Meditation is about quietening and controlling the mind. Many studies have shown the benefits of meditation. Neuroscientists, for example, have found that when people meditate they move their brain activity from the right frontal cortex where the brainwaves are prone to stress, anxiety, mild depression to the calmer left frontal cortex. It is also becoming more popular for doctors to prescribe meditation as a cure to many stress related illnesses. Therefore it is a safe, personal, and cheap way to balance your emotional and mental state.
Some benefits of meditation are: lower stress, lower blood pressure, calm relaxed state of mind, happier – increased levels of serotonin, increased concentration, enhances energy, reduces anxiety attacks.
"Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day," says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study's senior author. "This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144007.htm
The process of quietening the mind is not easy and takes time, patience and perseverance. Don’t expect to be able to quieten your mind on your first or even second sitting, but don’t be discouraged either, the fact that you are sitting attempting to quieten your mind is helping to move you towards a meditative state. Try not to get attached to the goal of stilling your mind though; you will get snippets of quiet which will lengthen the more you practice. Begin by focusing on your breath moving in and out of your body, allow thoughts to pass by without grabbing hold of them and letting them lead you down a long path of ideas, plans or worries. Simply acknowledge the thought and let it pass by.
The benefits of doing the meditation at the end of a yoga class is that you have already spent the last hour quietening your mind, keeping it busy with movements or asana, so it is usually easier to still the mind afterward. It also helps to concentrate your mind when you have other people around you who are also meditating.
Talk by Peter Marchand (www.sanatansociety.org) on Meditation:
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