Meditation Is Easier With A Beat

Posted on September 4, 2008. Filed under: wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , |

Scenes of Inner Taksang, temple hall, built ju...Image via Wikipedia

I teach meditation and love the effect that regular meditation has had on my life over the past 15 years. A few years ago I found something that made it even easier to meditate and even for those  who are pro’s can help access even deeper states.

Brain Entrainment” CD’s are very interesting to listen to, it usually contains sounds with an inner beat called a “binaural” beat which simply put is just a beat that is heard in alternate ears so that the beat seems to be moving through your head. When the binaural beat is heard in this way, it is able to slow the brain rhythms down and they will follow the lead of the beat throughout the CD.

Never accessed Theta? Easy with these CD’s or Delta? again no problem.  Why do we want to slow our brain rhythms down to theta and delta? Because our body and mind can heal so much faster, we can access our inner wisdom much more easily, sleep better and go through our day with much less stress.

Interestingly it can be easier to concentrate on a single thought like, “I am slim and fit” and if affirmations have never worked for you before, with brainwave entrainment affirmations almost become a focus and a priority in your life and you will find yourself seeking out opportunities to make them come true.

Why not give it a try? I use mine all the time, especially on those days when I am feeling a little too “over it” to settle down into a quiet meditation, the CD’s make it easy and I sleep like a baby.

Be Fit! Be Well! Do it online…

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Proof Meditation Changes Your Brain!

Posted on March 31, 2008. Filed under: wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , |

meditation lotus Published March 25 in the Public Library of Science One, the study was the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to indicate that positive emotions such as loving-kindness and compassion can be learned in the same way as playing a musical instrument or being proficient in a sport. The scans revealed that brain circuits used to detect emotions and feelings were dramatically changed in subjects who had extensive experience practicing compassion meditation.

The scans revealed significant activity in the insula — a region near the frontal portion of the brain that plays a key role in bodily representations of emotion — when the long-term meditators were generating compassion and were exposed to emotional vocalizations. The strength of insula activation was also associated with the intensity of the meditation as assessed by the participants.

“The insula is extremely important in detecting emotions in general and specifically in mapping bodily responses to emotion — such as heart rate and blood pressure — and making that information available to other parts of the brain,” says Davidson, also co-director of the HealthEmotions Research Institute.

Activity also increased in the temporal parietal juncture, particularly the right hemisphere. Studies have implicated this area as important in processing empathy, especially in perceiving the mental and emotional state of others.

“Both of these areas have been linked to emotion sharing and empathy,” Davidson says. “The combination of these two effects, which was much more noticeable in the expert meditators as opposed to the novices, was very powerful.”

The findings support Davidson and Lutz’s working assumption that through training, people can develop skills that promote happiness and compassion.

“People are not just stuck at their respective set points,” he says. “We can take advantage of our brain’s plasticity and train it to enhance these qualities.”

The capacity to cultivate compassion, which involves regulating thoughts and emotions, may also be useful for preventing depression in people who are susceptible to it, Lutz adds.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

As a certified meditation teacher I have long held the belief that daily meditation, even just 15 mins a day, can change your health, there is proof that it can help with heart disease and here is a new study proving that we can change our brain too. Relieving depression with just 15 minutes a day sure beats taking antidepressants.

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Why Meditate?

Posted on March 1, 2008. Filed under: Fitness, health, wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , |

zen stonesWhen you hear the word meditation, what comes to your mind? Sitting cross-legged in a pose that’s sole purpose is to give you cramps? Yogis calmly hovering ½ a metre off the floor?  Mysticism?  The sounds of a sitar?  Clouds of saccharine sweet incense?  Chanting? Blanking your mind?

Forget the trimmings.  Meditation is easy, it isn’t difficult to learn or practice, and CEO’s of large companies are doing it daily.  

Okay, but why do it?  Surely my life has enough demands without trying to find time for this exotic practice? 

Maybe not.  Consider this:

Meditation quiets the mind: It can take you from a very stressed unfocussed state to a calm, focused and clear state of thought. The breathing and mind training that comes with a daily meditation practice slows the brain waves from their usual anxious rhythms to a calmer state called ‘flow’. This increases concentration, memory and creates a feeling of well-being that encourages creativity, initiative and success.

Meditation is good for your heart: Scientific research has proven that it can lower your blood pressure, reduce your heart size, normalize an irregular heart-beat, reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease by as much as 11%. (Stroke 2000 31:568-573)

Meditation Strengthens the Immune System: It has been shown to significantly increase the number of ‘Helper’ cells which kill bacteria and cancer cells. A study conducted over several years translated into fewer doctor visits and over 50% less hospitalization for meditators than for non-meditators.

Meditation Increases Vitality: It has been shown to reduce chronic pain levels (including back pain and certain types of cancer-related pain).  Can help control levels of damaging cortisol (a stress hormone), and may even help prevent anxiety attacks.  Meditation’s deep relaxation can boost energy and zest for life

Interested?  Then consider these possibilities.

Meditation is Basically Refined Focusing

Meditation involves directing your attention onto one specific thing and keeping that focus, if your mind strays then all you do it bring your attention back to the thing you decided to focus on. There are many things to focus on and many ways to practice meditation, so you never need be bored.

Some common ways include:

§         Focusing on what you are feeling or thinking about in the moment

§         Focusing on a word (mantra, chant) this doesn’t have to be a Hindu or Buddhist mantra it can be something you have decided on yourself

§         Focusing on an object: candle, mirror, leaf, or just a spot on the wall

§         Focusing on a sound: music, drum beat, a guided meditation (the voice of the guide), or a special CD designed to slow your brain rhythms

§         Focusing on body movement: yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, walking, running, rowing, (this is often called ‘being in the flow)

§         Focusing on your breath, or counting or a visualization

There is nothing more to it than that, and this kind of daily practice has so many benefits not the least of which is relaxing you in body and mind, energizing you and often catalyzing your thoughts. There is no wrong way to do it, no way to be unsuccessful, no matter what you have heard.

Ready to give it a go?

Here is one of the simplest and most common practices:

Sit comfortably in a chair (do not lie down you might go to sleep).

Close your eyes.

Now just focus on your breath as it comes in and out of your nose. Feel the feeling of your breath and hear the sound of your breath as it gently and slowly comes in and out of your nose.

If your focus strays (and it will), then just gently bring it back to your focus.

Continue in this way for about 10 to 15 minutes.

How easy was that?

Did you know that 20 minutes of meditation has been said to be as good as 20 hours of sleep? I highly recommend doing this practice just before bed, and if you can’t sleep for any reason, I recommend sitting up in bed and doing it again, no matter what time of night.

15 to 20 minutes first thing in the morning has the added benefit of giving a spring in your step and setting you up to start the day right. Try it and see.

Be Fit! Be Well! …do it online.

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