Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Benefits and Methods of meditation

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a term that refers to a group of techniques where a user trains his or her mind to a mode of consciousness to obtain certain benefits.Many people are learning to use meditation to combat depression, anxiety, pain, stress, sleep problems, and other physical or emotional symptoms that may be associated with chronic illnesses (such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and cancer) and their treatment.

Some benefits of meditation :

It lowers oxygen consumption.

It decreases respiratory rate.

It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.

Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients.

Leads to a deeper level of relaxation.

Good for people with high blood pressure as it brings the B.P. to normal.

Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.

Decreases muscle tension (any pain due to tension) and headaches.

Builds self-confidence.

It increases serotonin production which influences mood and behaviour. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, obesity, insomnia and headaches.

Helps in chronic diseases like allergies , arthritis etc.

Reduces Pre- menstrual Syndrome.

Helps in post-operative healing.

Enhances the immune system. Research has revealed that meditation increases activity of 'natural-killer cells', which kill bacteria and cancer cells.

Also reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress.

Different Methods of Meditation /Meditation techniques:
(Source:By John Gunn)

Though there are many meditation techniques there are a few most common and most important that are worth mentioning here

1. Empty mind meditation

This type of meditation is called 'awareness without an object',
which means being aware without focusing on something
particular. You simply sit still, if possible in the lotus position and
just let your mind wander on its own. Let it go silent. If you feel
thought coming up, just simply acknowledge them, and let them
evaporate, without judging them.

2. Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness is simply a meditation way which allows you to
become more aware of the here and the now, i.e. being in the now.
You focus on what is going on around you at the time you are
meditating, and you become aware of every thought and feeling
that you have during the meditation process. The way to do this is
by following your breath, then moving your full attention to your
thoughts, the feelings you have in your body (e.g. tingling in your
fingers, tickling of your nose, etc). What you must do is simply
becoming an observer, without analyzing or judging.

3. Watching your breath meditation

Maybe this is the easiest type of meditation, that a beginner can
start out with, without becoming overwhelmed.
Sit in your favorite position, close your eyes and focus on your
breathing. Breath normally, don't force it, and focus on your
breathing. Pay attention to how the air is going through your nose,
down to your lungs, and then how the process is reversed.

4. The Om meditation

You can actually use here either the 'om' or simply concentrate on
another specific mantra, like a positive reinforcement. Just keep
repeating it while you meditate, if possible out loud, or in your
head if you're not alone or are most comfortable that way.

5. Concept meditation

This means you will meditate on an idea, a particular concept like
the fleeting nature of life, or anything else, that is not very specific.
You could contemplate on how a flower blooms and then it fades
away, for example. Basically this technique bypasses your rational
mind, and gives you a different type of understanding.

Some Simple steps for Meditation:

Pick a Good Location

This may seem like a small step but is an important aspect of meditation. Find a quiet place to meditate. Ideally, you should have a room that you can use solely to meditate. If you live in an apartment or a small house though, this may not be possible. If you have space constraints, consider using a small area of your bedroom to meditate, preferably a corner that is free from clutter. You can designate this area as your meditation corner.

Sometimes, you may not be able to have a completely peaceful atmosphere when you meditate. If you want, you can play some music to help you meditate better. Choose something soft and soothing. The music should not hamper yourmeditation in any way. There are many CDs available that are specially compiled with meditative songs.

Try to Relax

When you meditate, you have to switch off from all thoughts. This is easier said than done. For this purpose, choose a time that is convenient to you and you know you will not be disturbed by anyone in your household. Most people find that the best time to meditate is right after waking up in the morning.

Alternatively, you may want to meditate after you come home from work. However, you may still be thinking about your workday and may have difficulty concentrating. You will require some practice before you can make a smooth transition from your normal routine to emptying your mind of all thoughts.

Being relaxed is a preliminary step in meditation. You do not need to do anything special to relax. When you sit down to meditate, remind yourself that you will not think about anything for the next few minutes. Then, slowly relax your muscles and try to imagine the tension draining away from them. As you relax physically, let go of all your thoughts and just be aware of the present.

Have the Right Posture

Posture is an essential part of meditating. The best posture for meditation is to sit cross-legged with a straight back. You can lie down if you want but this posture is more likely to make you feel sleepy while meditating.
In addition, do not eat a heavy meal before you meditate. Eating a large amount makes you lethargic and causes you to feel sleepy. If you must eat, a light snack of some fruit is enough.

Many people believe that having a bath before meditating is more effective. You can have a shower and put on some loose cotton clothing to make your body feel comfortable.
The more comfortable you are, the easier it is for you to begin meditating.

Calm Your Mind

Meditation involves silencing your mind so that you can aware of how your thought processes work. Silencing the mind is one of the most difficult parts of meditation. This is because the mind is used to constantly receiving and processing information. Only when your mind is completely quiet can you begin to delve deep into your soul and discover your true self. This is a form of expanding your consciousness.


  1. Dear Saibaba

    Excellent and informative.
    But is it possible?
    The most difficult part is mind. It keeps on flying.
    Possibly Namsmaran is only way . Continuous chanting over the years may remove atleast some bad thoughts.

    Mostly people meditate but do not derive benefits. One should realize BODY and MIND are different. We try calming body , not mind.
    Whats your view ?

    Prakash Joshi

  2. Dear Sir
    I agree with you that the mind keep keeps on flying during meditation. Initially I tried empty minded meditation as taught in the yoga classes but could not meditate for more than 5 minutes. Then I tried the meditation focussing on some light or picture where also I could not meditate for more than 5 minutes due to wavering of mind.
    Now I am meditating using the 4th technique mentioned in the article chanting a mantra and focussing on the 7 chakras each for some minutes as taught by an yoga expert a few months back. Now I can meditate for about 30 minutes and I find that the mind is calmed to certain extent.
    Sai baba

  3. Body is in the soul not the soul in the body. Concentrate on stillness produces amazing result. Best to have a guru and meditate will lift the soul to oneness with higher soul.

  4. Meditation is the best way to keep body and soul fit. Great post and thanks for sharing.