Today I wanted to tell you about meditation, not as part of yoga practice but as an exercise in itself. And is that meditating at least 20 minutes a day brings us great benefits: it helps to calm us and improves our health, both physical and mental. There are already some numerous studies that speak of the benefits of meditation in our brain, our heart or our immune system.
To begin with, we should ask ourselves what is meditation? Surely each one has his own answer: To apply the thought deeply to the consideration of something, to contemplate something, to reflect or to leave the mind blank are some of the most common answers. And there are so many definitions as people, and that is that meditation is something very personal, each of us expects things other than practice and live in different ways. Although they all have one point in common: it is a moment that you dedicate to yourself, a moment where you stop doing and try to calm the mind.
Schools of Meditation
According to Vipassana (one of the oldest meditation techniques in India) to meditate is to see things as they are, to see things clearly without pre-established ideas. For this, you only have to observe your body and your mind, something simple as well as complicated, since we are not accustomed to observing without valuing. At first, you start observing the breath, as it enters and exits your breath through the nose or as it swells and deflates your stomach, you simply take a point where you notice your breathing and you observe it! Once you have 'trained' with the breath you go to observe the sensations of your body and your mind and you try not to react to them, that is, you allow the sensations, thoughts, etc. Flow freely.
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According to Zazen (one of the most widespread techniques in the West) to meditate is to sit in concentration, for this, you must count the breaths and if any distraction arises you must start the account again. In this way, the unconscious is cleared of all unnecessary content and entered into a state of 'emptiness' that will allow you to reach a state of silence and inner peace.
To meditate we do not need anything, just win. You can meditate while sitting or while doing any of your daily tasks. Although at first it is recommended to practice in a quiet place where no one bothers you, and sitting comfortably on a zafu, a pair of blankets or a chair (as in yoga the back should be erected to facilitate breathing), With practice you will be able to meditate in any place and situation.
Once seated and relaxed there are several ways to perform meditation as I mentioned before, one is to focus attention on an object, usually breathing (as it serves as a bridge between the physical body, mood, and mind), and Suppress the free roaming of the mind. Another form is the so-called free or non-directive, although it also focuses on breathing this allows the free flow of thoughts. You decide which one you prefer!
Benefits of Meditation
While meditation is often associated with a state of tranquility, there are studies that already relate meditation with benefits on a physical and psychic level. For example, there are studies that show that the more self-absorbed we are in our thoughts the more active is the "default neural network" (DMN), a kind of internal autopilot that controls our actions while the mind is at rest or distracted. When meditating the activity of the DMN is diminished and a new neural network is developed by default where there are a greater consciousness and less reverie. What positively impacts our health, and is that this autopilot of the brain is involved in neurological diseases ranging from depression to Alzheimer's.
There are also studies that say that meditation positively influences the immune system as well as the cardiovascular system. And it seems that the benefits of meditation are countless.
Starting meditative practice is difficult at first, I suggest you start small, maybe the first day you can only be one minute but with patience and will you reach the 20 minutes I mentioned at the beginning (although the ideal is to practice about 45 minutes Daily). You can also look for a center where they conduct guided meditations because at the beginning always arise doubts and having the experience of a tutor is always helpful. But the main thing is to practice, everything you can read or you can count is worthless if you do not experience it, so to meditate!
Good start to the week!