"Meditation is simply the practice of stopping and looking deeply. You do not need to sit to meditate. Anytime you are looking deeply – whether you are walking, chopping vegetables, brushing your teeth, or going to the bathroom – you can be meditating. In order to look deeply, you need to make the time to stop everything to see what it there.”
“With mindfulness and concentration, you can direct your attention to what is there and have a deep look. You can begin to see the true nature of what is in front of you. What is there may be a cloud, a pebble, or a human being. It may be our anger. Or it may be our own body and its nature of impermanence. Every time we truly stop and look deeply, the result is a better understanding of the true nature of what is there inside us and around us.”
- THICH NHAT HANH
Those are the two paragraphs that I believe, best describe the whole reason we meditate. Meditation is simply the process of training our minds to gain a greater focus as well as redirecting our thoughts. This requires a great deal of discipline and it is important to have an open mind when beginning this process.
Mindfulness is something we strive to achieve through meditation. Mindfulness is when you are immersed in the present moment, aware of all thoughts, feelings and sensations, but without any judgement or interpretation. Without meditation, complete mindfulness is extremely difficult to achieve.
Even though most of us use meditation for reducing stress, it can actually achieve greater benefits that are even more important than simply relaxation. Neuroscientists have learned by analyzing the brain of those who meditate, that it actually strengthens the brain by reinforcing the connections between brain cells. Meditation causes the brain to go through beneficial physical changes as well. This allows those students to be able to have a healthier memory, better at processing information, making decisions, improving their attention span and improved cognitive responses. Many studies have also shown that meditation can be linked to cortical thickness which can result in decreased sensitivity to pain
Meditation gives us the chance to...
Develop better mental stability and emotional control
Helps to challenge our beliefs and thoughts
Reduces symptoms of depression
Reduces memory loss
Lengthens attention span
Decreases blood pressure
and the list goes on!
Think about the successes you could have in life if you were able to gain total control on your mindset, your confidence and your nervousness.
One thing to note, is that meditation is not meant to be ‘easy’
Although many people find themselves feeling lighter and calmer after meditating, meditation can bring up past traumas that need to be dealt with in order to stop them from effecting your present or future. It can be difficult if you have lack of patience and a low attention span however this is why we meditate; to gain that control over our lives, to find our higher purpose, to deal with past issues, to face our future and so much more! Hopefully this has helped you gain a deeper understanding of meditation.
To learn a little bit more about me and to really understand why I want to spread the beauty of yoga and meditation, head over to our About The Academy page.
If you still are having questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
STYLES OF MEDITATION
There are a lot of different types of meditation out there; silent, guided, walking and sound. It can be overwhelming! However, I strongly recommend to try different styles of meditation to figure out what works best for you. Keep in mind, different styles of meditation are also used at different times because they fit a particular situation best. Below I have listed the most common and popular styles of meditation to help you understand what you may be looking for.
Guided meditation is when you have a narrator or teacher walking you through the process of the meditation and how your mind is likely to behave. It helps gain strong focus in the mind because you are directing your attention to a particular visualization, breath or object and keeping the focus there. This is excellent for beginners but also great when you need to be guided into a deeper state of consciousness for things like past life regression, higher self meditations or energy balancing meditations. Once you become very used to guided meditations, you don’t have to use a teacher or recording to walk you through it. You can end up reciting mantras to yourself during the meditation or use different styles of breath work. This is the most popular style of meditation because people find it easier since there is someone guiding you through, however in order to truly be able to achieve higher levels of contentment or enlightenment, silent meditations are highly recommended.
Silent meditation is being seated in silence; no guidance, no music. This allows you to simply be present with your feelings, sensations and emotions, forcing you to sit with what you are dealing with. It challenges you to embrace the mental or emotional discomfort you may be experiencing. This style of meditation will improve your patience at a faster rate if practiced regularly. It will allow you to appreciate the moments of stillness while also appreciating the times when you have high mental activity. Through silence, you can achieve mindfulness a lot faster as well since you have nothing else to focus on except you physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self; every sensation and every thought.
Walking meditations is exactly what it sounds like; walking! This style makes you focus deeply on a task that you would normally do automatically. It is great when you need to create a higher level of internal awareness (physically and mentally). It is best done in alone, in nature, which will help you develop a stronger sense of external awareness.
Sound meditation, ‘sound baths’ or sound therapy is typically done with quartz crystal singing bowls but a lot of other instruments may be used. The other most common instruments used are Tibetan singing bowls, tingsha bells and digeridoos. It creates a type of focused awareness created through vibrations and frequencies. Our bodies, just like all matter, has different vibrational frequencies. When different vibrating things come together, they eventually start vibrating at the same frequency. In this style of meditation, these tools are used to create particular vibrations that will help balance out our energy system leaving us feeling more at ease, rejuvenated, open, aligned and heightened. These frequencies also help to balance out our brain waves which can help us reach deeper levels of sleep and higher states of conscious perception.