Meditation is good for your health. 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. One of the most powerful tools to stay healthy and happy is meditation.
When we sit and quiet our mind, we stop our thoughts and emotions. We become aware of our true selves. We realize we are more than our thoughts and emotions and begin to experience pure joy. Even one minute of a quiet mind opens us up to expansion and transformation.
Meditation helps us tune into our true essence and helps us be more present, enabling us to connect with ourself and others in more meaningful ways.
In meditation our body and mind release accumulated stress, tension, fear and confusion – and we regain our natural state of, balance, joy, and calm. Being in this more relaxed place enables us to open up to our own brilliance, our creativity and we make better decisions.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Scientific research has found when we meditate our 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 told you, you had to sit for 5-10 minutes quietly to ingest this pill would you? So here it is your magic pill.
Meditation not only boosts our mind but it also improves our body. Studies show it can reduce pain (1) and support our immune system.
A regular meditation practice has be associated with increased grey matter in the hippocampus, the area related to learning and memory, as well as areas related to self-awareness and compassion.
A few more benefits:
- Stress and anxiety relief, decreased production of cortisol and adrenalin
- Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
- Lower cholesterol levels
- More efficient oxygen use by the body
- Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
- Restful sleep
We have trillions of cells that have a direct relationship with our inner being, our source energy and if we can just get out of the way and by that I mean stop thinking and controlling they will communicate to work together and create health. This is what happens in meditation.
Once you calm your mind it’s so much easier to make smarter choices about food and exercise. You are able to cope with the stress in your life better. Your relationships improve and you feel healthier and happier.
Even a 1 minutes of a breathing practice or meditation can do wonders for your body mind and spirit.
- Meditate at the same time every day.
- It is good to meditate when you wake up in the morning. This is the best time to achieve optimal brainwave states. In the morning you have less momentum going with your thoughts. If you need to, set your alarm clock a little earlier. Morning is also a beneficial time because our busy schedules often get in the way and it’s easy to feel like we don’t have time to meditate.
- Meditate in the same place. Sit in a comfortable place with a backrest if necessary, try not to slouch. If you have to, lie down, that is fine too. Make sure you’re comfortable.
4 Easy Meditations
There are many ways to meditate. There is no single “correct” way to practice meditation.
The best way to meditate is the one that works for you.
Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath or a mantra – a word or phrase. Find a meditation practice that you like and stick with it for awhile.
1. Two Minute Breathing Meditation to Reduce Stress
This meditation comes from Dr Weil.
1. Breathe out completely
2. Breathe in through your nose quietly for four counts 1-2-3-4, filling your belly
3. Hold for seven counts 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
4. Breath out through your mouth with a sound for 8 counts 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, pulling your belly in.
REPEAT 4 CYCLES only
Do twice a day
In the morning when you wake up (I like to do it before meditation)
In the evening when you get into bed.
After a month you can increase to 8 cycles.
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.“So Hum” Meditation
This is a breath-mantra meditation.
- Set a timer for 5-20 minutes.
- Let’s begin. 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 the sound “SO”. 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. You will move from your thoughts back to your breath, from sounds back to your breath and from physical sensations back to your breath. Your meditation will be this gentle drifting back and forth. Continue on SO HUM, SO HUM…
- When the time is up gently release the meditation. Sit quietly for a few breaths in the stillness and silence of the meditation 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. 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.
You don’t need to search for the silent witness within, following the meditation practice will automatically bring you to that experience of the self. In time, that state of awareness becomes stronger, more persistent in and out of meditation, until eventually it is there permanently, whether you are awake, asleep or dreaming.
4. One Minute Powerful Breathing Meditation
This is a one-minute breathing meditation that calms you down and connects you to your heart. It is incredibly simple and amazingly effective. It’s known as Bhastrika Pranayama or Bellows Breath followed by 30 seconds of calm breathing.
The bottom line is when we are stressed the brain overworks. Thoughts become incessant and the circulation and oxygenation to the brain becomes compromised. Without adequate oxygen in the brain we become nervous, anxious, and feel unable to cope. The One Minute Meditation literally pumps oxygen into the brain, delivering quick and effective relief for your stress. By pumping oxygen into your brain you begin to feel from your heart rather than thinking from your mind. You fill your body with hormones that calm you down allowing you to reconnect to yourself. It also improves your digestion.
With this process you interrupt your thoughts and calm yourself down. More oxygen in your brain pumps enough energy into your nervous system allowing your mind to settle. You stop thinking, you connect to your true self and you engage your brilliance and creativity.
Here is a video to guide you.
What If I Find It Hard to Meditate?
Many of my clients tell me it is hard for them to meditate. They find it’s hard for them to stop their thoughts. I understand.
You should know if you meditate for 10 minutes and get 1 minute of a quiet mind you are doing great.
If you keep coming back to the mantra your mind will quiet down. With practice you will be able to experience the silence longer. You will feel a sense of joy and satisfaction, a feeling that all is well.
Tapping before meditation can also be helpful. I created this tapping script to use before meditation. My clients and I use this tapping script to quiet our mind and release resistance to meditation. The way it works is, tapping on the various acupressure points before meditation releases your resistance and moves our body into a more relaxed state. It only takes a few minutes.
Find a practice that you like and do it every day but to make it easier aim for 5 days a week. Notice how you feel as you go about your days. The shift may be subtle at first but you will soon find that you have more patience, feel grounded and better able to respond to stressful situations, and are more in touch with your intuition or “gut feelings,” Stay with it and soon will be enjoying the many benefits of meditation.
Like building any muscle in your body meditation is a practice that transforms your body mind and spirit over time.