Meditation has been practiced for centuries and in loads of different cultures but why sit around and think of nothing?
Dyhana or meditation is one of the eight limbs of yoga according to an ancient script, Patanjali’s yoga sutras. In fact, the main function of yoga according to Patanjali is to still the fluctuations or disturbances of the mind.
Surely the inactivity of meditation is not good for you and should only be practiced by Buddhist monks!
Well regularly meditating has been shown by many research studies to have so many benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing.
5 reasons to practice meditation
- Best mental health investment: With anxiety and depression on the increase, investing 10mins of your time daily can really help to improve your mental wellbeing. How does this happen? The stress response of the sympathetic nervous system is switched off, as meditation stimulates your rest and digest state or parasympathetic system. Research on students prior to their final exams showed a reduction in stress and anxiety levels after completing a six-week yoga and meditation program.
- No special equipment: Meditation practice does not require any special equipment or clothing just a comfortable outfit and quiet place to sit. It is not necessary to practice crossed legged on the floor, or even on a beautiful beach, as all you need is a comfy chair, sofa or even your bed. It is recommended that you sit upright preferably to avoid any temptation to have 40 winks!. Using a timer app, such as Insight timer, on your mobile can be helpful, though switch off those annoying notifications to reduce possible disturbances.
- Free and accessible: Once you have learnt the basics principles of meditating then it is simply a matter of finding the space in your day to access this mental health boost. Some people like to join a group to meditate with but for most of us we like the freedom to be able to meditate when and wherever we want to do so. It is a skill which needs practicing as can be tricky to stay focused on the present moment.
- Changes your brain functioning: There are plenty of research projects showing how the neuroplasticity of the brain changes with regular meditating. This means that sitting still and thinking of nothing for short periods of time every day can actually change how your brain functions. This leads to improved concentration and clarity of thought. I find that my thoughts definitely slow down when I have meditated.
- Improves the quality of your sleep: Problems with getting and staying asleep are even more common now, due to the increase in stress levels being experienced in our society. Studies on people suffering from chronic insomnia showed a massive improvement when they meditated on a regular basis.