Meditation has been making headlines lately. CEOs and yogis alike have been incorporating meditation into their daily routines﹘ and for good reason. Meditation has countless benefits, including calming the nervous system, reducing stress levels, and increasing one’s overall happiness. With all these amazing benefits, it’s no wonder humans have been practicing meditation for over 5000 years.
What is Meditation? Our minds are constantly going, making lists and decisions, following plans and sticking to schedules. Meditation is the acting of slowing down this constant chatter; it is when thoughts fall away, but the mind stays bright. In essence, it is the conscious decision to do nothing but breathe for a decided period of time. There are many different ways to meditate, but all of them have a similar goal of calming the mind and relaxing the body.
How Meditation Helps You Find Your Breath. Many of us go through our days without giving a second thought to our breath. After a while, your breath becomes very shallow and weak. This means your body gets less of what it needs most (air), causing fatigue and health problems. Meditation can help you connect with your breath, encouraging deep breathing not only during your meditation practice but during everyday activities as well. Through maintaining a long-term meditation practice, you can improve your energy levels, ability to concentrate, and overall well-being.
Let’s look at a few different ways you can bring meditation into your routine.
Mantra Meditation. In this form of meditation, a word or phrase is used as a concentration tool. It can be as simple as saying or thinking “one” with each inhale and “two” with each exhale. Syncing the words up with your breath is key to staying focused on your breathing. You can also simply think or say the words inhale and exhale as you breathe.
Guided Meditation. If mantra meditation doesn’t speak to you or you have a hard time staying focused, guided meditations might be the way to go. These pre-recorded meditations, lead you through your meditation practice, helping you to stay focused on your breath and let your thoughts float away. You can find guided meditations on YouTube or meditation apps like Headspace. Just hit play, close your eyes, and find your zen.
Hit Pause. You might be saying, “How long is this going to take? I don’t have time to just sit around doing nothing.” Short meditation sessions are just as beneficial as long ones. Practice mini-meditations throughout your day that help you to reconnect with your breath. Just take a couple minutes (maybe just at your desk or in a quieter space), close your eyes, and focus on your inhales and exhales. Even if you can just fit one 2-minute meditation session in per day, you will start to reap all the benefits that meditation has to offer.
I’ve found that by improving your breathing you also improve your balance. Balance is one of the keys to staying strong and healthy for a lifetime. To learn more about how breathing and balance affect your health, check out my posts “Balance﹘ The Key to Good Health” and “Back Pain: The Breathing and Balance Connection.” Happy meditating!
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