Meditation has moved from something a few specialists did to becoming a mainstream phenomenon. I’m not sure when I made the shift myself in wanting to check it out. It might have been when a colleague shared his experience with daily meditation to get his head clear, or perhaps when watching the students learn the art of Buddhist mediation at a mountaintop monastery in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Nevertheless, I recently found myself opening to the idea of meditation.
In a 2012 NIH study, researchers compared brain images from 50 adults who meditate and 50 adults who don’t. Results suggested that people who practiced meditation for many years have more folds in the outer layer of the brain. This process (called gyrification) may increase the brain’s ability to process information. In addition, a 2013 review of three studies suggests that meditation may slow, stall, or even reverse changes that take place in the brain due to normal aging.
There are five types of meditation according to the Tamara Lechner, who is a certified meditation instructor for the Chopra Center. They are: Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Zen, Transcendental Meditation, and Kundalini Yoga. Read more about the different types and determine which kind is right for you here.
How to begin? I started with an app that my friend recommended called Calm, which would appear to be Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction method as defined by the Chopra Institute. I typically use Calm a few days a week. You can download from the app store on your phone or visit their website at www.calm.com. Calm advertises that meditation reduces anxiety, improves your sleep, and helps you feel happier. After trying it myself, I agree with them. When I am regular about my meditation, I do find that I am better able to deal with anxious moments, feel more clear-headed, and experience increased levels of happiness.
Try it out and see what happens for you. Namaste´