Meditation is an ancient mind and body practice that is estimated to date back as far as 5,000 BCE. It is believed meditation originated in India, with the earliest documented records of the practice deriving from the teachings of Vedantism – an ancient Hindu philosophy.
In general, meditation involves training the mind to induce a state of consciousness that promotes a sense of serenity and increased concentration.
While meditation was traditionally practiced to induce a deeper religious and spiritual understanding, it has evolved to become a popular method of relaxation and stress reduction.
Types of Meditation
There are numerous forms of meditation, though most fall into four groups:
- Concentrative meditation involves focusing the mind on a single object, such as an image, sound or breathing; Transcendental Meditation is one of the most common forms, in which the practitioner sits comfortably with their eyes closed for 20 minutes twice daily.
- Open-awareness meditation, also referred to as non-directive meditation, aims to induce a sense of awareness without focusing on a specific object. Instead, the practitioner embraces all feelings and sensations that arise. Zazen – a Zen sitting practice – is a common form of open-awareness meditation.
- Mindfulness is the most common form of meditation in the Western world; it combines both concentration and open awareness. In mindfulness meditation, the practitioner focuses on an object, such as sounds, bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts or breathing. Mindfulness is not as restrictive as concentrative meditation; the practitioner can focus on more than one object at a time.
- Guided meditation involves the use of imagery, sounds and/or in-person guidance in order to induce a serene state of mind. Any form of meditation can fall into this category.
The potential Benefits of Meditation
- Reduced brain aging and better memory.
- Reduced pain.
- Better sleep.
- Better heart health.
- Smoking cessation.
Extracted from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303859.php – 27 December 2015