A daily meditation practice is one of the best things you can do to stay health and be happy. In this post I explain why and give you a few easy meditations to play with.
Studies show meditation improves your health. When you meditate your body and mind release accumulated stress, tension, fear and confusion.
Scientific research has found when you meditate your breathing slows, blood pressure decreases, and stress hormone levels fall. If I told you there was a pill to do this would you take it? If I asked you to sit for 5-10 minutes quietly to ingest this pill, would you? So here it is your magic pill.
The goal of meditation is to quiet your mind allowing your natural state of balance, joy, and calm to be present . You get in touch with the wisdom of your True Self. In this relaxed state you open up to your own brilliance, creativity and inner guidance. Life gets better.
Meditation Health Benefits
Studies show meditation can reduce pain and boost our immune system.
Research shows it increases the length of our telomeres making us biologically younger, protecting our cells from aging, degeneration and disease.
Meditation increases the production of an enzyme called telomerase, which protects telomeres from shortening. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Telomerase prevents the ends of your DNA from fraying. If the DNA strands become damaged your cells age and stop functioning properly.
These chromosomal caps protect your cells from aging, degeneration and disease. Chanting, deep breathing, yoga and other practices also increase the activity of telomerase in your body.
Additional Health Benefits of Meditation
- Stress and anxiety relief, decreased production of cortisol and adrenalin
- Decreased blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol levels
- More efficient use of oxygen
- Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
- More restful sleep
What If My Mind is Wandering?
Many of my clients tell me it is hard for them to meditate. They say they can’t stop their thoughts. That is completely normal.
A wandering mind doesn’t mean you’re not meditating. As long as you keep coming back to the mantra you are meditating. You will feel a sense of joy and satisfaction, a feeling that all is well. With practice your mind will quiet down.
You should know if you meditate for 10 minutes and get 1 minute of a quiet mind you are doing great.
3 Easy Meditations
There are many ways to meditate. There is no single “correct” way to practice meditation. Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath or a mantra.
Another very popular form of meditation is guided meditation, where you are lead into a state of relaxed concentration by someone.
The best way to meditate is the one that works for you.
Find a meditation practice that you like, play with it for a few weeks and see how you feel.
1. ‘So Hum’ Meditation
The So Hum meditation is a simple but powerful meditation that uses the breath and the repetition of a mantra to quiet the mind and relax the body. This meditation will help you let go of your mind’s busy chatter and feel a sense of peace.
- Set a timer for 5-20 minutes.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Take a few gentle deep breaths. Feel your breath flow in and out.
- Take a slow deep breath through your nose while thinking or silently repeating the sound “SO”.
- Then exhale slowly through your nose while thinking the sound “HUM”
- Allow your breathing to flow easily silently repeating SO HUM, SO HUM with each inflow and outflow of your breath.
- Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts in your mind, sounds in your environment or sensations in your body, gently return to your breath, gently repeating SO HUM
- When the time is up, sit with your eyes gently closed, taking a moment to rest in the stillness and silence and when you feel ready open your eyes.
Notes on the So Hum meditation:
Easily allow the mantra to go with the natural rhythm of the breath. You don’t need to make a strong focus to associate them. Just breathe easily and effortlessly, without trying to concentrate. If you notice you have other thoughts while you are thinking the mantra, that’s fine. Let your attention easily favor the mantra over the thoughts.
Do this meditation for 5 minutes when you’re first getting started, gradually building up to 20 minutes. You will carry a little bit of still and silence into all of your daily activities.
2. Chanting Meditation
Chanting is an ancient practice that calms your mind and soul.
In a chanting meditation you are singing or saying repetitive sounds or words. When you chant your mind releases the stress and your body automatically starts to relax.
Chanting can help you meditate. Chanting out loud gives your mind less space to become distracted by other thoughts. It can be easier for the mind to focus.
I often practice a chanting meditation, especially when my mind is very active.
Here is one of my favorite chanting meditations:
Chanting this mantra fills the field of energy surrounding your body with a white light of peace giving you’re a feeling of well-being. It actually changes the atmosphere around you attracting abundance and joy.
Aad Guray Nameh is a very powerful mantra used to gain clarity, and to receive guidance from one’s highest Self.
Posture: Sit comfortably on the floor in Easy Pose, or on a chair and close your eyes. Roll your shoulders back and straighten your spine. Place your palms on your thighs facing upward to receive the energy of the Universe. This is the ideal posture, but you can do this chant in any posture that is comfortable, even lying down.
Practice: Chant the mantra in a steady rhythm with your eyes closed. Keep your attention on your voice and breath as you chant. If your mind wanders gently bring it back to your voice chanting the mantra.
The mantra Aad Guray Nameh can be chanted at any time, any place. Begin with a 5-minute practice, gradually increasing to 15-20 minutes. Even 5 minutes will deepen your intuition and heighten your sense of inner knowing.
Since the music runs for 11 minutes, you can chant along with it. If you want a longer meditation, you can chant without the music for another 5-10 minutes. Or you can play it again. Do what works for you.
Practice the mantra for 40-days. Chant it with the music or on your own. Enjoy the awareness of your True Self. Allow the feeling of clarity and well-being to sink into your cells.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
One of my favorite meditations is Alternate Nostril Breathing aka Nadi Shodhana.
Alternate nostril breathing is one of the simplest and most user friendly meditation techniques. It helps calm a busy mind and cool an over stimulated nervous system.
Practicing alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana pranayama) for a few minutes each day can help correct imbalances in your brain – improve sleep – calm your emotional state – boost your thinking – calm your nervous system. How fabulous is that!
I use it at night when I can’t sleep. I also do 5-10 minutes before each coaching session to connect me to my inner guidance to bring the most healing into the session.
If you are feeling tired mid-afternoon, instead of having a cup of coffee, do 5 minutes of alternate nostril breathing. You will be amazed to see your energy return.
Position for fingers
- Sit up comfortably with a straight spine
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril to the slow count of 8. Pause for a second
- Close the left nostril with your right ring finger, while you remove your thumb from your right nostril and exhale through the right nostril to the count of eight.
- Inhale through the right nostril to the count of eight. Pause. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and exhale through the left nostril to the count of eight.
- This is one round. Start by doing 4 or 5 rounds. You can build up to doing this for 5 or 10 minutes each day.
Note: Don’t do alternate nostril breathing if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked–don’t force.
Click over to my blog article to read more about the benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing.
Meditation improves your health and happiness. I hope this information inspires you to give meditation a try. You’ll soon discover a part of yourself that is calm and peaceful. You’ll feel healthier and happier. You’ll open up to your own brilliance, creativity and inner guidance.