Benefits of meditation

By Mark Winter
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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man meditating
Though meditation is usually recognized as a largely spiritual practice, it also has many health benefits.
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By definition, meditation is the concentration of the mind on one thing, in order to aid mental or spiritual development, contemplation, or relaxation.

Another definition of meditation is "enrichment to your soul". While ardent practitioners of yoga believe that a meditative state is the natural outcome of yoga and the spiritual benefit of meditation is supreme bliss or enlightenment, these words are unlikely to be understood by many. One type of meditations is, Transcendental Meditation, which is a technique of focusing the mind, and is based in part on Hindu meditation. Meditators are given a mantra (a special word or phrase) to repeat over and over in the mind; such meditation is believed to benefit the practitioner by relieving stress and inducing a feeling of well-being and relaxation. It was introduced to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and popularized by the Beatles in the late 1960s.

Our hectic lifestyles and increasing demands on our time and energy have caused a greater interest in the benefits of meditation. Progress towards meditation and meditative techniques have resulted in several benefits:
  • Improvement of body luster and general health-When your mind focuses on a particular part of the body, the blood flow to that part increases and cells receive more oxygen and other nutrients in abundance. Today, many of the film stars and fashion models include meditation in their daily regimen.

  • Improvement in concentration - Many of the athletes and sports professionals regularly employ meditation methods. Studies have found a direct correlation between concentration exercises (meditation) and the performance level of sports professionals. Meditation strengthens the mind, it comes under control and is able to provide effective guidance to the physical body to effectively execute all its projects. Psychological exercises are a powerful way of improving concentration and improving mental strength.

Remarkably, today you can find yoga and meditation techniques being implemented in management of life threatening diseases; in transformation of molecular and genetic structure; in reversal of mental illnesses, in accelerated learning programs, in perceptions and communications beyond the physical, in solving problems and atomic and nuclear physics; in gaining better ecological understanding; in management of lifestyle and future world problems. And that's just for starters! So, get your thinking cap on and head for the nearest class in the instruction of yoga and meditation. You can even teach yourself how to meditate by reading meditation books and learning about the Buddhist way of life. No, you don't have to twist yourself into knots to participate!

Some benefits of meditation are:
  • It lowers oxygen consumption.
  • Meditation can help to resolve the deepest of neuroses, fears and conflict which play their part in causing stress and ill health.
  • 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 behavior. 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.

Meditation and women's identity

Much has been written about the benefits of meditation that are particularly striking in the field of women's health and pregnancy. Women begin life as someone's daughter, and then move own to identify themselves as someone's lover, wife, someone's mother. Not only does a woman need an understanding of her body but also needs to connect with the essence of her true self. A true self, which is an identity beyond everyday change- -beyond gender, beyond fluctuations of hormones, beyond family expectations and other superimposed personality patterns. Discovering this true self is not as easy. Just when you know who you are, it all changes again.

The process of self discovery involves, stripping off false layers of identity, going back through all the conditionings, realizing- " The place for this self discovery is not the psychiatrist's couch, the matrimonial bed, the mother's group, or even a yoga retreat, but within your own private meditation times. Meditation and motherhood The benefits of mediation for mothers-to-be are highly touted. Meditation puts mothers in tune with their babies. Manta Japa is especially appropriate for pregnant women. After birth, daily meditation becomes a precious time to refocus and make sense of the many new thoughts and feelings which can be running through your mind, brought about by the events of childbirth and new motherhood.

Some final thoughts

In summary, don't stress out, meditate. You truly will be amazed at how you can be helped. Find out what's available in your community to teach you the best techniques.

Good thoughts!

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