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Benefits The brain waves of meditators show why they're healthier.

Neuroscientists have found that meditators shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortexbrain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. In other words, they were calmer and happier than before.

This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, recorded the brain waves of stressed-out employees of a high-tech firm in Madison, Wisconsin. By Colin Allen, published on April 01, 2003 - last reviewed on June 06, 2012

Recent research indicates that meditating brings about dramatic effects in as little as a 10-minute session. Several studies have demonstrated that subjects who meditated for a short time showed increased alpha waves (the relaxed brain waves) and decreased anxiety and depression. To explore exactly what part of the brain meditation acts on, researchers at Harvard Medical School used MRI technology on participants to monitor brain activity while they meditated. They found that it activates the sections of the brain in charge of the autonomic nervous system, which governs the functions in our bodies that we can't control, such as digestion and blood pressure. These are also the functions that are often compromised by stress. It makes sense, then, that modulating these functions would help to ward off stress-related conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems and infertility. Researchers at the Maharishi School of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, found that meditation has a pervasive effect on stress. They looked at a group of people who had meditated for four months and found that they produced less of the stress hormone cortisol. They were therefore better able to adapt to stress in their lives, no matter what their circumstances were. M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes. The main idea is to use different objects to focus ones attention, and it could be a focus on sensations of breathing, or emotions or thoughts, or observing any type of body sensations, she said. But its about bringing the mind back to the here and now, as opposed to letting the mind drift. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/how-meditation-may-change-the-brain/

In a study published online April 21 in the journal Brain Research Bulletin, the researchers found that people trained to meditate over an eight-week period were better able to control a specific type of brain waves called alpha rhythms. These activity patterns are thought to minimize distractions, to diminish the likelihood stimuli will grab your attention, says Christopher Moore, an MIT neuroscientist and senior author of the paper. Our data indicate that meditation training makes you better at focusing, in part by allowing you to better regulate how things that arise will impact you. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/meditation-0505.html

What is meditation? There are many traditions and countless ways to practice meditation, and perhaps because of its polymorphous nature new meditators wonder whether they are doing it correctly. According to Roger Thomson, Ph.D., a psychologist in private practice in Chicago and a Zen meditator, there is one way to know for sure: "If you're feeling better at the end, you are probably doing it right." That's why some experts suggest marrying meditation to psychotherapy. "Both allow the person to be present for the moment, open and nondefensive," says Thomson, who explores the complementary nature of the two in a paper published in the American Journal of Psychotherapy. "In both meditation and psychotherapy, we are trying not to get caught up in internal preoccupation, but to be intimately present with what is happening here and now." So why aren't more people taking up the practice? "Because it puts us in the middle of ourselves, which is not always where we want to be," suggests Thomson. "Often, we want to fix things rather than accept them the way they are. Many of us feel as though we can't afford the time and energy to meditate, when in fact we can't afford not to."

Source: http://www.how-to-meditate.org/

With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people feel stressed and over-worked. It often feels like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Our stress and tiredness make us unhappy, impatient and frustrated. It can even affect our health. We are often so busy we feel there is no time to stop and meditate! But meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation as explained below can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance. Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming

negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition. This is a profound spiritual practice you can enjoy throughout the day, not just while seated in meditation. On this website you can learn the basics of Buddhist meditation. A few books are mentioned that will help you to deepen your understanding if you wish to explore further. Anyone can benefit from the meditations given here, Buddhist or not. We hope that you find this website useful and that you learn to enjoy the inner peace that comes from meditation.

Benefits of meditation Source: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/the-physical-and-mental-benefits-of-daily-meditation/

In a modern world that values activity, achievements and results, it is perhaps surprising that more people are turning to meditation. For all the activity of modern society, many still feel a fundamental need for silence, inner peace, and a moment of reflection. Meditation can reduce stress and help us relax; but, it can also give us a lot more. These are some of the benefits that daily meditation can give us.

Reduced Stress
Meditation helps to reduce stress by teaching us to switch off from the worries that can plague us through the day. Meditation is an opportunity to spend time by ourselves, without feeling at the beck and call of others. Spending 15 minutes in quietening the mind and focusing on the present moment, makes us more relaxed and effective decision makers.

Health Benefits
Numerous studies have shown that meditation has health benefits. Many of these benefits are related to the decrease in stress that occurs through meditation. For example, with lower levels of stress and anxiety, the probability of heart disease diminishes significantly. This is not to say meditation guarantees you good health. But, there is a growing awareness of the link between our state of mind and physical health. Quite often physical ailments are symptoms of inner turmoil. Meditation can give us peace of mind, and this can be a helpful step in avoiding many stress related ailments. Meditation has also been shown to relieve the pain associated with certain illnesses.

Control Your Own Thoughts

Man has conquered space, Mount Everest and numerous other challenges; but, are we able to conquer our own mind? How often do you find yourself victim to your own negative thoughts? Some people are even of the opinion that it is impossible to control your thoughts. However, the art of meditation teaches that, not only is it possible to control our thoughts, but, we can learn to stop them completely. Through meditation we can bring our unruly mind under control. This creates peace of mind and enables us to achieve what we want to.

When we live in the mind it is easy to get distracted by small irritations. For example, maybe we find it intolerable to be kept waiting in a line, or we get upset by a small misdemeanour of another person. The solution is not to avoid these minor problems, because they will keep appearing no matter how hard we may try. The only effective solution is to develop detachment and keep things in perspective. A powerful benefit of meditation is that we are able to detach ourselves from these insignificant, yet irritating thoughts. This detachment is not indifference, it is just that we are able to maintain equanimity in the midst of lifes inevitable turbulence.

Happiness and Peace of Mind

Is there anybody who does not, in some way, seek after happiness? Meditation takes us to the source of happiness, which is to be found in our own peace of mind. If we have no peace of mind and are constantly attacked by negative thoughts, happiness will remain elusive, no matter how successful we are on an outer plane. It is perhaps hard to imagine that happiness can occur from the simple act of being. However, if we can meditate with a still mind, we will discover an unexpected source of happiness within our own self. Meditation shows us that happiness is not dependent on outer circumstances, but on our inner attitude.

Be it work, sport or music, concentration is essential to fulfill our potential. In one pointed concentration there is great power; our energy and focus do not get dissipated. When we have concentration we can do more in less time. Through meditation we gradually improve our powers of concentration; this focus can be used for both meditation, and also other activities we engage in.

Spontaneity and Creativity

When we live in the thinking mind, we are usually preoccupied with the past or future. When we spend our energy on the past and present we cover up our natural spontaneity and creativity. We may feel we have neither creativity or spontaneity, but, if we can learn to silence the mind, we realise that we have far more potential than we currently believe. To access this source of inspiration we just need to quieten the mind. Some of the great thinkers and scientists were able

to make important discoveries when they could absorb themselves in their work, to the exclusion of all else. Meditation helps us to live in the current moment, and thus can help us to unlock our creative potential.

Discovering the Purpose of Life.

If you are satisfied with your current life. If you feel perfect contentment and happiness then, at the moment, meditation is not necessary. However, if you feel empty inside; if you aspire to know more about the nature of existence and life, then meditation can be of great help. Usually we look for meaning in life through external events and other people. Meditation, however, shows us that we can gain a greater understanding of life through knowing who we are. In meditation we gain a new perspective of life, uncoloured by our own egoistic perspective. For those who wish it, meditation can become a lifelong process of answering the eternal question: Who am I? The benefits of meditation are real, but, it also requires perseverance. It is mistake to expect all these benefits in the first few attempts; the mind takes time to tame. Also, it is difficult to explain all the benefits of meditation, because it involves a state of consciousness that cannot be expressed by words. To appreciate the benefits of meditation it is essential to meditate yourself. Alas, it is not sufficient to just read about it. Start meditating today!

Health benefits Health benefits of Meditation: Though meditation is usually recognized as a largely spiritual practice, it also has many health benefits. The yoga and meditation techniques are being implemented in management of life threatening diseases; in transformation of molecular and genetic structure; in reversal of mental illnesses, in accelerated learning programs, in perceptions and communications beyond the physical, in solving problems and atomic and nuclear physics; in gaining better ecological understanding; in management of lifestyle and future world problems. Some benefits of meditation are:

It lowers oxygen consumption. It decreases respiratory rate. It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate. Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients. Leads to a deeper level of relaxation. Good for people with high blood pressure as it brings the B.P. to normal. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate. Decreases muscle tension (any pain due to tension) and headaches. Builds self-confidence. It increases serotonin production which influences mood and behaviour. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, obesity, insomnia and headaches.

Helps in chronic diseases like allergies , arthritis etc. Reduces Pre- menstrual Syndrome. Helps in post-operative healing. Enhances the immune system. Research has revealed that meditation increases activity of 'natural-killer cells', which kill bacteria and cancer cells. Also reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress.

Source: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/meditation-0505.html

Anyone can learn Meditation is now practiced by 10 million Americans, according to Newsweek! Most meditation on offer today derives from the Buddhist tradition. The meditations taught at our Centers are all original Buddhist meditations, but you do not need to be a Buddhist to come along and practice them. Buddhists respect all people and are happy to help anyone regardless of whether they subscribe to another faith, or to none. Anyone can learn basic meditation and experience the benefits. Buddhism is a non-evangelical religion, philosophy, and way of life, which encourages its followers not to rely on blind faith but to check the truth of the teachings for themselves.

Meditation reduces stress and helps you develop as a person More and more people are finding that regular meditation helps them not only reduce stress and cope more effectively with life, but also develop their human potential and become wiser and more caring individuals.

As our mind becomes more positive, our actions become more wholesome, and our overall experience of life becomes more satisfying and beneficial to others. Source: http://meditationinmadison.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93&Itemid=1 12

Full Lotus The lotus posture has a few variations, including the half lotus and full lotus. It is widely accepted that the full lotus position is the best for meditation overall. Most expert meditators use this particular posture in their practice. However for a newcommer to meditation, this might not be the best to start with. Sit either on the floor or on a meditation pad. Put your left foot on your right thigh and right foot on the left thigh. Basically each foot will sit on the upper legs in an cross like position. The soles of the feet should point slightly upwards. The hands can either be resting next to each other close to the body while the backs of the fingers touch gently each other or are sitting comfortably on each knee with the palms pointing slightly upwards or the fingers touching lightly.

Half lotus This posture is somewhat easier to do than the full lotus in that only one foot is on the opposite upper leg, while the other foot is resting relaxed on the floor. The other leg can also lie under the other thigh.

Burmese The Burmese posture has several variations and most meditators say that it is easier than sitting in either the full or half lotus position. In this position you use the zafu meditation cushion with the back straight. One foot will rest behind the other, which eliminates any pressure on the upper leg. This position is the easiest one that uses crossed legs that beginners to meditation can expect to have good result

Source: http://www.meditation-techniques-made-easy.com/meditation-postures.html