Why You Should Meditate
There is an old zen saying: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
Yoga is both an inward and outward journey. Setting an intention when you begin your practice can help you to focus and find yourself in the practice. Meditation is the same. By setting your intention and bringing your consciousness inward, you can discover not only who you are but who you wish to be.
The benefits of meditation are vast. Having a regular meditation practice can completely change your perspective on yourself and the world around you. Regular meditation practice has been proven to have significant benefits on the body and the mind. As meditation has grown more popular in the west, there has been an increase in scientific studies on its effects, the results of which have proven what the Yogis of India have known for thousands of years.
In its purest sense, Meditation – or dhyana – is a state of pure consciousness. It is the seventh limb of the yogic path and follows dharana, which is the art of concentration. Dhyana precedes samadhi to lead you to enlightenment, the last step in Patanjali’s eight-limbed system
The first four limbs—yama (ethics), niyama (self-discipline), asana (posture), and Pranayama (life-force extension)—are considered external disciplines. Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses. However, Meditation is about awareness – of yourself, your surroundings and your consciousness.
There are different forms of meditation, from mantra and chanting, Yoga Nidra and Loving Kindness, or just mindful breathing. However, we can all benefit from a regular meditation practice.
Meditation For Anxiety & Stress
There are so many benefits to a regular meditation practice, both physically and mentally, but the most commonly reported findings are:
- Reduces, and helps to control, anxiety. Regular meditation has been proven in a number of studies to significantly reduce, and help with the management of anxiety.
- Reduced stress levels and effects of stress. Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people start meditation, and it’s proven that regular meditation very quickly reduces stress levels.
- Improves sleep and can help with insomnia. By reducing stress and learning to recognise the fluctuations of the mind, regular meditation can significantly improve your sleep patterns.
Meditation Techniques For Beginners
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. It is just about being comfortable and taking your consciousness inward. However, here are some of our favourite tips on how to benefit most from your meditation practice.
Take some time to wind down before you start your practice, so your mind is clear and you’re ready to start your meditation. Sit comfortably, with your hands in your lap or at your sides, and you can close your eyes while you listen to the guided practice.
Have a time and place to meditate
When you schedule a time of the day to meditate, it is easier to establish the practice as a habit, and you’ll be more likely to do it each day. Meditating in a quiet place can help you to become more aware of your intentions and thoughts during the practice.
Observe your breath.
Simply focus on your breathing while you meditate. You might repeat, “breathing in, breathing out” in time with your in-and-out breath. This concentration technique helps you learn to focus on one point.
Sit quietly for the prescribed amount of time, observing what comes and goes in the mind without trying to control it.
Scan your body.
This technique comes from the Vipassana tradition, where you observe sensations in the body. Like thoughts, sensations all pass.
Start a journal
Keeping track of your thoughts before and after your meditation practice can help you to gain awareness of your inner thoughts and provide clarity to your perception of the world around you.
Join Our 10 Day Meditation Challenge
Join our 10 Day Meditation challenge to find a new perspective on life and yourself. Our video library on the Himalaya Yoga Valley app is full of meditation classes available whenever you need them.