meditation

meditation

Breathe in calmness and stillness, breathe out negativity and darkness.

Meditation is an ancient practice, taking a variety of forms and available to us all. It has moved on from its hippie reputation to an in-vogue trend. And anyone can do it.  If you believe in meditation, it works but it needs a routine to gain the full benefits. So whether it’s eyes open or closed, crossed-legged or seated on a chair, meditation is a highly recommended pass time to address life’s challenges.

Many who meditate regu­larly say it reduces stress and improves well-being, among other mental, physical, and spiritual benefits and, of course, a much-needed release from all the news of Covid-19.

How to declutter your mind

This stress-relieving therapy directs your attention inwards, to melt and release those niggling thoughts, bringing you more in-tune with your mind and body. You may notice an ache, a pain or a twinge. This is a time to let go of stresses and strains just by listening to your breath to reach a stillness.  Think of it as a form of cleansing and decluttering to create space for new thoughts and positivity.

There are many ways to meditate which include com­binations of postures, breathing, sound, visualisation and movement.  But it is very important to adopt a meditation practice that suits your comfort and belief, making it more likely that you’ll adhere to a regular daily practise. There is no one type fits all to meditation. It’s personal so here’s a checklist of just some of the various meditation practices.

buddhist

buddhist

The popular meditation styles

Transcendental Meditation

Often known as TM, this style involves a mantra. Yes, think back to the 60s, the time when the Beatles’ explored this method with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, creator of Transcendental Meditation. Since then other celebrities such as Cameron Diaz and Hugh Jackman have learned it.

TM is usually practiced twice a day each for 20 minutes, morning and afternoon or evening. You need to be seated comfortably, eyes closed as you silently repeat a mantra. This process of repetition acts to calm the mind, taking you to a deep level to allow built-up stress to be released. The personalised mantra is chosen by the instructor, a meaningless sound taken from the Vedas – 5,000-year-old Indian texts. Though not affiliated with TM, Vedic meditation, has similarities.  Check out the https://uk.tm.org

Buddhist meditations

The Tibetan Buddhist practice is centred on the belief that happiness lies in understanding your own mind and its true nature. So by practising daily meditation, you are caring for and taking responsibility for your own happiness. The correct posture is sitting cross-legged, kneeling or in a chair, relaxed with straight back palms facing down, eyes open and soft.

The Zen Buddhist practice has Japanese roots and is about living in the moment with few or minimal distractions. Practitioners sit in a quiet, neutral space amid calm lighting and temperature.  Zazen posture is important – traditionally sitting cross-legged with eyes open, mouth closed, and with the hands forming a circle. There are two schools of Zen: Soto is practiced fac­ing a wall and the focus is only on the act of sitting while the posture imitates the form of the Buddha;  Rinzai, is practiced while facing a Buddha.

Buddhist meditation usually takes places as part of a commu­nity of practitioners. For Tibetan Buddhist meditation on your own, rest your attention lightly on the out breath as you breathe naturally, letting go of attachments and resting briefly before inhaling.

Check out the instructions: https://zmm.org/teachings-and-training/meditation-instructions/

lake

lake

Mantra meditation  uses repetitive sound which can be said silently, whispered or chanted, dependent on your circumstances. Your mantra can be your own choice of words such as peace, love or the commonly used sound – Ohm. These are simply a way to prevent distracting thoughts.

Guided meditation is a programme directed by someone else leading you through breathing instructions and using some form of visualization, body scan, or sound.

Mindfulness meditation

This is a more conscious form and part of daily life rather than being a separate activity. Rooted in the Buddhist tradition, mind­fulness practice has a more casual approach. It does not stipulate any formal posture or require a mantra. Simply sit or lie in a comfortable position, eyes open or closed, your choice. Here the emphasis is on the breath, awareness of the body and being fully pres­ent in the moment, without judgment. Once practised, it becomes easier to move into a mindful state.

Focused meditation

Whether on a train, waiting in a  queue or simply wanting to relax, focused meditation is an all-rounder. It involves directing your attention on an image using one of your senses to guard against distractions. Visualise a lotus flower balancing on water, a candle flame or your favourite colour. Concentrate on the feel of your fingertips or your breath inhalations or simply listen to the sounds of nature around you.

meditation

meditation

Reflective Meditation 

My preference is meditating at the end of the day, a gratitude for the lovely things life brings.  Read more on www.thewellnesstraveller.co.uk

Whatever meditation method  you choose, become more conscious of your mind, your focus and your health. Relax into a happy calm place. You may even notice yourself smiling involuntarily, your body relaxing, coated with warmth and serenity.

 

More resources: 

Find places to meditate, visit thehealthcareholiday.com

 For more information on meditation, visit https://www.meditationtrust.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Wilson is editor of www.thehealthcareholiday.com and www.thewellnesstraveller.co.uk