Meditation – the royal road to relaxation

Rest, relaxation and balance are luxuries for many people. Many find it difficult   to escape from daily stress and switch off. Meditation can specifically help to relax and focus (again). In addition,  meditation can  help treat and prevent mental and physical illnesses, such as  depression  or  migraines .

What is meditation?

The word “meditation” comes from Latin and means something like “to ponder, ponder”. Meditation is a spiritual practice practiced in numerous religions and cultures. The goal is to calm the mind and collect it. This is achieved through various mindfulness and  concentration  exercises.

In Eastern cultures, meditation is understood to be a fundamental and central  mind-expanding exercise. There, the desired states of consciousness are also described as “silence”, “emptiness”, “oneness” or “being free of thoughts”.

Where does meditation come from?

The origin of the spiritual practice is the Middle and Far East. Along with the religion of Hinduism, meditation was also established and developed in India. The originally religious teachings and techniques of meditation spread over time and can now be found almost worldwide in various modifications, but with similar aspects.

The development of different types of meditation can be seen, for example, in the different interpretations of Buddhism. Or also in the further development of the spiritual practice in Japan under the name Zen. In China, on the other hand, the art of meditation is known under the name of Chan.

While meditation used to be practiced exclusively in monasteries, meditation as it is practiced in the western world today has become detached from the religious background and is popular with many people.

Active and passive meditation

Meditation techniques can roughly be divided into two variants: On the one hand there is the physically passive – also known as contemplative – meditation, which is practiced quietly while sitting. On the other hand, the physically active meditation is practiced, which includes physical movement, mindful action or loud recitation.

Passive meditation techniques  include  :

  • the silent meditation or also called calm meditation
  • mindfulness or insight meditation
  • the stillness of mind meditation
  • the zen meditation

Active forms of meditation  , on the other hand, are:

  • the walking meditation
  • the dynamic meditation
  • Body scan
  • the Kundalini meditation
  • die Vipassana-Meditation
  • die Mantrameditation

Other types of meditation

Other variants of meditation are:

Many people find it easier to engage in meditation when it is guided. In the so-called  guided meditation  , you are accompanied by a leader with the help of a selected text. This can be a dream trip or a story, for example.

In everyday language, however, the term meditation is often used in the passive form, as symbolized by the well-known images of the meditating Buddha.

Mixed forms of meditation

However, not every type of meditation can be divided into passive or active. The various types of meditation can also be mixed forms, i.e. in practical application, for example, they can include both active mindfulness guidance or movements as well as passive letting go and letting things happen.

A mixed form is, for example, the  Zen meditation,  in which one meditates both while sitting and while walking. Mantra meditation  can also  be done actively and passively: In the passive form, meditators think of the mantra or murmur it under their breath, while actively practicing it by saying it out loud or singing it – often accompanied by rhythmic movements.

In many mantras, the syllable  “Om” precedes  the words. The syllable is also sung in some types of yoga. In Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, Om is sacred. Om is a sound said to unite body and mind in harmony.

Healthy through meditation?

Numerous studies have shown that meditating changes the  structure of our brain : Meditation has been proven to reduce the feeling of stress, has a positive effect on health and well-being and strengthens memory.

Meditation brings many benefits to everyday life. With regular exercise,  inner relaxation  and serenity are promoted and stress is reduced. In addition, meditating results in an  increased ability to concentrate and mindfulness  and one feels centered and balanced.

This in turn has a positive effect on  everyday problems  such as  obesitydifficulty falling asleep  or inner restlessness. You face conflicts calmer and more relaxed, you can deal better with stress and pressure.

Forms of meditation are also used therapeutically for various diseases and pain  .  For example, according to a  study by the University of Utah , meditation can help  with depression, anxiety, pain, cardiovascular disease,  ADHD  or migraines.

Aids to meditate

There are a number of “accessories” for passive meditation that make it easy to meditate, especially for beginners.

For example, a   cushion  , stool  , or  meditation bench  can help you hold the meditation posture longer by keeping your spine upright and evenly distributing your weight.

Calm music, singing bowls  or the aforementioned guided meditation can help to calm your thoughts during meditation and to concentrate only on the sounds or the text and the meditation. These tools are often – but not only – used by beginners, as these forms of meditation are easy to learn.

Meditation apps as digital support

You can also get digital help through meditation apps. These should help in everyday life to focus and promote mental health. They are also said to help with stress and sleep.

With mediation instructions, spoken texts and videos, the various apps offer a form of meditation for seemingly every situation and every place. Whether such apps really help when meditating and which of the numerous apps does this best ultimately depends on individual needs and ideas.

effect on children’s health

Numerous studies have shown that forms of meditation such as yoga have a positive effect on the  psychological stability and physical health  of children and young people. This enables children to reduce stress better and thus promote their relaxation and self-confidence.

The various forms of meditation can help children against aggression, depression,  anxiety  and hyperactivity. In addition, meditation strengthens perception and thus promotes concentration and cognitive performance.

Physically, children who practice meditation have fewer  headaches  and  backaches  , and are also less likely to become obese. In adolescence, meditation can also reduce the likelihood of developing an eating disorder.

Meditation in kindergarten and elementary school

Meditating can already be practiced in a playful way in kindergarten or elementary school. The meditation duration here is usually only a few minutes, since children have a short attention span.

It often pays off when  several senses  are addressed. For example, you can darken the room a bit or use a singing bowl or gong to start and end the meditation time.

In elementary school, meditation can help children sit still and focus their attention on the teacher and assignments. Meditation can be integrated into everyday school life in various ways: Older children often need more exercise, which is why physically active types of meditation are particularly suitable here.

Who may offer meditation?

There are no state guidelines in this area, which is why everyone in Germany can offer meditation courses. However, training to become a “meditation course leader” is now also offered as a degree or course at various institutes or private institutions, although there are no uniform training guidelines here either and the teaching content can therefore differ greatly from one another. However, you should make sure that the training is certified.

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