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Meditation is an ancient practice that has been used for thousands of years to improve mental and physical well-being. It involves quieting the mind and focusing on the present moment, which can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, and promote a sense of calm and inner peace. One popular form is Transcendental Meditation (TM), which is a specific type of mantra meditation that has gained popularity in recent years. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits and practice of Transcendental Meditation.
I had written about how cycling helped me with my stress reduction and overall fitness. Meditation is a more passive alternative for stress reduction and to improve mental health.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation is a form of mantra meditation that was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. It involves sitting quietly for 20 minutes twice a day, while silently repeating a mantra or sound. The mantra is chosen by the individual and is meant to be a personal sound that has no meaning or association. The practice is intended to help the practitioner reach a state of deep relaxation and inner peace.
Instead of a mantra, I usually try to focus on a single object when I meditate – an image of a candle flame. I have found that an image helps me regain composure and balance, and helps prevent any other thoughts wandering in. Your favorite image might be that of an elephant, or a cartoon character. Whatever it may be, use it for each meditation session. This helps your mind and brain form a balance and structure around it.
Transcendental Meditation Benefits
Meditation has been found to have many benefits for both mental and physical health. Here are some of the benefits of this practice:
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Research has found that this practice can lower cortisol levels (the hormone associated with stress) and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
- Improved Brain Function: It can increase grey matter in the brain (the part of the brain responsible for processing information), improve memory and attention, and increase creativity.
- Lower Blood Pressure: The calming nature of meditation can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Improved Sleep: Transcendental Meditation has been found to improve sleep quality and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
- Increased Happiness: Transcendental Meditation has been found to increase feelings of happiness and well-being. It can also help reduce symptoms of depression.
Transcendental Meditation for Beginners
Meditating is a simple process – it doesn’t require any magic tricks or hacks. All you need is a quiet place to sit in and concentrate. If you find it challenging to meditate amidst a chaotic day, a morning meditation upon waking is a calm and peaceful way to start your day before it becomes busy.
- Sit in a comfortable place – on a chair or on a cushion on the floor – with your back straight.
- Set a timer for as many minutes you can conveniently meditate for and close your eyes. (I suggest you start with 10 minutes. Slowly increase this time as you start forming a routine and are able to concentrate for more time)
- Now, try to relax your body and focus on your breath – inhaling and exhaling slowly.
- Do not try to curb away your thoughts. Instead, when a thought enters your mind – trivial as it may be – notice it, acknowledge the thought, and let it exit your mind. Do not actively engage the thought, but let try to get back to focusing on your breath and calming your mind and focusing on a single picture or sound.
Transcendental Meditation is a simple, yet powerful tool for improving mental and physical well-being. Whether you’re looking to reduce stress and anxiety, improve brain function, or increase happiness, this practice may be worth exploring. Remember, the key to success is regular practice and patience. With time and commitment, you may find that Transcendental Meditation becomes an integral part of your daily routine.
I hope you found this useful. Check out my other posts as well.