Health Benefits Of Meditation

One of the many benefits of meditation is that it relaxes your mind and body. You will feel very fit and great after a session. In addition, it also has a great effect on your sleep.

Health benefits of meditation.

One of the many benefits of meditation is that it relaxes your mind and body. You will feel very fit and great after a session. In addition, it also has a great effect on your sleep.

We at Vita Talalay advise everyone to have a meditation session just before going to bed. Not only will you have an easier time falling asleep, you will also have a higher quality sleep.

This article is all about meditation, the health benefits of meditation, and more!

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What is meditation?

Today, only very few people actually know what meditation really is. Many think that it is the mental concentration on something, while others regard it as something that gives us peace. These definitions mean ‘slowing down’ and eventually ‘completely stopping the mind activities’, which is not what meditation is.

Actually, meditation is the state of ‘thoughtless awareness’. Like stated earlier, it’s not an act of doing, it’s an act of being. You are either in this stae, or you are not. If you know how meditation really works, you can even get to the state of thoughtless awareness, while doing your work.

True meditation requires much more than just taking a moment to sit quietly. It's a state of deep peace that takes place when the mind is calm and silent, yet alert.

Since you now know what meditation really is, you might wonder what meditation is not!

Meditation is not concentration. Concentration is trying to focus on something specific for a significant time. All techniques used for concentration are a type of concentration.

Meditation is not a loss of control. Sounds, voices, and involuntary movements are not linked to meditation in any way. They are symptoms of loss of awareness and control.

Meditation is not exercises. Posture and breathing exercises are not necessarily connected with meditation. However, they can help with creating balance.

Meditation is not a mental effort. Mental effort is never needed to get to the ‘thoughtless awareness’ state. Blockages can be taken care of by hands and introspection.

Why is meditation so important?

Now we know what meditation really is and is not, but why is it so important for us? Well, it is seen as one of the most effective forms of reducing stress. While other stress reducing techniques have been studied in the West for more than 70 years, those methods don’t tend to be effective.

  • On the other hand, meditation has been developed in Eastern cultures and has a history of several thousand years. Meditative techniques have been developed, trialed, and refined over hundreds of generations with the intention of finding a state of mental peace, to relief from stress.

    Including meditation into your life can have a positive outcome very quickly, it will:

    • Improve your quality of life;
    • Increase your mental health;
    • Improve your psychoneuroimmunology;
    • Increase your sleep quality;
    • Reduce your stress; and
    • Decrease your healthcare costs.

Why is sleep so important?

Meditate to sleep better. Like stated in the previous paragraph, meditation helps increasing your sleep quality. Actually, most of those effects of meditation contribute to a better sleep. It is recommended to meditate 20 minutes, and to sleep at least 7 hours, every day. But why is sleeping so important?

Sleeping well is very important for living a healthy life. Just like meditation, good quality sleep improves your mental health, physical health, and quality of life. Using meditation to sleep better can be very effective. If you almost always have good night’s sleep, because you often meditate, you achieved at least 2 of the 4 pillars for a healthy life.

While you are sleeping, your body is supporting a healthy brain function and maintains your physical health. It even helps growth and development for children and teens. Your brain prepares you for the next day, so that you will be able to learn and remember new information.

On the other hand, sleep deprivation will have negative effects on your health. You will start having trouble making decision, solving specific problems, controlling your behaviour and your emotions, and you cannot cope with change. Sleep deprivation is linked to depression, suicide, and more.

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The history of meditation

Meditation has always been closely related to the religious context behind it. The Hindu Vedas of India and Nepal is the location where some of the earliest references to meditation were found. During the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, many new forms of meditation developed in China via Confucianism and, as well as in HinduismJainism, and Buddhism in India and Nepal.

The Pāli Canon, which is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition and dates back to the 1st century BCE, sees the Indian Buddhist meditation as a step towards liberation.

In the west, more precisely, the Roman Empire by 20 BCE, Philo had written on some form of ‘spiritual exercises’ that involved attention and concentration. By the 3rd century CE Plotinus developed several meditation techniques.

Western Christian meditation is very different to other forms. It doesn’t require the repetition of any phrase, action, or posture. It’s base can be found in the 6th century Bible reading. Later, four formal steps were defined by monk Guigo II in the 12th century. These steps are read, ponder, pray, and contemplate.

Dhikr, the Islamic form of meditation, involves repeating the 99 Names of God. This form of meditation has been practised since the 8th or 9th century. The 12th century introduced the practise of Sufism, which includes specific meditation techniques. These techniques contain the practise of breathing controls and the repetition of holy words.

In the 1950s the secular forms of meditation were introduced in India. These forms arrived in the western world around the 1960s. These meditation forms are different to the religious meditation forms. The religious forms focused on spiritual growth, while the secular forms focus on stress reduction, relaxation, and self-improvement.

Gesundheitliche Vorteile Von Meditation 3

Forms of meditation

Physical posture

One of the best ways to meditate, is by having a good physical posture. There are many different postures, in which you could supine, sit or stand. Very popular postures are the:

  • Full-lotus, which is a cross-legged sitting position with the feet placed on the opposite thighs;
  • Half-lotus, which is a cross-legged sitting position with one feet on the opposite thigh and the other feet below the other thigh;
  • Burmese, which is a cross-legged sitting position with the feet next to each other in front of you;
  • Seiza, which is a sitting position where you sit on your feet; and
  • Kneeling, which is a sitting position where you sit on one or both your knees.

Mindfulness

One of the best ways to meditate, is by being mindfulness. It is becoming more and more important in the Western world. Nowadays, there are many mindfulness programs present in the Western medical and psychological community. These programs are designed to help people, sick or not.

This meditation is done by sitting with closed eyes, legs crossed, and a straight back. Your attention should be focused on your abdomen when breathing in and out. What you also could do, is focusing on the breath going in and out of your nostrils. Whenever you become distracted from your breath, your mind starts wandering around, after which it should return to the breath focussing.

Mental silence

One of the best ways to meditate, is by becoming mentally silent. One of the mental silence meditations is the Sahaja yoga. This meditation involves ‘switching off’ irrelevant brain networks to have better focused attention on the present.

Sahaja yoga is the path to peace. With this form of meditation, it is believed you want to strive for purity and transparency, in which the core of Sahaja Yoga is the awakening of the kundalini energy.


Gesundheitliche Vorteile Von Meditation 2

Benefits and drawbacks of meditation

Benefits of meditation

Like stated earlier, meditation has many benefits. Some of the health benefits of meditation are that it improves your quality of life, your mental health, your psychoneuroimmunology, and your sleep quality. On the other hand, meditation reduces your stress and healthcare costs.

It also plays a role in your happiness. Happiness is affected by meditation, due to the calming effect of it. Actually, because meditation improves a lot about you, you will start to feel more confident and happy about yourself, which is a core of meditation.

Drawbacks of meditation

Nothing is perfect, even meditation has some drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks is that it is very difficult to understand what meditation really is, which is why many people think they are meditating, while in reality they are very far from thoughtless awareness.

People who try to meditate while not being mentally stable, run the risk of surfacing past or recent problems, which could be traumas or depression.

Fun facts about the health benefits of meditation

Here are a few fun facts for you about meditation!

  • Meditation turns your brain into plastic. A well-performed session of meditation actually leads to neuroplasticity. This means that the brain has changed structurally and functionally, because of an environmental input.
  • Meditation increases the gray matter. Meditating every day will result in thicker cortical walls, than of those who don't meditate. This means that the brains of meditatoers are ageing at a slower rate than of the non-meditators.
  • Meditation can be better than napping. Meditators are 10% more alert than those who nap or watch tv.
  • Meditation helps medicating high blood pressure. Relaxation of the body resulted in the formation of nitric oxide, which opens up your blood vessels.
  • Meditation can slow down the progression of HIV. The white blood cells in your body have an important function in your immune system. Meditating helps producing these white blood cells, which fight the HIV virus.
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