Julia Ventham teaches meditation on our Yoga Meditation and Wellness Retreats. Here she talks about the many benefits of meditation to your health.
People have been meditating for thousands of years. Yet, it is only recently that the scientific world are catching up with the many benefits of meditation to your health.
It seems that we only start to listen when there is scientific evidence, to support what was once, only a notion or an anecdotal claim.
I've never been big on science, or felt the need to validate an intuitive 'hunch,' or what I'm feeling. However, I do appreciate that for many, something intangible, like the benefits of meditation - might need explaining. After all, why would you sit cross legged for hours at a time!
Meditation is like a tonic or elixir. It can heal so many physical, mental and emotional problems. But before we get into a long list of what it does to our serotonin levels etc...there is one simple undeniable fact - IT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD!!
We could all do with finding paradise everyday - albeit for a few minutes!
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.” Sogyal Rinpoche
From my own experience, I can say that meditation cured me of a serious illness.
I have no evidence to back this up, but having refused conventional treatment, I started meditating. What I found was that within a short space of time my symptoms started to disappear, and a stronger, healthier sense of well being took over.
I'm not one to believe in coincidences!
Like everything in life, when we get good at something then we love it! And meditation is no different, it takes practise and daily focus, and I believe it comes in so many forms that there is a method to suit everyone. Something I will be talking about in my next post.
So what are the benefits of meditation?
Meditation is known to reduce stress levels. This in turn can lower blood pressure, and help with many stress related illnesses, such as cardiovascular and heart disease.
Meditation reduces physical and emotional pain better than morphine.
Meditation helps you to become focused and more alert, which helps with decision making, creative thinking and memory function. Many famous and successful people meditate.
Another of the benefits of meditation is that it can strengthen the human immune system and make you more resistant to viruses and infections.
Meditation can help people to overcome powerful drug and alcohol addictions.
When you meditate sleep improves, and your insight awakens.
Meditation increases your psychological functioning and produces a sense of well being which comes from the raised serotonin levels.
Science is catching up, there is quantifiable research and a mass of reading material available on the internet.
Research like that of Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School. She has shown that meditation actually causes physiological changes in the brain. That many of the benefits of meditation are attributable to these changes....
"As we get older it’s harder to figure things out and remember things. But in this one region of the prefrontal cortex, 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as 25-year-olds."
Read her article in the Washington Post.
Other interesting research, has looked at the effect meditation has on those around them. It has been found that where there are large groups of people meditating regularly, there is a significant decrease in violence, domestic abuse, racism etc. Schools have started to introduce mindfulness instead of detention, and the results are astounding!
So you see, the benefits of meditation are not just on a personal level, they go beyond the individual, directly affecting those around you.
I encourage you to open your mind, try meditation, and witness the effect in your own home.
"At first meditating felt unusual – like I was stepping out of normal life and doing something that most people find strange. I soon realized, however, that this wasn’t true – millions of people meditate and many successful people attribute part of their success to meditation".
Vanessa Van Edwards
So have I convinced you that the benefits of meditation are huge?
I am going to ask you the same question again...
"why not do something that makes you feel good and is doing you good at the same time?"
Don't wait for a crisis, like I had to, before you give meditation a chance.
Join Julia on one of our Yoga Meditation and Wellness Retreats.