Meditation has been established as a powerful tool for ushering in peace of mind and putting an end to stress and related maladies like tension headaches, premature ageing and chronic fatigue syndrome

If there is one thing that can travel faster than the speed of light, it is the human mind. From dawn to dusk, a jumble of chaotic thoughts crowd our subconscious, demanding our time and attention. This can affect the health and peace of mind.

Promoting healing

In simplistic terms, meditation is a kind of conscious relaxation—an inner journey towards calmness and tranquillity. According to information released by the Meditation Society of America, regular sessions can improve one’s I.Q., foster creativity and imagination; reduce blood pressure while promoting clear thinking and healing emotional scars and balance.

Meditation does not have to have spiritual or religious implications, nor even any rigid rules. Though there are different techniques, the American Journal of Health Promotion hails transcendental meditation as the most effective, since it can provide a unique combination of physical comfort and mental peace.

A study conducted by the journal Psychosomatic Medicine examined the health insurance statistics of over 2,000 people practising Transcendental Meditation over five years. It was established that those who had practiced this technique needed much less medical treatment during this time than others. This form of meditation is simple to master, requires no fancy props and can be performed with instant results from practically anywhere. This is probably the reason for its immense popularity across the globe, with nearly 10 million practitioners in 50 countries.

Fostering ‘Prana’, the life force

Dr. Alzak Amlani, a clinical psychologist in Palo Alto and San Francisco, CA, offers a general guide. “One must first calm the body by sitting still,” he says. “It is important to rest comfortably and with a posture that supports alertness. This begins to enhance the natural flow of “prana” or life force through your body. As your breathing becomes deep and steady, your oxygen intake increases and the result is instant relaxation of both mind and spirit.”

This relaxation, Dr. Amlani explains, makes some people drowsy, which is often a sign that they are not getting enough rest and require deeper sleep. Ordinarily, a 20 minute session should leave one feeling energized and fresh. When you first attempt to meditate, niggling thoughts may distract you.

One of the foremost principles of transcendental meditation is to allow these thoughts to flood your body without resistance.

You can choose a particular word or mantra to chant repeatedly, but do not try to concentrate on images it evokes. Just let your mind wander as it empties itself of the debris of the day.

Like ripples in a pond, the object is to maintain the calm once everything settles.

Transcending the physical plane

As you become more adept at practising meditation, you will experience the ability to transcend the tedious rhythm of life and enter a state where all thoughts and external influences will cease to exist. There is only stillness and deep peace. Even Fortune 500 companies now require their CEO's to take frequent "no thinking" breaks to rid themselves of trivial worries that can sap their productivity. Other form of meditation require intense concentration. You may be asked to visualize a peaceful scene or re-live a joyous moment. In Samantha or one-point meditation, one must draw the energy inwards by focusing on breathing. Whichever way you go about it, meditation rejuvenates the jaded body and soul, overwhelming you with inner bliss.

Keywords: Pranayamayoga