Health and Fitness healthandfitness

The Daily Om: The Benefits of Meditation

Saturday, October 18, 2014 Brittany Lohmann

The act of mediation dates back thousands of years and is still practiced today in various forms. Some of the more commonly known forms of meditation include Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga, as well as guided and mantra. Further, it is commonly agreed upon that long-term meditative practice fosters such benefits as reduced stress, improved mood, as well as improved cardiovascular health. It is also suggested that people with greater meditation experience have better emotional intelligence as well as less perceived stress and negative mental health (Chu, Li Chuan).

However, you don’t have to become a yogi in order to achieve better health. In fact, performing a few simple exercises throughout the day can lead to improved mood, memory, and everyday functioning; as well as reduce fatigue, depression, and confusion.

To unleash your inner yogi, start with these brief exercises to practice and experience mindfulness:

Deep breathing. Deep breathing techniques are as it sounds. Focus your attention on your breath, consciously slowly inhaling and exhaling. The process will force you to slow down and empty your thoughts, if only for a minute or two.

Body scanning. When performing a body scan, concentrate on how each portion of your body feels, working your way down from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. The practice reveals where tension exists in the body and then allows you to fully relax.

Mantra. Mantra meditation requires you to repeat a particular word or phrase you find calming. By focusing all of your attention on the words, the mind is able to release itself of the worries and anxiety it may feel, and as a result, allow the rest of the body to unwind.

Focus on love & gratitude. If you have a tendency to sweat the small stuff, perhaps focusing on love and gratitude may put you at ease. By concentrating on the larger things in life, such as friends, family, your home, your job, your dog – whatever you love and are thankful for, your mind is then allowed to reconsider what is really important rather than getting wound up over what would otherwise be seen as inconsequential.

Regardless of what type of meditative practice you try, first seek out a quiet setting where you can be comfortable. Once you have pinpointed your location relax your breathing and focus all of your attention on your practice.  Simply repeating these exercises 3-4 times per week can help you reap the benefits that yogis, Qi Gong, and Tai Chi practitioners have experienced for thousands of years.

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