Meditation is a practice that goes back thousands of years and is used to bring about mental clarity and focus, alleviate stress, experience deep relaxation, center your life force and encourage restoration. To meditate is to cultivate peace and healing inside oneself
. Contrary to common misunderstandings of the practice, meditation is not primarily about thinking about nothing. Rather, it’s about learning to choose your thoughts
, favoring the ones that bring you more fully into the present and letting go of the ones that keep you dwelling on the past, which you cannot change, or worrying about the future, which you cannot control. For many, this can be done simply by focusing on the breath.
While there is no such thing as being good or bad at meditation, it is definitely something you can become more experienced at doing over time. That’s why we call it a practice! While today you may find it impossible not to allow your thoughts to wander to your grocery list or that pile of laundry waiting for you at home, with time you will find that your thoughts do begin to clear, your heart rate slows and you are drawn more fully into the freedom of the here and now.
At Alpha Hearts, we believe that meditation is a key component to mental health and balance, from which anyone can benefit. Wherever you may be at on your journey, it’s never too early to start reaping the benefits of this relaxing, restorative discipline. Below, we give an “Easy Entrance Guide” to meditation for beginners, along with several different disciplines for you to try as you get more into it.
All of these and more are an important part of the Alpha Hearts Lifework Method ®
, designed to bring you closer to the nature and essence of who you are and help you achieve your goals.
Easy Entrance Guide to Meditation
: Find a quiet place with few distractions and get comfortable. You can choose to sit or lie down.
: Close your eyes or focus on a specific point in the distance.
: Allow yourself to breathe naturally. If you’re sitting, imagine a string is connected to the top of your head, drawing your spine up. If you’re lying down, allow each muscle to neutralize and relax.
: Observe your breath and the way your shoulders, chest and belly move along with it. Allow your mind to wander without judgment, periodically drawing your attention back to your breath. As you start out, it may be a good idea to set a timer. You can also incorporate some of the disciplines listed below.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that can be practiced almost anywhere. It helps ground your thoughts in the present by increasing awareness of your existing surroundings, including the sights, sounds and smells. Breath awareness, as discussed above, is already a form of mindfulness, along with Progressive Muscle Relaxation
and the See/Hear/Feel (5-4-3-2-1) Technique
. Mindfulness is perhaps the most common theme to all forms of meditation.
A mantra is a word, vibration, syllable or affirmation that is repeated in order to cultivate focus and intention while meditating. Mantras are considered to be the very sound of divinity, whether silent or audible, and have psychological and spiritual healing powers. Alpha Hearts Lifework Method ® in particular uses mantras of affirmation to clear the mind of unhealthy and unproductive thoughts in order to arrive at the essence of self. A mantra of affirmation can be anything from “I am becoming better every day” to “I am here, I am present, I am worthy.”
Chanting is a form of mantra meditation that is specifically spoken aloud, allowing an altered state of consciousness to take over
and facilitate healing, calm and stimulation. Think of the repetitive nature of worry and anxiety. Chanting allows this nature to be silenced
, grounding the mind and body in the present and making the meditation practice easier in general. A powerful mantra you might chant for meditation is “Ohm” or “Aum.” Considered to be the most universal mantra, research suggests the “Aum” resonates with the natural frequency of the universe (432 Hz)
and therefore brings us back into communion with it.
A yantra is a sacred image or symbol, usually geometric in design
, that can be used as a focal point for meditation. Translated literally from the Sanskrit for “instrument” or “machine,” a yantra is a powerful, spiritual tool that can be used to achieve deeper connection to the divine. Popular yantra images
include the lotus, the six pointed star and endless knots. Such images are considered merely two-dimensional constructs of three-dimensional concepts, encompassing the mind and all the mysteries of the universe. This is why so many of them are often symbols of deities
. A yantra is merely a projection of our consciousness, of our community, of life itself. Thus is the basis of its transformative power.
Also known as sleep meditation or yogic sleep, yoga nidra is a state of being that both requires and allows the body to be completely relaxed in order to enter a state of deeper meditation. In the same way that the body is designed to restore cellular health and metabolic processes through REM and deep sleep, the brain is also capable of being rewired and restructured through meditation practices like yoga nidra. Although research is ongoing, it is already suggested as a great resource for sufferers of PTSD
The benefits of meditation are scientifically backed
and have shown to result in reduced anxiety, quieter thoughts and enhanced perception, improving your ability to interpret thoughts in a more positive manner. Akshaya (Good luck!) to you as you begin this relaxing, restorative journey.
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