By Lori Cipolla
Keeping meditation simple is the key to success. You don’t want to look at this as another chore. Meditation can be done in minutes or longer if you choose. There are also different types of meditation. You will want to select one that works best for you. Let’s take a look at three of the more common types of meditation.
Mindfulness meditation also known as vipassana meditation, mindfulness meditation practices awareness and helps you become aware of your breathing. Typically, in this type of meditation one focuses on creating awareness in the lowest part of the body (toes) and works their way up to heightened awareness (head). This type helps you discover a calm and non-judgmental state of mind.
Yoga meditation focuses on quieting the mind and learning to stay in the present. Typically, beginners stay focused on one simple thing such as the rhythm of their breathing or a flame swaying on a candle. If you are new to this, your mind will probably wonder which is completely normal. Once you are aware of drifting thoughts, calmly try to bring yourself back to the present. Start with just a few minutes, slowly working your way up to a longer period of time. Being seated with good posture is recommended.
Mantra meditation is practiced with repetition of a personal phrase or word. This can be done silently or out loud. If you start by determining your intention, it will help assist you to identify the best mantras to chant. You want to select a quiet, somewhat dark, comfortable place to practice your mantra meditation. This will help you maintain concentration. When chanting, feel the vibration from your lower belly. Through this process you can select moments of silence.
Some of the more obvious benefits of practicing meditation include stress reduction, improvement in mood, and sense of calmness. Let us take a look at the mind: due to the advancement of technology, neuroscientists have been able to peek into the mind through such techniques as a MRI. A 2012 study done the Laborartoy of Neuro Imaging at UCLA found that people who practice meditation showed higher levels of gyrification. Gyrification is the “folding” of the cerebral cortex. When gyrification occurs, the brain is able to process information faster.
Meditating on a regular basis improves the body in many ways, assisting in improving energy levels, breathing, and heart rate levels. The American Heart Association also reveals studies that show meditation helps lower blood pressure and increase longevity.
You can practice meditation in the privacy of your own home or you can attend meditation classes. UCLA Health has a great option for those unsure of how to begin a mediation practice but would prefer to meditate from home. They are helpful introductions to practice mindful meditation. Podcasts are also available on iTunes.
For those who are looking to taking a class or willing to attend a retreat, Integrative Health Services of Rhode Island and MeditationinRhodeIsland.org are options to look into. Whatever your choice is, you will find that putting aside as little as 5-10 minutes daily will bring you many benefits.
Lori Cipolla is from Cranston, Rhode Island. She is a certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist. She is an Elite 1 Fit Gear athlete elite1fitgear.refersion.com/c/8f40 , wife, mom of 5, and Fitmark Bags Ambassador. She can be reached at [email protected].