Nirvana is the ultimate state of awakening, when one achieves complete control of his or her mind. Once there, it is your mind that controls the body, and not the other way round. In today’s day and age, with our busy lives and numerous distractions, we often tend to ignore the mental health. However, science has proven that keeping one’s mind in good shape is as important as any other physical activity. So here are few essential meditation techniques and their benefits, to get you started.
First on our list is Mindfulness, the most familiar form of meditation. Mindfulness is the act of maintaining your focus, staying in the present, and being self-aware. Breath awareness through inhalation and exhalation is central to this technique. It’s the best way to foray into the world of meditation.
Key Benefits – Reduces stress, depression and anxiety. Research data has shown that it also helps sleep better.
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Vipassana is another style that is increasingly gaining popularity. ‘Vipassana‘ in Pali translates to ‘seeing things as they really are.’ It is an age-old Buddhist practice dating back to the 6th century. In the initial stages, Vipassana also emphasizes on mindfully breathing. To start with, you calm your mind by focusing on your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. In the next phase, you gain insight into bodily sensations by observing them every moment.
Key Benefits – Helps maintain better emotional balance, and enhance the immune system. Also lowers the blood pressure.
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Transcendental Meditation (TM)
TM is derived from the ancient Vedic tradition by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Transcendental Meditation is a practice of avoiding distractions by chanting Sanskrit mantras. The ‘mantra’ technique differentiates TM from other forms that involve following one’s breath. TM gained traction in the West after Beatles visited India, and still continues to have some serious following.
Key Benefits – Relieves stress, aids in the treatment of ADHD, and lowers the risk of heart disease.
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Kundalini is a primal energy located at the base of the spine. The principle of Kundalini meditation is to awaken this untapped energy. The energy then travels up the spine to reach the Sahasrara Chakra (crown chakra) at the top of the head. This transfer of energy leads to Kundalini awakening or enlightenment. Kundalini encompasses various methods such as Breathing, Asanas, Mudras, and Mantra chanting.
Key Benefits – Calms the mind, enhances clarity of thought, and lowers anxiety.
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Zen (Zazen) Meditation
Zazen is another style that has transformed many lives. In Japanese, Zazen, popularly known as Zen, means ‘seated meditation’. Zen places strict emphasis on the posture. The spine should be straight with chin tucked in, and hands at a specific position on the belly. Zen is also about mindful breathing but by focusing on your belly instead of the nostrils.
Key Benefits – Helps sleep better, reduces stress, and relieves depression.
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