A regular meditation practice helps with many things—stress reduction, increased self-awareness, pain relief and the ability to tune distractions out.
According to a study published in the Brain Research Bulletin in 2011, people who meditated regularly showed a profound improvement in the alpha brain wave activity. Our brain uses alpha waves when we concentrate, which made the researchers conclude that people who meditate may be more skilled at being able to tune out background distractions and focus on a task—whether it’s reading a book on the bus or finishing a project at work.
However, if you’re hassled and want to relax your nerves, sitting in silent meditation may seem far-fetched. This is just one style to meditate, and the key to talk yourself into meditating is to explore the various styles until you find one that suits you best.
So, if you are a beginner trying to get some ‘Om’ in your life, here are four potent styles that will get you started.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
One of the most well-known meditation techniques, mindfulness is all about being aware of the activity surrounding you. With a fluidic state of mind, you can drift from one thought to another, not really focusing on any one thing.
With that in mind, incorporating mindfulness meditation in your daily life will not only lower stress, but also help the brain have better control over processing pain and emotions, according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara also suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with wide-reaching consequences. Watch this video to know more about it.
2. Mantra Recitation
A mantra is nothing but a word or a phrase that is chanted loudly during meditation. Yogis believe that repeating a phrase in steady rhythm unclutters the mind. You can recite and adjust your volume as high or as low as you want. The mantra ‘Om’ is often used in yoga as it is thought to develop deep vibrations which helps you focus better.
Apart from being empowering and making us forget the woes of the mortal world, mantra recitation helps remove stress from your daily life. It also regulates the communication between the nervous and endocrine systems, which can trigger healing of the parasympathetic system and improve immunity. Mantra meditation channels the flow of energy through the mind-body circuit, adjusting the chemical composition of our internal states and regulating brain-hemisphere imbalances, which can alleviate anxiety and depression.
3. Somatic Meditation
If you are a beginner at meditation, the best way to start is by practicing breathing techniques. Focusing on your own breath not only clears your brain, but can also relieve stress and alleviate depression. Here’s how you can practice somatic meditation: Start by counting your inhales and exhales and as you notice that you’re getting deeper into a relaxed state of mind, stop counting and just enjoy the moment. Yogi Cameron shares some tips to master the art of controlled breathing in this video.
4. Movement Meditation
If you’re all by yourself and really want to calm your stressed mind, then try a hand at movement meditation, which can extremely refreshing and uplifting at the same time.
Sitting with your eyes closed, focus on your breath and try out different gentle, repetitive flowing movements. You can either try a slow left and right swaying motion or move your entire upper body in a slow circular motion.
A simple and easy form of exercise, movement therapy can help balance the neuromuscular system. This type of meditation also works wonders for people recovering from movement-related injuries.
The best way to develop a habit is to practice meditation daily. Try starting with 10 minutes a day as soon as you wake up in the morning. Always remember, consistency matters more than time, and quality matters more than quantity. Happy meditating!