Fitness

Meditation

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Blog By: Aishwarya Ghumekar

The earliest records of meditation date back to 50,000 years ago. The practice originally developed as a ritual involved in a number of different religions. In fact, almost every major religion utilizes meditation in one form or another, from Hinduism to Christianity. Throughout time, however, the practice has found a place outside of the realm of religion. This is most likely because people became aware of the vast array of benefits that meditation can provide a person even when it is void of any religious implications.

Although Meditation and Yoga are very closely related, Meditation as a formal and separate practice did not arise until much later, a little more than 5,000 years ago (actual recorded writings about Meditation). Granted, people have likely been practicing some form of meditation since the beginning of their existence. Any time that you take some time out to gather your thought or get some fresh air to clear your mind, you are technically using meditation to relax and focus your mind.

Terms and Concepts of Meditation

The following terms are often used to describe meditation. From their original eastern roots, they each have special significance in the practice of meditation.

  • Karma
  • Swadharma
  • Dharma
  • Manah
  • Buddhi
  • Samskara
  • Vasana
  • Kriya
  • Viveka
  • Vairagya
  • Sannyasa

Benefits of Meditation

There are many benefits, both physical and mental, that are often associated with meditation. Many people use meditation as a sole way to exercise and enrich their minds while others prefer to think of it as a way to supplement other activities. No matter how you approach meditation, the following benefits (only a sample of many) are well documented:

  • Headaches: Meditation has often been shown to reduce or eliminate the pain associated with headaches and (sometimes) migraines. The long periods of inactivity may eliminate the pain or at least give you an extended break from it.
  • Weight Loss: People that are trying to lose weight may find meditation particularly helpful. Several studies successfully showed that meditation was very effective in both the control of ideal weight levels and the revamping of lost motivation or focus.
  • Increased Lung Function: The deep and soothing breaths associated with meditation are often successful in the improvement of air flow and increasing of lung capacity. A recent wind musician’s survey showed that meditation was able to increase lung capacity by 5% in only two weeks of regular practice.
  • Improvement of Memory: By relaxing the brain, meditation has often been shown to increase memory in the participant. In fact, early tests have been promising in the use of meditation along with prescription drugs for the reduction or delay of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Problem Solving: Meditation is often helpful in dealing with a minor problem or resolving an issue without turning to more drastic measures that are unnecessary. This opportunity to truly think through situations may save even more stress or additional problems.

 

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