Why Meditate at all?
Almost every day, we leave our comfort zone and face tense situations in our high-paced life. With the advent of quarantine, it would seem that there should have been fewer, but everything turned out differently. A 24-hour stay within four walls, continuous interaction with household members, the absence of a line between remote work and rest – all this can be attributed to obvious stress factors that are layered on top of each other. Then, along with them, negative, often unnecessary thoughts accumulate in our minds.
Meditation is an excellent way to break the vicious circle of tension and get rid of them. We’ll find out how Eastern practices work in everyday life. With fitness trainer and marathon runner Vladimir Lepesa, we’ll look at a few practical ways to make them work for you.
How to meditate properly: instructions for beginners
Relax, recover after your workout, and find joy in the little things with these practices.
What is meditation, and why do we need it?
We often believe that meditation is a very specific activity that is needed only by yogis and those who are seriously interested in spiritual practices. In fact, meditation has long been transformed from a highly moral direction of Eastern culture into a convenient and practical activity available to everyone. It is necessary for absolutely all people, especially those in self-isolation.
To meditate is observing yourself and your thoughts. It is a conscious experience of them, the ability to separate oneself from the emotional component and not identify with one’s thoughts. Therefore, in conditions of any chronic stress, and all people living in a metropolis are in them, this practice is very important. It helps us for a while, in simple terms, to give our brain a rest. Stop the thought background it generates. Or you can dis-identify with this background and just watch it. It helps to relax, focus, improve concentration and attention, relax the nervous system, and calm down and concentrate.
The benefits of practices for the body and mental state affect brain activity and improve mental health.
During the practice, complete relaxation of the body occurs, but at the same time, many processes are launched in it that affect the physical and mental state of a person and also affect the figure. Let’s figure out what meditation does with our body at a deep level.
Meditation has a positive effect on the brain. Numerous studies have shown that the amygdala, which is responsible for emotional responses, shrinks significantly with practice. It leads to the fact that a person becomes more balanced and less sensitive to stimuli from the external environment.
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In addition, meditation helps to let go of fears, pains, and resentments more easily, stimulate brain activity, and increase concentration and attention. And after practice, both hemispheres of the brain begin to work in a balanced way – this brings order to your life.
Develop imagination and the ability to visualize
This is due, again, to the balanced work of different areas of the brain. It is generally accepted that the left hemisphere dominates people with an analytical and logical mindset, and among creative people, the right one. But spiritual practices can also be classified as “right-brain”: they develop imagination and the ability to visualize. Therefore, a person who was previously far from art may awaken his creative potential.
Some studies have shown that people who meditate for at least 15 minutes a day have increased the vagus nerve’s tone that connects the heart and brain. At the same time, the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, decreased in the body. These two phenomena combine to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Also, oriental practices lower blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for people with diabetes, strengthens the immune system and slows down the body’s aging process.