Complementary Therapists > Psychotherapies > Meditation
Meditation - Ireland
What is Meditation ?
Meditation is frequently described as emptying of the mind or a cessation of the thought process. For many people meditation is a part of their everyday lives, indeed it is a way of life for many. It is a three stage process that ultimately leads to a state consciousness that engenders clarity, a sense of serenity and deep contentment. Regular meditation decreases stress and induces relaxation.
It is also known to improve moods and memory, and to be an effective self-treatment for depression. Along with the somewhat obvious psychological benefits meditation also improves physical health by reducing the resting heart rate, controlling the flow of oxygen to the lungs, and by reducing blood pressure. It also promotes youthful skin and complexion.
The techniques used in meditation are relatively simple to learn. The best way to learn is under the careful guidance of a practised and experienced teacher. A teacher will tutor you in how to apply the meditation technique and how to deal with any difficulties that you might encounter.
Perhaps most importantly, a teacher can offer the encouragement and inspiration of their own example. There are many reasons to learn meditation. Some people want to improve their concentration for work, study, or sporting activity. Other people may be seeking calm and peace of mind.
There are also people who are trying to find answers to the fundamental questions about life. With regular practice meditation can help all of us to find what we are looking for.
How to Meditate
A regular meditation routine does not impinge upon your life to any significant degree. For many people their routine takes up just 20 minutes per day. It is best to meditate during a time of the day where you are least likely to be distracted. Most teachers recommend that you meditate in the morning when your mind and body is fresh after a good night's sleep.
However there are people that prefer to meditate before going to sleep to clear their mind. Both timings have merit. Avoid meditation immediately after eating or at a time when you are feeling hungry. The feeling of hunger and feeling of fullness can be a significant distraction while meditating. The key to successful meditation is it to have a clear mind and body.
When meditating it is important to pay attention to you surroundings. Always meditate in a clean room and one in which feel relaxed and comfortable. It is preferable to have a separate room for meditation and to avoid using your bedroom.
Only share your meditation space with those who have the same thoughts as you. Meditating in the same room each day will assist you in bringing about a meditative state more easily and quickly. During meditation make sure to avoid as many distractions as possible by switching off the television, radio, phones.
Meditation is ideally done in a seated position on the ground however you can also use a cushion or pillow to make the meditation experience more comfortable. Many people find the lotus position is conducive to mediation but it is not absolutely necessary. An erect posture is very helpful in achieving high levels of awareness and peacefulness.
Regardless of what posture you use it is important to be comfortable so that you are not conscious of your own body. If you choose to sit on a chair you should sit up straight with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Mediation is also possible while lying down although there is a risk of falling asleep during the process.
Types of Meditation
There are a number of different types of meditation techniques that fall under two general categories: concentrative meditation and non-concentrative meditation. Although there are many varieties of meditation that have their origins in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and other origins, they all focus on calming the mind. When your mind is occupied with feelings of peacefulness and serenity it cannot take start to worry or feel stressed. The following are some types of meditation methods that you can try out:
Breath Watching Meditation
This version of meditation focuses on watching and being aware of your breathing during the session. Begin in a comfortable position and close your eyes paying attention to your breathing. By breathing slowly through your nose you will work your diaphragm thus allowing oxygen reach the bottom of your lungs. As your mind wanders, try to focus on the air going into and out of your nose and throughout your entire body.
This meditation method involves using your body. It is possible to meditate while walking down the street, around your home or even while jogging. As your mind begins to wander, focus on the movement of your body parts and your breathing. Concentrate on the feeling of your feet as they make contact with the ground.
Buddhists call this vipassanna or insight meditation. Mindfulness meditation is about concentrating on what is happening around you and being conscious of your thoughts and feelings as you meditate. Your mind should be open to your true emotions and feelings. There should be not be any judgement on your thoughts. Buddhist monks use this method as a way of self-awakening. Begin by watching your breath, then pay attention to your thoughts in your mind, and even the sounds and sights surrounding you. The key to success with this method is not to analyse or be judgmental of anything.
Empty Mind Meditation
This method of meditation requires you to dispel or empty all of your thoughts from your mind. Your mind should rest and become becalmed. It is necessary to sit in a cross-legged position with your spine erect in a quiet room so that you have no distractions.
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
This is one of the best known forms of meditation. Transcendental meditation (TM) involves the repeated chanting of a mantra until a dreamlike state of mind has been achieved. This is a particularly helpful method for those who are easily distracted as chanting a mantra helps to maintain focus and to prevent the mind from wandering. You may use any word or phrase that works for you and you may either repeat it out loud or quietly in your head.
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