Medical Benifits of Meditation and Mantra Meditation

Meditation has been an area of interest for researchers in both the medical and psychology worlds for several decades due to the many physical and mental benefits. Below is a list of proven benefits that can be achieved through regular meditation practice. Most experts agree that regular practice is 20-30 minutes 3 or more times a week. Many different styles of mediation exist and will be covered in future blog entries.
Health benefits achieved through regular mediation:
 Decreased pain
 Decreased stress hormones
 Decreased muscular tension
 Calms emotions
 Promotes peace and serenity
 Decreased heart rate
 Decreased respiration rate
 Decreased blood pressure
 Brain activity slows down
 Improved attitudes towards pain
 Increased self-awareness
Many of these benefits are direct result of tapping into the Autonomic Nervous System and creating Parasympathetic dominance. This is the reverse of the well-known fight of flight response that occurs with stress and pain. Training the body to achieve this state of nervous system relaxation is the ultimate medical goal of practicing meditation.

New to meditation? Try small with 5-8 minutes of meditation. Slowly increase a few minutes at a time over several months to eventually achieve 20-30 minutes of practice. Mantra meditation is an easy way to begin experiencing the benefits of meditation.

Mantra Meditation Instructions:
 Sit in a comfortable position (either cross-legged on supported on a chair) and rest your arms on your legs. Chose a word to be your mantra, either a word with positive connotations or a nonsense word.
 Close your eyes and begin to breathe through your nose.
 Silently say your selected word, repeating your word over and over. Focus all of your attention on your word.
 If your thoughts drift, refocus on the word. Continue for the desired length of time.

References:
1. Cappy, Peggy (2006). Yoga for All of Us; a Modified Series of Traditional Poses for Any Age and Ability. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
2. Miller, Olivia (2003). Essential Yoga. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
3. Davies, W. R.(2008). Mindful meditation: healing burnout in critical care nursing. Holistic Nursing Practice. 22: 32-36.

Photo credit: YogaJournal.com

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