Basic Info

In some ways, meditation is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Meditation involves mental control, physical relaxation, a non-judgemental awareness, and detaching the mind from ruminating thoughts. Meditation practices can involve concentration and attention on a specific thing, like breath or a concept or allow all experiences to come into awareness. Some forms require a complete clearing of the mind that translates into a different mode of awareness. In all forms, the goal is to quiet the running commentary of the mind. Many practices are rooted in religious tradition and prayer can be closely linked to meditation. Meditation can be practiced in any physical posture and in thousands of ways. All types of meditation attempt to engage the body’s relaxation response, which has several benefits. Until the 1960s, meditation was predominantly an Eastern practice. Soon after, studies began to show it could impact heart rate, blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. Research suggests meditation may also improve depression, fatigue, insomnia, additions, gastrointestinal disorders, cognition, psoriasis, asthma, chronic pain, arthritis, and menstrual symptoms. It also protects against stroke, heart disease, and heart failure. More recently, researchers have found mediation actively changes brain shape and activity in beneficial ways.

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