Meditation is quickly becoming recognised for its wide-ranging health-giving benefits. In the process of meditation, stored stresses are removed, energy levels are lifted and your health is boosted.
Research has revealed that regular meditation can reduce stress, pain and cognitive aging. It can also have a positive impact on your physical health, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Here are the basics of meditation, its benefits and how to start meditating at home.
Meditation has its roots in ancient Vedic practices from India. The practice of meditation has traditionally been used in Vedic science as a way to connect to the deep inner Self. Now the term has been expanded to include a wide range of different practices aimed at calming and centering the mind.
In Vedic science, humans have three different parts:
- The physical body
- The inner faculty - the working consciousness including the mind, intellect and ego
- The deep inner Self - pure consciousness, the source of all knowledge, intelligence, creativity and all the natural laws that form existence
The deep inner Self is thought to activate the working consciousness which then activates the physical body. In meditation, it is possible to make a conscious connection to the deep inner Self. This can create a state of inner peace and bliss similar to being in a deep sleep.
By tapping into this space of peace and calm, you can benefit from its wellness-boosting benefits - including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.
The benefits of meditation
According to researchers, regular, long-term meditation can improve your health and well-being in a wide range of ways.
Here are just some of the science-backed benefits:
- Lower stress
- Decreased anxiety
- Combats depression
- Improved memory
- Pain reduction
- Reduced heart rate
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased blood flow to the brain
- Reduced brain aging
- Increased exercise tolerance
To get the full benefits of meditation, try to practice it every day for 20 minutes. It can help to make it part of your morning routine.
10 steps to start meditating
If you want to start meditating at home, there are some simple steps you can use to get you started.
Vedic meditation uses a mantra, known as a Beeja mantra - the Sanskrit word for seed - which you plant in your mind and allow to grow. The mantra helps your mind to move into another state that is different to your waking or sleeping state.
Try this method:
- Find somewhere comfortable to sit where you know you won’t be disturbed
- Put your phone on silent or airplane mode
- Set a timer for 10-20 minutes, make sure to turn your volume to low
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath
- Allow your breathing to settle into a slow and natural rhythm
- Start repeating your mantra to yourself
- If your mind starts to drift, return to your mantra
- To come out of the meditative state, slowly touch your thumb to each of your fingertips
- Wiggle your fingers and toes and gently move your legs
- Open your eyes
Your mantra can be personal to you and the seed you’re trying to plant. To get started, try Ong So Hung which can be understood as ‘I am that’ or ‘I am peace, peace is in me’. This mantra can help you to feel more compassion, warmth, love and bliss.
Meditation can be used as part of a routine of healthy habits to improve your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re curious to learn more about creating a mindset of positivity and peace, read this next.