By Angela Glaz
500 Hour E-RYT & Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor
Meditation is training the mind to find ease, stillness, and focus. It is a way to cultivate more self-awareness so that we can better ourselves and act rather than react to what life throws our way. Much like physical exercise conditions our body to be healthy , meditation trains our minds to be healthy.
While meditation has definitely evolved into a number of things, there are two styles that don’t ever go out of style and leave us with a number of wonderful benefits.
Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point or finding what you call a drishti. A drishti is the Sanskrit term for single focal point. In meditation or even our yoga practice, a drishti could be a little spot on the floor or the wall, in image, a word, a color that we imagine in our mind. It could be the intent in the flow of our breath, repeating a single word or mantra, or counting beads on a mala. It’s essentially practicing doing one thing at a time.
We currently live in a society that loves to multi-task, so this meditation practice can be challenging at first, but just like anything will get easier and also reward you with the ability to focus, do things better, and be present.
If you are newer to meditation, fair warning, the mind will probably wander a lot, but that is why we have that drishti. Our drishti is our anchor, as it helps reign the mind back to stillness and ease.
Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.
Think of your thoughts as a river. Think of your mind as you standing on that riverbank watching your thoughts float by. You’re not going to jump in because if you did, you’re going to carried away by the current, by your thoughts. Instead, you’re going to observe without judgement.
Through mindfulness meditation, you will start to see particular thought patterns, you will cultivate more self-awareness, and be able to stop negative thought patterns before they even begin.
Walking meditation is a simple and easy way release tension and heaviness, sooth the mind, and cultivate a balanced state of being. The movement aspect of the meditation encourages the body and mind to be alert and confident. This particular practice is great for those that are newer to meditation or tend to get sleepy or even fall asleep during seated meditations.
This practice is also a great stepping stone for the other two meditation practices as it encourages us to be present and mindful as well as focused. A meditative walk is different than a brisk walk, as you should allow your walking be easy and natural. With each step, paying attention to the physical action you are doing along with the sensations the you feel within your body along with that movement.
Benefits of meditation
- Decreases stress, anxiety, and worry
- Decreases depression
- Increases focus and concentration
- Increases self-confidence
- Increases happiness
- Improves mood and emotional intelligence
- Slows aging
- Benefits cardiovascular and immune health
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves circulation