Stress and hectic life are omnipresent today both at work and in private life. Luckily, the ways and methods to relax and relieve the stress are many.
Even a soothing bath with fragrant essences or a massage can relax your body in a wonderful way. Thus, the various forms of relaxation help to keep our body and mind healthy and fit.
Knowing how to relax
The 21st century is characterized by hectic rush, stress and lack of time. If you’re having a lot of stress, you should definitely find time to relax. Rest periods are important for the entire body and thus, above all, for our health. The range of wellness methods today is greater than ever. Wellness is offered in many different variants and always has the goal of finding its own and inner peace. What does it do? The main thing is to free your mind and keep your breathing normal and calm through relaxation exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or the daily workout at home. Worth knowing about wellness and relaxation is an overview of soothing relaxation exercises.
Meditation – the queen of relaxation techniques
Peace, relaxation and balance are luxury for many people. Many find it difficult to escape the daily stress and switch off.
Meditation can help you to (re)relax and focus. In addition, meditating can help treat and prevent mental and physical illness, such as depression or migraines.
What is meditation?
The word “meditation” comes from the Latin and means something like “think, meditate”. Meditation is a spiritual practice practiced in many religions and cultures. The goal is to calm the mind and improve concentration. This is achieved through various concentration exercises.
In Eastern cultures, meditation is a basic and central mind-expanding exercise. The aspired states of consciousness are also described as “silence”, “emptiness”, “oneness” or “being free from thoughts”.
Where does meditation come from?
Origins of spiritual practices are in the Middle and Far East. Along with the religion of Hinduism, meditation was also established and developed in India. The original religious teachings and techniques of meditation spread over time and are today found in various variations, but with similar aspects.
The development of different types of meditation can be seen, for example, in the various ways in which Buddhism is interpreted. Or the development of spiritual practice in Japan called Zen. In China, on the other hand, the art of meditation is known as Chan.
While meditation used to be practiced exclusively in monasteries, in the Western world today, it is now detached from the religious background and is popular with many people.
Active and passive meditation
Roughly speaking, meditation techniques can be divided into two categories: On the one hand there is the physically passive – also referred to as contemplative – meditation, which is practiced while a person is sitting still. On the other hand, physically active meditation is carried out through physical exercise, attentive action or loud recitation.
Passive meditation techniques include:
• silent meditation or restmeditation
• the mindfulness or insight meditation
• peace of mind meditation
• Zen meditation
Active meditation forms, however, are:
• walking meditation
• Dynamic Meditation
• Body Scan
• Kundalini meditation
• the Vipassana meditation
• the mantra meditation
Other types of meditation
• Tai Chi
• Qi Gong
Many people find it easier to engage in meditation when it is taught. In the so-called guided meditation one is accompanied by a leader with the help of a selected text. This can be, for example, a dream trip or a story.
In everyday language, however, the term meditation is often used in the sense of the passive form, as it is also symbolized by the known images of the meditating Buddha.
Mixed forms of meditation
Not every type of meditation can be divided into passive or active. The different types of meditation can also be mixed forms, i.e. including both active and passive.
A mixed form of meditation is for example Zen meditation, in which one meditates while sitting or while walking. Mantra meditation can also be active and passive: in the passive form, meditators think of the mantra and murmur it quietly, or by loud speaking or singing, often accompanied by rhythmic movements.
In many mantras, the syllable “om” is prefixed to the words. Also in some types of yoga the syllable is sung. In Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, “Om” is a sacred word. “Om” is a sound that unites body and mind in harmony.
Aids during meditation
There are a number of “accessories” that make it easy for beginners to practice passive meditation. For example, a pillow, stool, or meditation bench can help keep the meditation posture longer by keeping the spine upright and distributing the weight evenly.
Quiet music, singing bowls, or the aforementioned guided meditation can help to calm the mind during meditation, focusing only on the notes, text, and meditation. These tools are often – but not only – used by newbies, as these forms of meditation are easy to learn.
Meditation apps as digital support
Digital help can also be obtained through meditation apps. These should help in everyday life to focus and promote mental health. They should also be able to help against stress or falling asleep.
With mediation guides, spoken texts, and videos, the various apps provide a form of meditation for virtually every situation and place. Whether such apps really help with meditation and which one of all the numerous apps best fulfills this, depends on individual needs and ideas.
Effect on the health of children
Numerous studies have shown that forms of meditation such as yoga have a positive effect on the mental stability and physical health of children and adolescents. Children can thus reduce stress better and improve their relaxation and self-confidence.
The various forms of meditation can help children with aggression, depression, anxiety and hyperactivity. In addition, meditating strengthens perception and thus promotes concentration and cognitive performance.
Physically, meditating children have less headache and lower back pain, and moreover, they are less likely to become obese. In adolescence, meditation can also reduce the likelihood of developing an eating disorder.
Meditation in preschool and elementary school
Already in the kindergarten or in the elementary school meditating can be practiced in a playful manner. The meditation duration is usually only a few minutes, as children have a short attention span. It pays off when several senses are addressed. For example, you can darken the room or use a singing bowl or gong to initiate and end the meditation time.
In elementary school, meditation can help children sit quietly and pay attention to the teacher and the tasks. Meditation can be integrated into the everyday school life in different ways: Often older children need more exercise, which is why physically active types of meditation are particularly suitable here.
Who is allowed to offer meditation?
There are no guidelines in this area, which is why everyone can offer meditation courses. However, training as a “meditation trainer” is meanwhile also offered as a study or course at various institutes or private institutions, whereby there are usually no uniform training guidelines and the contents of teaching can therefore be very different from each other. However, one should make sure that the training is certified.
Written By Tyara Wolf
Psychology and Personal Development