WHAT IT IS
Meditation is a practice that engages both the mind and body.
Meditation is often used as a natural treatment for a variety of illnesses and conditions. [National Institutes of Health]
People meditate for the various reasons, including boosting overall health, well-being, and self-awareness.
FORMS OF MEDITATION
Focusing on a single thing for 15-20 minutes.
Typically involves repeating a mantra or series of Sanskrit words.
Famous Practitioner: Katy Perry
Observing wandering thoughts as they enter and exit your mind. Over time, you may recognize patterns of how your mind works.
Famous Practitioner: Jon Kabat-Zinn
Guided or Zen
Having a trained instructor
guide you through observation of breath and mind through seated meditation.
Famous Practitioner: Dalai Lama
Specific and careful practice of body, breath, mantra, and mudra (hand position).
Famous Practitioner: Jennifer Aniston
Studies on meditation and relaxation have documented the following short-term benefits: [National Institutes of Health]
Improved blood circulation
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Less perspiration (sweat)
- Slower respiratory rate
- Less anxiety
- Lower blood cortisol levels
- Feelings of well-being
- Less stress and deeper relaxation
- Weight loss (through conscious eating)
Potential benefits of meditation
Studies have shown that practicing meditation as a daily relaxation method can help relieve stress. [VOA]
Meditation can alter the expression of an individual’s genes. These changes can positively affect the mitochondria, insulin production, and other genes related to energy levels. [Time], [The Washington Post]
Working memory and concentration skills can be improved with meditation. One study found that students who took a meditation class significantly increased their standardized-test scores. [The Atlantic]
There are other ways to live a mindful life if meditation is not your preference [Forbes] – take a walk and observe nature, breath deeply before a stressful situation, or pause to pay attention to your surroundings at any moment.