body and expel carbon dioxide and toxin
- Move your body to release muscular tension
- Use voice and body vigorous body movement to express emotions
- Jump to activate energy
- Feel grateful and dance to release bliss chemicals
- Lie down or sit silently to enjoy the inner state of relaxation
More about Active Meditation at the end of this article.
How to find a good teacher?
The world of meditation is not formally regulated as such. There is no official regulatory body that sets guidelines for meditation teachers. For this reason, it is important to choose your teacher carefully. Given that qualification is of course preferable, but not predictive of good results, choose a teacher with experience and proven track record of helping people. Considering that meditation is a subjective experience, it is important that you feel at ease and resonate with your meditation teacher. When it comes to meditation, you can learn the technique in few classes but what makes the difference is your adherence to the practice. Hence the teacher is very important as a source of inspiration. The teacher can support and guide you, especially in those moments when obstacles arise and resistances kick in.
Different types of meditation (and the best style!)
There are a number of different meditation techniques which suit different types of people. It is recommended to try few and pick what works best for you. It is important to stick to a particular method for at least 3 days; if it clicks, then try the same method for 3 weeks continuously. And if that works, go for 3 months’ consecutive practice, to obtain long-term effects. Neuro-scientists say that it takes between 60 to 90 days for the brain to form and consolidate new neural pathways. So remember, daily meditation is the formula for success.
Below you will find a list of some meditation technique available today:
- Active Meditation
- Tai Chi
- Qi Gong
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Transcendental Meditation
- Yoga Pranayama
The modern endemic sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor to a whole array of medical conditions. The body is designed to move, not to sit in front of a computer for hours every day. Active Meditation has the advantage of combining the benefit of fitness and meditation. It is a high-intensity meditation and high-energy workout. It includes dynamic breathing, emotional expression, shaking and energy activation, followed by deep relaxation. You do not have to sit and force relaxation onto yourself. Sitting like a Buddha does not make you a Buddha. Active Meditation is meditation for the modern man. It can help you perform better in real life, enjoy life a lot more and improve health. It gets you moving, active and energetic. If you have tried a traditional meditation and it did not work, it is not your fault. You might have tried the wrong type of meditation. Ancient techniques were not designed to handle modern stress and modern lifestyle’s challenges. Active Meditation is fun, enjoyable and immediately effective. You do not need to struggle between going to the Gym and squeeze time for your daily meditation. Active Meditation saves you time and helps you make meditation a daily practice. Your body needs movement, your mind needs relaxation. Combine the benefits of an aerobic workout with deep relaxation by including Active Meditation into your daily routine.
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