The 'Myth' About Meditation

You may have a stereotypical idea of what meditation is. Maybe you picture someone lying on the ground listening to whale music, perhaps a room full of people chanting OM with a thick mist of sandalwood in the air, or even a Buddhist monk on a hill top with an eagle perched on his shoulder. These assumptions are not wrong but it does not mean you have to introduce meditation into your life this way, as everyones practice and style of meditation is different.

Meditation means to be so engrossed in something, that your full attention is given to that activity, object or thought. You loose perception of time as you are training your mind to concentrate and be still.

Sitting is considered to be the best technique, however, this will depend on yourself. Sitting allows your spine to be straight so energy can move more freely through your nervous system, stimulating chakras. Guided meditations are also a great place to start if it feels weird doing it alone, you can find these on Youtube or ask your instructor if they can help you with this. Even walking, music and painting are types of meditation if you are completely captivated in what you are doing.

Meditation is not just something you can do to keep calm (I mean it is brilliant for that) but it has many health benefits which I believe are pretty necessary to grow older as fit as possible. You begin to create balance and a deeper connection between yourself and your mind, this helps you understand yourself more. It teaches patience and acceptance to those who are restless and unsure.

Calming your mind allows you to act and think more clearly, improving your relationships and life decisions. What is more interesting is the what you can achieve with regular reflection. Experienced practitioners of meditation have actually increased the activity of gamma waves in their brain. Gamma waves are associated with feelings, attention and perception in the brain. Therefore not only being a stress remedy to relax but also enhancing positive emotions, focus to learning and overall brain function.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, he shares his knowledge of meditation and the different ways we can approach a mediative state of mind. Some are, concentrating on a single object, breathing techniques (pranayama), bringing your senses inwards so you are able to notice what is going on inside the body and then reaching deeper. He indicates that mediation is not something separate from yoga, it is an aspect of it. From the 8 limbs of yoga, the last 3 are interlinked with meditation to achieve enlightenment. Six being Dharana, conditioning the mind through concentration. Leading to the seventh limb Dhyana, addressing this as meditation itself. These (along with the other branches of yoga) will enable you to reach the eighth limb, Samadhi, a blissful disposition of oneself.

The practice of physical yoga of course helps with meditation (yoga helps with everything :D) as strengthening the spine means you are able to stay in a seated asana for a longer period of time. Cross-legged sitting poses are recognised with meditating and with good reason, you can easily incorporate mudras as well as opening your airways for controlled pranayama and helping you to remain still with concentration.

So as you can see there are many types of mediation and you have to try different methods to see which will suit you. Try a guided video, a walk in nature or sitting in silence. It will be interesting to see what sensations come up while you try and obtain this placid state of mind. It is so beneficial to us and I strongly believe meditation should be taught in schools to help condition young minds in a positive light, no detention just meditation. Whatever way you embark on expanding your health, I am sure it will improve your life and the happiness within it.