What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice and skill that has been around for thousands of years with various practices that are integrated into a system of practice and belief for a way of living that self-induces a mode of consciousness to realise a benefit in life. This means that there are many types and schoolings for meditation, and Western science has studied specific practices for their efficacy.
Broadly there are two types of meditation practice:
Bringing the attention back to the breath, an image, words or object. Beginners often start with a focus meditation practice because these provide a ‘hook’ to maintain focus for the practice. Matthieu Ricard, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, who has spoken on TED Talks and is a confidante of the Dalai Lama states that “there’s nothing mysterious” about meditation practices and suggests starting with a compassion meditation practice like he teaches here.
Monitoring the thoughts without reacting from moment to moment. Open monitoring meditations might feel harder to practice because you become aware of the thoughts in your mind.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
Meditation is a practice and like all muscles it requires regular commitment to train and improve. Richard Davidson at University of Wisconsin-Madison studied the benefits of meditation on neuroplasticity of both beginners and expert meditators to show:
Focus meditation can increase concentration and stabilise emotional reactions.
Open monitoring meditation can improve the ability to stream information and not get ‘stuck’ on specific information and better select task changing as a result (decision making).
Further studies have shown that different meditation practices impact the brain function in different ways, so what might ‘work’ at the time will vary depending on the intention and needs of the meditator.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is focused attention to the present moment. It is about a way of living with full conscious awareness to the present moment. This is more than just a practice. However, there are techniques to become more mindful such as meditation, breathwork or eating.
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS
Many studies have shown some of the following benefits from being mindful in daily life:
Improves quality of life through the cultivation of awareness of your thoughts, actions, reactions, behaviours and world around you.
Helps build a healthy immune system.
Enhances relationships by improving understanding of others and self-compassion.
Creates a stronger sense of self.
Reduces mood disturbances and swings from studies with veterans and prisoners.
What types of meditation does Omega Movement offer?
Gazing meditations (Trataka) which can a candle, picture, symbol or object to gaze at for the practice.
Breath is often the base in Zen (Zazen), mindfulness, or Buddhist that focus on the breath. This can be just watching the natural breath, counting the breath, controlling the breath rhythm, sensation of the breath on different body parts.
Mantra is the use of sound to focus the mind such as specific chakra sounds, OM or other words are repeated for 108 or 1008 times. This is where beads can help to count and set a rhythm for the practice.
Chakra meditation brings focus to the third eye between the brow, or other 6 energy centres of the body. This can be done with a mantra sound, symbol or sensing energy at these points.
Metta (loving-kindness) or compassion meditations focus on the feelings of compassion and loving-kindness to yourself, someone close to you, a neutral person, a difficult person, all of the previous four, and then to the world.
Qi Gong Meditation brings all attention to the lower abdomen to feel the energy there grow which then circulates around the body.
Guided imagery where the attention is taken around different images to promote relaxation and healing.
Body scans take the attention around the body to different parts for sensation awareness.
Yoga Nidra includes body scans, breath and variably other components guided visualisation, chakra meditation, compassion, or open monitoring.
Enjoy Meditation with any of the following services
If you wish something more tailored to your circumstances and motivation to support you, contact us and we can weave meditation or mindfulness into your other practices with us - from Reiki healing, Pilates, yoga or nutrition.