Meditation is becoming increasingly popular in the West as a form of stress reduction for the mind, body and spirit. Many people think about meditation and link it with religion, however it is increasingly used by doctors for their patients who are hypertensive, stressed and need to relax
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress, find answers to pressing problems and concerns and get in touch with your true inner desires. Meditation is used to cure headaches, anxiety, and has been found to improve the immune response facilitating a healthy lifestyle. Because meditation takes us out of our minds – literally – it means that we get to a point where we become creators of our own realities because when we drop our hang-ups, beliefs and have-to’s we free ourselves to experience life and ourselves in any way we choose to.
It is the process of concentrating the mind with the intention of bringing about a state of clarity and serenity. There are different forms of meditation, each having it’s own proponents and each bringing different benefits in terms of what one wants to achieve from it.
The benefits of meditation are many and include a reduction of tension, improvement in concentration levels when finished meditating, greater self awareness and for many improved spiritual development.
Meditation is practiced by many people around the world because of the benefits it brings. Some of these benefits are described below:
· Reduces tension and promotes relaxation. Meditation is increasingly being recommended by doctors to sufferers of stress-related illness. When practised regularly, it has been proven to lower high blood pressure, and the calm mental state experienced during meditation tends to carry over into everyday life. Similarly, the physical relaxation experienced during a session results in less muscular tension on a day-to-day basis.
· Improves concentration. During meditation, we focus all of our attention on one particular thing, concentrating in a relaxed manner (rather than straining to hold our attention). This practice in concentration allows us to focus more easily in other areas of our life too, whether that be on doing our accounts, driving, or listening to someone else talk.
· Improves self-awareness. While our mind is quiet during meditation, it is easier to notice messages that might otherwise be blocked out. We become more aware of our physical and mental state. We might notice a persistent pain, or that we are feeling quite stressed, or alternatively relaxed. Our emotions and thoughts are more open to us. Again this self-awareness tends to be present at other times. We begin to feel more accepting of ourselves and our self-esteem increases.
· Improves sleep patterns. When we learn to relax and calm our body and mind through breathing and concentration exercises, the mind and body learn that when it is time to sleep all that is needed is deep breathing and letting go of tension.
There are different forms of meditation and each is designed to achieve a different result. What they all have in common however is that they are all beneficial for relaxation, personal and spiritual development. At Bali Goddess Retreats we concentrate mainly on mantra, sometimes called japa, meditation and guided meditation. This will relax you and release tension that may be held in your mind, body and spirit and something that you can take home and enjoy long lasting benefits.
Types of Meditation at Bali Goddess Retreats
Transcendental meditation is a very popular simple and form of meditation. It brings unbelievable practical benefits to all aspects of life. The method practiced in this form of meditation offers an exceptional quality of rejuvenation in terms of releasing stress and tension and leaving the meditator extremely relaxed. Transcendental Meditation is a very practical and straightforward form of finding relaxation, particularly those lead especially hectic lives. Transcendental meditation takes around 15-20 minutes twice daily, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed, is all that is needed. This means it can easily be incorporated into an everyday habit, and can be practiced almost anywhere.
Mindfulness meditation is simple form of meditation that makes us aware of the environment around us, our habits, and of course our selves. It teaches us to become mindful and to give deliberate thought to everything we do and feel in life. We often go through life on what I call “neutral”, where we react, think and feel from habit rather than actually responding to the situation. This form of meditation is practiced wherever and whenever you choose. It can be whilst gardening – noticing the smell or colour of a flower, the grass. Perhaps when washing up – noticing the feel of soapy water, the look and colour of the soap suds, the pattern on a glass. It is especially good when wishing to become aware of your body, or change eating habits to more healthy habits. Noticing the smell and taste of food, chewing with thought, feeling the texture of an apple in your mouth, and so forth. What mindfulness meditation does is make us aware of ourselves and our surroundings and ultimately brings us to a space where we see, feel and touch beauty around us that usually we do not notice.
Guided Meditation is a form of visualization – and don’t worry you do not have to be able to imagine in techno-colour! This type of meditation takes us on a “mini vacation” where we can go and relax our mind and body and release tension in a place – beach, forest, garden etc – which makes us feel peaceful. The goal of guided meditation is to free the mind, and by doing so the body, of any stress, tension and worry that we may be experiencing. guided meditation, or visualization is especially useful when wanting to manifest a particular desire or goal that you hold in life as it programs the mind to act in a way that is most beneficial to draw your goals to you.
Japa/Mantra Meditation involves the conscious repetitions of certain sounds that in order to achieve a meditative state. Japa can be particular sounds such as Om, or Ah. These sounds not only soothe the mind but they create healing in every cell of our body as the cells echo to what we could term “sound therapy”. It is possible to make up your own mantra in the form of affirmation, or to just repeat a sound that you find appealing and let the mind go.