There is a Story about the Benefits of Meditation in the end, worth staying till the end!
During the ancient times until now, people practice meditation because of its provided advantages. Incorporating meditation as part of your daily life can make a big difference regarding your attitude and outlook in life. But because meditation is a procedure, it involves several steps as well as postures when doing it.
1. Cross-legged posture. Various spiritual traditions and meditation teachers suggest or prescribe various meditation physical postures. One of the most popular postures is the cross-legged position which includes the lotus position. It is taught in most meditative traditions that the spinal cord must be kept straight. So, slouching is not a good idea. This is because, when you sit straight, it encourages good circulation of what they call as a spiritual energy, which is the life force and vital breath.
2. Seated posture. A meditator can sit on the chair with his or her bare feet, as what the New Thought is teaching. In Orthodox Christianity, a meditator can sit on the stool. While in Theravada Buddhism, a meditator is walking in mindfulness. In Sukhothai, Thailand, walking meditation of the monks is called bas-relief. The meditator sits up keeping his or her back straight holding the spine and head in alignment without leaning and thighs parallel to the floor. The hands are rested comfortably on the arm's chair or on the knees.
3. Kneeling posture. The meditator kneels with both knees on the floor keeping his or her buttocks resting on his or her toes and heels which are almost touching. The hands rest on his or his thighs.
"Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax." - Bryant McGill
4. Lying down posture also known as corpse posture or savasana in yoga. The meditator rests on the carpet keeping his or her legs straight and relaxed. Nevertheless, this is not used more often since it mimics the natural posture of sleeping. The meditator can sometimes fall asleep. This is effective in reducing stress rather than a meditation process.
5. Incorporating mudras or hand gestures. There is a theological meaning behind these gestures. Based on Yogic philosophy, these can affect consciousness. One example is the common hand-position of the Buddhist. The right-hand rests on the top of the left hand with touching thumbs similar to the begging bowl of Buddha.
6. Incorporating various repetitive activities in stillness such as humming, chanting, or deep breathing to help in inducing a state of meditation. The Soto Zen practitioners do their meditation in front of a wall with open eyes. However, most mediation schools are assuming that the eyes are half-open or closed.
The duration and frequency of meditation also vary. There are nuns and monks who bow for a lifetime meditation. However, the broadly accepted duration is 20 or 30 minutes. This length may increase as the process goes on as what experienced meditators revealed. To obtain the benefits of meditation, it is advisable to follow the pieces of advice and instructions of the spiritual teacher. Most traditions require daily practice. But some may experience frustration or guilt when they failed to do it. Sometimes, meditators may complain about meditators knee especially during long hours of kneeling on one's knees or sitting on cross legs.
"Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality." - Thich Nhat Hanh
Keep in mind that perseverance and acceptance are needed to become successful. This can help you during prolonged hours of meditation and increase focus on your everyday lives.
Small Story on the Benefits of Meditation:
Adapting to any kind of change in your life can be very stressful. The one thing I have learned when it comes to any kind of change is to keep it on a positive level. To do that I stay calm by meditating and keep it all in perspective. I was talking to a friend about how I was very apprehensive about a change I would soon have to make in my life. She told me that almost over twenty years ago she had bought a brand new car and it was parked in an alley next to her house.
She walked out of the house just in time to see an old VW bus scrape the front fender of her car. As she continued to tell me what happened she let me know she was trying to stay calm and knew she had to meditate and get focused on the situation. She went on to tell me that the driver got out of his car, threw his hat on the ground, then hung his head, holding it in his hands. She knew that he obviously didn't have the money to pay for the damage to her car and he almost started to cry.
My friend still meditating to keep things in perspective walked up to the man and you could tell he was very nervous and expected her to say something like What an idiot, Are you blind, or just something so mean that he would just feel terrible. As she walked up to the man she simply said don't worry about the scrape and to have a nice day. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. He began to cry tears of happiness and hugged my friend. He then ran to his wife who was in the car wondering what they were going to do and he hugged his wife and introduced her to my friend.
"Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life." - Thich Nhat Hanh
As they were talking my friend told them how she used meditation to keep as calm as possible because she had a temper in the past that caused her a lot of problems. The man and his wife and my friend became the best of friends. Here it is 20 years later and even though the man has now passed away and his wife is in a home for the elderly my friend still visits the woman every week and still talk about the day they had met.
Using meditation will certainly help you think about the situation your in and to not act on impulse, but to handle whatever situation it is you are in you will act responsibly. After my friend and I talked I thought how I could adapt to the change I would have to make by positive thinking and could make a bad situation into something that will have a very special meaning in my life. After our talk, I went home and started using meditation to relax and now I feel better about myself and my life.
P.S- You Can Combine Yoga Equipment, Meditation Music or Meditation Tools to boost and to gain more from your Yoga and meditation practice.