by Danielle Schwartz
Meditation is the practice of focusing one’s attention inward, sometimes on a particular thought or sensation, in an effort to alter or improve mental functioning. Meditation has been practiced for centuries throughout the world and has many health benefits. It can be done sitting, standing, walking, or lying down - but it is often most effective when done without distraction.
The goal of meditation is to achieve a state of calmness and focus which helps one cope with stress better and improve overall health. Meditation has many benefits including improved concentration, increased self-awareness, lowered anxiety and reduced depression.
Meditation is broken down into two categories: mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation. Mindfulness meditation involves being aware of thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. The aim of mindfulness meditation is to bring you into the present moment rather than being caught up in our thoughts about the past or worries about the future. A simple practice for mindfulness meditation is acknowledging a thought as it enters your mind, thanking it for visiting you, and inviting it to be on its way.
Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point such as your breath or the sound of your own voice without distraction from the outside world. In concentration meditation, you’re freeing your mind from thought by using your effort to concentrate on the single object. One way to utilize concentration meditation is to repeat a mantra. Choose a word or series of words to repeat over and over again, in your mind or out loud. If you would like, you can use a mala to count your mantra repetitions, as well.
Which type of meditation have you tried? Do you have a favorite method?
Gail Allen and Danielle Schwartz are both 500-RYT yoga professionals trained in Hatha and Kundalini Yoga. They specialize in Holistic, Trauma-Informed Counseling, Chakra Healing, Curvy Yoga, Reiki | Energy Healing, Ayurvedic Science, and other modalities of healing.