The wisdom of eastern meditation practice is now being embraced by western medical centers, with research findings that show tremendous health benefits in reversing chronic disease and the aging process.
If you have high blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, diabetes, heart disease, or are just simply stressed out, it may be time to dip your mind into meditation.
According to medical research, meditation decreases oxygen consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, and increases the intensity of alpha, theta and delta brain waves – the opposite of the changes that occur during the stress response that can lead to chronic disease .
The results of a study recently completed by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital also document meditation-produced improvements over time in the brain's gray matter, important for learning and memory.
Meditation can also keep you young, according to research showing that those who had been practicing meditation for more than five years were physiologically 12 years younger than their chronological age, as measured by reduction of blood pressure, and better vision and hearing.
So how do you reap these benefits? There are myriad meditation classes available, but if you'd like to start your own traditional eastern-style meditation practice at home to connect to your inner stillness and inner knowing, here are some tips for success:
Regularity – Try to schedule the same time each day for your meditation, for instance, just after awakening or just before bedtime.
Exercise – Doing yoga or other stretches first can relax your body, making it easier to sit in meditation.
Location – Choose a quiet spot with a cool breeze, just for meditation.
Sitting – Sit with your back straight, chest raised, head erect, eyes closed and hands resting palms upturned, in your lap.
Realistic time – It's better to start meditating 5 to 15 minutes at a time and be very consistent about it, then increase your time as you can. One longer meditation each week is very helpful.
Never fear – there is a meditation style for every personality. For example, Type A's may prefer a more active style of meditation, such as guided visualizations, which can offer the same benefits of relaxation. To try a guided visualization that you can listen to lying down, try this Chakra Meditation .