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Q. What are the techniques of meditation?
A. There are several techniques and disciplines of meditation, from visualization to guided meditation, to chanting a mantra to staring at a candle flame to breathing exercises. Keep trying until something feels right.
Q. Does meditation have a religious aspect?
A. Meditation is secular in nature. It aids in spiritual development. While meditation by itself does not deal with any specific religion, most religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism practice some form of meditation.
Q. How does meditation help?
A. Countless studies have proven that meditation helps the body, the mind and the spirit. Some of the well documented benefits of meditation are:
Q. What is the best time of day to meditate?
A. Meditating in the early hours of the morning has tremendous value. You are physically rested and that helps to clear your mind and be present in the moment. It also sets the tome for the day. Another good idea it to meditate in the evening, with the idea of relaxing after completing a busy day, reflecting how the day went and what could you have differently. Of course, it is always important to take a few moments out for yourself whenever you feel stressed.
Tip: The best time varies for each person, depending on personal schedule and needs.
Brief mini meditations can be done throughout the day like taking a short peace break for the mind and re-directing the flow of thoughts in our mind.
Q. How long and often should I meditate everyday?
A. You can practice as often as you like. The important part is to make it a part of your life. Just as consistency is the key in any discipline, so is the case with meditation.
Tip: Setting a goal for yourself such as "I will meditate for 10 minutes every morning and every evening." is helpful in establishing a practice. Experienced meditators may sit for hours.
Q. Is there a specified posture for meditating?
A. You could start with a comfortable seated position with your spine erect. You can sit cross legged on the floor or even sit on a chair. Some people prefer lying down.
Different meditation styles mandate eyes open, half open or shut. To begin with, you can keep your eyes shut as most beginners do.
Q. Should I meditate in a specific place?
A. While the whole world offers itself to you to select a space for quiet contemplation, identifying a specific spot/ room in your house and meditating there everyday fills that space with positive energy. Gradually, with regular and longer meditation, you will start noticing that the vibes in that room are enhanced and full of peace, love and joy. This, in turn, makes your meditation practice stronger.
Tip: Meditate in an open space whenever you can. Connecting with nature, such as a silent hike or walk, a walk in a meadow or meditating near a waterfall, at a beach or a lake is very calming. Nature helps you to transcend the limits of thought and to be truly present in the now.
Don't let your busy schedule keep you away from quieting your mind. You can use the time to travel to and from work as a contemplative time. Sneak a lunchtime walk at your workplace, or taking a minute or two out and sit in silence will help you to relax.
Q. Do I need music to meditate?
A. Music is the universal language of the heart. It can aid meditation. Gentle and soulful music can stir and elevate our inner consciousness. Music has the power to heal you and transform your thoughts and state of mind. But you do not need to listen to music always. In fact, some forms of meditation may not lend itself to listening to music such as chanting a specific mantra.
Q. Can children meditate?
A. Yes! You can start meditating with children even before they get to elementary school. In fact, this is the best gift you can give them.
How can children benefit from meditation:
There are various benefits that children accrue from meditation including reduced stress from academic and extra curricular activities, healthy emotional development, higher ability to deal with puberty, higher creativity, and improved memory. Other benefits include:
Physiological benefits, such as relaxed muscles, better sleep, better immune system and reduced pain.
Emotional benefits, such as, positive attitude, higher confidence, unconditional happiness and a strong feeling of love, compassion, patience, acceptance and trust.
All these benefits shape children to grow into emotionally and spiritually balanced adults. As Aristotle said, " Good habits formed at youth make all the difference."
Tip: There are various ways to meditate with children such as Pranayama breathing exercise), guided meditation, visualization (children love to imagine!), chanting "Om" or any mantra/ prayer you like.