What happens when you think about meditation? Your mind will show you picture of person sitting in cross legged half lotus posture, wont it? We all know about meditation. Most of us must have practiced the same. But what is meditation? Are meditation relaxation techniques? Meditation is result of our quest to train or control our mind. People have been using various meditation techniques to relax mind. Spirituality believes meditation is way to reach out to super forces and enable power within our body. Sanskrit word Dhyan or Buddhist Zen mean absorption or meditative state.
Buddha was once asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing. However let me tell you waht I have lost: Anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”
Whatever may be the reason, meditation works wonders on body. In order to be stress free, calm, joyous and peaceful, there is nothing better than meditation. The power of meditation just doesn’t end with reducing stress, but goes on to provide you with better health, positivity in life, greater energy and many more benefits. Relaxation is always good for your body and health. In fact recent studies conducted at the Harvard Medical School found out that practicing meditation and other relaxation techniques for a long time helped in activating genes that fight diseases or disorders like infertility, pain, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis. The studies showed that with relaxation, the genes that destroy diseased cells, fight inflammation, and protect you from diseases like cancer were also triggered. Meditation also helps in increasing your immunity and in relieving the effects of stress on your body.
Health benefits of Meditation
Meditation offers several health benefits, both mentally and physically. In order to experience these benefits, regular practice of meditation is very important.
Meditation boosts your immunity
It is important that you have a strong and healthy immune system to fight off the various disease causing germs and microbes. It has been proven that meditation helps in strengthening your immune system. Research indicates that meditation improves the functioning of your brain and also increases the level of antibodies in your body, thereby improving your immune system. Stress is a major factor that can weaken your immunity. By reducing stress, meditation also helps in protecting you from the damages that can be caused by stress.
Meditation for treating infertility
Millions of people around the world suffer from fertility problems and seek medical assistance that is very expensive, in order to have a child. Good news is that natural methods like meditation have been found to be very effective in solving infertility. Stress and mental tension has been associated with reduces sperm count and motility leading to decreased chances of conceiving. Meditation is a great way to relieve stress and to help you relax. It also increases your blood flow, which helps in conceiving and also in improving your health.
Meditation improves emotional health
Apart from reducing stress, meditation is helpful in maintaining good emotional health. It helps in reducing anxiety and depression. It helps in making you emotionally stable and in improving your relationships. During tension, a few minutes of meditation can help you relax, calm down and have peace of mind. It helps in improving your focus and concentration, and also helps you attain a better perspective of life. All these are needed for the emotional well being of a person.
Meditation helps with digestion
Meditation has been found to be very effective in relieving digestive problems like bloating, cramps, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Stress can negatively affect our bodily functions in many ways. One of them is by introducing poor eating habits and bringing havoc to your digestion. Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and increases blood supply to all parts of your body including your digestive system. This can improve your digestion and prevent problems related to your digestive system.
Meditation can help control weight gain
Many people turn to food, especially fatty and high sugar foods for comfort when they are faced with stress and emotional problems. If these problems are not dealt with effectively, it can lead to overeating and putting on pounds. This is where the power of meditation comes in to help. Regular meditation can help relieve stress, anxiety, depression or any worries that can lead to emotional pain and breakdown.
Meditation lowers blood pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure contributes to one of the main causes of health problems including stroke, heart attack, and heart diseases. Stress is a major causative factor of high blood pressure. Meditation can help lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy and normal blood pressure by reducing stress and anxiety. Studies reveal that meditation helps to lower the stress hormones and reduce the negative effects of stress on your body. Once you are able to get your stress is under control, the stress hormone levels are back to the normal state and your blood pressure is lowered.
Meditation can lower cholesterol levels
Although a certain level of cholesterol is essential for your body, too much of it can be bad for your health. When there is a surfeit of cholesterol in your body, the excess amount starts accumulating in the blood, leading to the formation of plaque. As a result, your arteries and blood vessels get clogged, obstructing the free circulation of blood. Improper blood supply can lead to decreased supply of oxygen leading to conditions like stroke and cardiovascular problems. It has been found that stress plays a key role in increasing cholesterol levels. Meditation, being a powerful stress-buster can lower stress and hence lower cholesterol levels.
Meditation and heart health
A few minutes of relaxation and meditation can reduce your risks of heart problems to a great extent. When you are under stress, your body produces adrenaline, a hormone that can cause rapid breathing, and increase your blood pressure and heart beat rate. Meditation helps to relieve stress and lets you be in a relaxed state of mind. The relaxation helps lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate and breathing and decreasing metabolism.
Meditation for pain relief
Chronic pain can be excruciating and debilitating. Although there are many drugs that deliver pain relief, they are often associated with serious side effects. Moreover, you become dependent on the drugs for relief, which can lead to other health problems in the long run. Recent studies show that meditation is a very effective way to relieve pain without having to worry about the various side effects caused by the use of chemical drugs and medications. Meditation helps you to relax and to focus your mind on things other than the pain. It may not deliver results right away, but once you master the skill of meditation, you will start to have a control over the situation. Meditation also helps in healing. Studies show that healing through mediation techniques is possible.
Meditation inhibits the aging process
Regular meditation helps in rejuvenating your mind and body and in reversing the negative effects caused by aging. Stress is a major contributor of aging, as it affects your digestion, immune system, and sleep. Meditation helps in slowing down the aging process by reducing stress, calming your mind, improving digestion and by helping you sleep better. Medical research has also proven that regular meditation helps in increasing the production of melatonin in your body, which is an essential hormone that aids in slowing down the aging process and in preventing the damage caused by aging.
Meditation for migraines and headaches
Headaches are often caused by stress and anxiety and there are many chronic sufferers who wish for a solution to get them out of the misery. Meditation helps in letting go of stress and anxiety, making your calm and relaxed. When there is no stress and tension in your life the chances of developing migraines and headaches are considerably reduced. Headaches caused by bodily tension can also be relieved with meditation as it helps in relaxing not only your mind, but also your body.
Improve skin resistance with meditation
The skin is the largest organ in your body that serves many purposes like protecting your internal organs, providing insulation to your body, etc. Maintaining good health of your skin is therefore very important. Meditation accelerates the process of cell regeneration and strengthens your skin, thereby helping in improving the health of your skin. Stress is a main factor that can affect your skin health. Practicing meditation regularly is a great way to reduce stress and eliminate all stress related issues.
Meditation can benefit cancer patients
Meditation has proven to be highly beneficial for people suffering from cancer. Research has shown that it can improve the quality of life of cancer patients by relieving certain symptoms associated with the disease. Although there is no evidence that indicates meditation helps in preventing, treating or curing cancer, it has been found to be useful for improving concentration, improving mood, reducing stress and improving immune functions.
Meditation helps in reducing free radicals
The free radicals formed inside your body are capable of attacking cells, causing damage to them and eventually killing them. This can lead to early aging and also many diseases like cancer. Antioxidants are the solution to this problem. These are nutrients that you obtain mainly from certain foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Although your body can also produce antioxidants on its own, several factors like stress, tension, anxiety, depression and insomnia can deter the process. Meditation helps in eliminating the free radicals by reducing stress and anxiety, restoring your peace of mind, providing relaxation to muscles, oxygenating your blood, and allowing better absorption of nutrients by your cells, all of which enable your body to produce antioxidants naturally.
In this busy and stressful world, a happy and healthy life is what everyone wants. Surprisingly happiness and health are interconnected. If you are ill, you become worried and conversely if you worry too much, you become ill. As the saying goes, “A sound mind in a sound body”. By practicing meditation on a regular basis, it is possible to achieve a sound body and a sound mind.
How to meditate? What are meditation techniques for beginner? It is difficult to learn meditation by just reading articles. Its better visit some meditation center or meditation resort and try out yourselves simple meditation techniques. There are different types of mediation, some focused on spirituality, some focused on breathing or body, while some focused on sound.
Mindfulness Meditation – Mindfulness means moment to moment non-judgmental awareness of body and surrounding. While other meditation techniques require quiet place, mindfulness mediation requires you not to block outside sound or disturbances, but let them flow around you. Eventually your mind gets trained.
Spiritual meditation – Often spiritual leaders taught ways of conducting prayers and communicating with God. These were essentially mediation techniques. Zen buddhist meditation, christian meditation or Taoist / Daoist meditation have started as spiritual mediation practices. Spiritual meditation focuses on prayers, concentration, visualization, contemplation and mindfulness meditations
Focused Meditation – Focusing on an object is considered way to relax and mediate. This object can be sound, mantra or a thought. This method can be practices anywhere, standing, while in local transport and any other process. It is a way of getting lost in deeper thoughts.
Movement Meditation – Here focus object is your eternal breath, which results body movement at various levels. It was seen that in meditation breathing follows a relaxed pattern, which can used for relaxing mind. Breathing has been used as focus object by various Indian mediation gurus as part of yoga meditation. Breathing meditation is quite popular due to Art of Living meditation techniques.
Transcendental meditation – Transcendental Meditation or mantra mediation uses sound or mantra for meditation. Mantras as not just words, but its continuous chanting may create a sonic effect which results mind relax and go into deeper thoughts. In Indian culture, word OM is regularly used to create deep inner vibration and help concentrate.
Other types which you may read about chakra meditation techniques, meditation music, vipassana meditation technique or sleep meditation may fall in one of the above categories. Osho believes in meditation through sex. Thus ways could be different, but objective is to meditate.Image Credits: Flickr - RelaxingMusic