Reduce Stress, Lower Blood Pressure and Promote Well-Being with Meditation

Over the past couple of years, meditation, like yoga, has become wildly popular.

With so many health benefits, it’s no wonder. Meditation can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and promote feelings of well-being. It can even help you understand who you truly are at the heart of your existence.

But with so many different styles of meditation, where does one begin?

If you do a google search for the keyword “meditation,” you come up with endless styles and traditions. It’s natural to want to try them all. Before you blindly begin sampling every last one like a kid in a candy store, it’s important to understand the most common styles to see which ones resonate with you. That way you can begin a practice rather than getting lost in all the choices.

Movement Meditation

For some of you, movement meditation is best. If you feel great when you’re embodied, you’ll want to add some form of moving meditation to your daily sadhana (daily spiritual practice). This might include a home yoga practice or trip to a local yoga studio. Tai chi and qi gong might appeal to you. Taking a long walk in nature, whiling away hours in a garden, cleaning the house — these are all forms of movement meditation.

Movement-Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation

For those of you who want to easily bring meditation into your daily life, mindfulness meditation might be best for you. Mindfulness has other names — vipassana, and insight meditation. It comes from the Buddhist tradition, and involves paying attention to something that’s happening in the present moment. This might be your breath, bodily sensations, or the sounds of your environment.

By bringing a kind of nonjudgmental and focused awareness to one of these things, you’re dropping deeply into the present moment. Plus, you can do it anytime, anywhere; you can be mindful as you’re cooking dinner, doing dishes, walking your dog, making love — the list goes on and on.

The more you practice mindfulness, the more you’ll see it as a way of life. And a truly satisfying one at that.

You don’t need a teacher to practice mindfulness, either — although there are teachers out there who can help you get started.

Mindfulness is a beautiful form of meditation that enhances your life. It even has anti-aging effects, as this study shows.

Mindfulness-Meditation

Mantra Meditation

Sometimes it’s really hard to sit still and focus. I find that during those times, mantra meditation is a good bet.

Why?

Because it’s powerful.

Mantra meditation comes from the yoga tradition and involves chanting a mantra (sacred syllable or syllables) over and over again. You can chant out loud, or softly to yourself. You might even chant silently, holding the mantra in your mind’s eye. The quiet repetition of sound works to quiet the mind, bringing you into a trance-like state of being.

Mantra meditation gets even more fun when you treat yourself to a beautiful set of mala beads which helps you keep track of your repetitions. I think mantra is great for beginners and advanced meditators alike.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is probably the most widely popular form of meditation in the West, although mindfulness is definitely catching up. Made popular by the Beatles, transcendental meditation was created by Maharishi Mahesh, one of the most beloved yogis and spiritual teachers of all time.

This form of meditation is a lot like mantra meditation, however, in this case each individual is given a particular mantra to meditate upon. The mantra depends on a person’s gender and birth date. In this way, it’s more structured and personal than a general mantra meditation. Most students of transcendental meditation are encouraged to practice it for twenty minutes, two times a day. 

Transcendental-Meditation

Lovingkindness Meditation

Lovingkindness meditation, also known as metta meditation, is another form of meditation that helps open the heart. Finding its origin in the Buddhist tradition, lovingkindness meditation increases your capacity for compassion and empathy for all sentient beings. Simply google “lovingkindness meditation” and you’ll find guidelines as to how to do it.

Kundalini Meditation

The kundalini yoga tradition has an endless array of various meditations that involve chanting and also kriyas (bodily movements). This style of meditation is great for those of you who want to raise your energy and tap into your subtle energy flow while also altering your state of mind (for the better). These can be challenging, so you’ll want to follow a teacher and start slowly.

Whatever meditation style you choose, you won’t be disappointed. Meditation can enhance your life in so many ways.

May you be well and age with grace.

 

Last updated: 01.16.2018
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Written byKristin Heller

Kristin is a passionate writer, teacher and mother to a wonderful son. She is currently volunteering at Freedom Care, a company that helps with New York’s CDPAP program. When free time presents itself, you can find her tackling her lifelong goal of learning the piano!

Evergreen Wellness Avatar

Written by Kristin Heller

Kristin is a passionate writer, teacher and mother to a wonderful son. She is currently volunteering at Freedom Care, a company that helps with New York’s CDPAP program. When free time presents itself, you can find her tackling her lifelong goal of learning the piano!

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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