Meditation is a state of being focused on a certain thought and involves the “quieting of the mind” as you concentrate inwardly, resulting to a more relaxed and calm feeling.
This relaxation technique can help a person develop his personality through mental discipline as well as encourage his spiritual well-being by communing with God.
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Meditation elicits many descriptive terms: stillness, silence, tranquility, peace, quiet, and calm. All counter stress and tension. Lama Surya Das in his book Awakening The Buddha Within says, “Meditation is not just something to do; it’s a method of being and seeing – an unconditional way of living moment by moment.” In other words, learning to live in this moment because this moment is all we have. Henry Winkler is quoted as saying; “A human being’s first responsibility is to shake hands with himself.” Meditation is an opportunity to ‘shake hands with ourselves’ in a safe, simple way and to balance our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Meditation takes many forms in today’s society. All have one thing in common. They use concentration techniques to still the mind and stop thought. Various practices exist such as chanting (Mantra), focusing on energy centres in the body (Chakra Meditation), breathing, mindfulness (Mahamudra), loving kindness, formal sitting (Vipassana), expressive practices (Siddha Yoga), and walking to name some of the styles. Try each style and see what works for you or you may want to alternate between the techniques from time to time. For the purposes of this article, I will discuss Mahamudra and walking meditation.
Practical Steps To Begin Meditating
1. Find a place where there are few external distractions. A place where you feel emotionally comfortable, safe, removed from pressure and stress is the optimal location.
2. Wear clothing that is loose and sit or lie in a comfortable position.
However, when you are meditating, these flows of Water and Fire energies are reversed. The Water energy is drawn up to the head through the Central and Governing channels, while the Fire energy from the heart is drawn down into the Lower Elixir Field in the abdomen, where the energy is refined and transformed.
This process allows the mind of intent, which is Water, to provide a soothing and relaxing effect over the mind of emotion, which is Fire. Hence, meditation relaxation occurs.
5. Relaxation is a key component of meditation. Take a few moments to bring about a state of relaxation by taking a deep breath through your nose, expanding your lungs and diaphragm. Hold the breath for a few seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this several times until you feel relaxed.
Meditation relaxation involves the body and mind.
* It is recommended to choose the same moment of the day, as well as the same place, for your meditation routine.
But this method is a skill which needs to be learned properly. Training in the art of meditation relaxation is necessary to avoid getting distractions.
Mahamudra is the form of meditation that is a way of going about one’s daily activities in a state of mindfulness. It is meditation integrated into all aspects of our lives. This following exercise is one you can do anywhere to create a feeling of inner peace. It is particularly helpful for those times you are stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store or bank, at the office when days are hectic, or when you are picking up the kids from school or extra-curricular activities. “What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it,” wrote Hugh Mulligan. Meditation helps us remember to stop and ‘smell the daisies.’
What some practitioners do is to make use of external device or stimulus like music or visual support to get to that state of relaxation. However, to train the mind means not relying on this external technique but directly working in the mind itself.
In order to train the restless mind, one must first acknowledge it as restless and that it will not easily come through.
Give the mind something to do, something internal and real, not external or a fantasy.
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Pay attention to your body. Are you holding tension in your shoulders, neck, solar plexus, lower back, or legs? Breath into any areas where you are feeling tension and let it drain into the Earth. Next, pay attention to your posture. Are you standing straight and tall or slouching? Walk in a way that is comfortable for you with your body loose and uplifted. Walk with dignity and confidence, one foot in front of the other and pay attention to the experience of movement. You can walk mindfully anywhere, along a sidewalk, walking your dog, in the mall, along the hallways at work. You simply remind yourself to be in this moment, taking each step as it comes. Some people find it helpful to repeat a mantra (mantras are sacred words repeated in order to bring focus to your mind). You can also use a variation on the walking mantra by counting your breaths. Walk more slowly than you usually do and count how many steps it takes for your intake of breath and how many steps for your exhale. In this type of meditation, your attention is focused on both your steps and your breathing bringing together a wonderful balance of peacefulness and awareness.Take some time to reflect on your experience when you return home. Five or ten minutes brings closure to your walk and provides an opportunity to make the transition from this ‘place of peace’ to ordinary day-to-day activities.
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