The benefits of meditation are fairly well publicised these days, I mean you'd have to have been living under a rock somewhere if you haven't seen at least one article, social post or podcast talking about why practically all of Hollywood and now big players in sport, business and even the royal family are at it!
But what if I told you that the pre-recorded guided meditation that you listen to on the train to work or before bed was great, and we certainly do do a little happy dance when we hear about anyone meditating at all, but doesn't quite hit the mark in terms of bringing ALL of those amazing benefits that you've heard about!
Here is X-HAIL's guide to the world of meditation so that you are able to pick that one that gets the results that you actually want!
1. Guided Meditation e.g. pre-recorded scripts on YouTube or an app; or scripts read aloud by a yoga or meditation teacher: This type of meditation is everywhere these days and can help to promote generalised feelings of calmness and relaxation.
As the technique slowly and steadily relaxes the body, some people use this form of meditation before bed to help them sleep.
2. Mindfulness Meditation e.g. breathing techniques and activities which focus on returning to the present moment: These practices are characterised by frontal theta brain waves.
Sounds super technical right?
But all we need to know is that we spend most of our days with Beta brain wave activity, and as we get stressed these waves become more and more prevalent.
During theta brainwave activity, both the body and mind can experience enhanced rejuvenation, growth, and healing.
Due to the deep levels of relaxation that theta brainwaves facilitate, the body and mind of a mindfulness practitioner are easily able to restore themselves during and after illness, as well as after mental burnout and physical exertion.
What's more, developing a consistent mindfulness practice can hep us stay focused, have more perspective and be less impulsive and reactive to our emotions!
What's not to love?!
3. Focused Attention e.g. Candle Gazing or Mantra Meditation: Focused attention techniques are characterised by concentration or controlled focus on an object of meditation.
Brain waves recorded during these practices are typically in the gamma frequency.
This level of attention requires considerable effort, but the resulting increase in gamma waves is beneficial to memory and performance!
4. Transcendental-Style Meditation: Neuroscientists have found that the meditative state experienced during this type of practice corresponds to a distinct style of brain activity and range of physiological changes that has not been reported from any other style of meditation!!!!
And whilst it sounds like a technical process, mainly because of it's name, transcendental-style meditation is actually the easiest to practice as it requires the least amount of focus or perseverance AND the benefits are immediate!
Get ready for this list of incredible benefits: Lower blood pressure; increased creativity; improved productivity; improved brain function and co-herence ( all parts of the brain working together); improved heart health; reduced stress and anxiety through reduction in cortisol levels; improved asthma symptoms; improved IBS symptoms; weight management and loss; improved blood sugar regulation; reduced awareness of pain/ reduced intensity of pain; improved sleep; reduction in fatigue and tiredness.... I could go on!
Literally the research continues to blow my mind!
The findings even attracted the following comment from Dr James Le Fanu in his regular column in the Sunday Telegraph: “The overall benefits of transcendental meditation are so staggering as to be almost unbelievable – in one 5 year study, half the number of inpatient admissions to hospital (87% fewer for heart disease and nervous system disorders) … These findings are remarkable.”
And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that people with an average age of 50 years who had been practicing Transcendental Meditation for over 5 years, had a biological age 12 years younger than their chronological age. That means a 55-year-old meditator had the physiology and health of a 43-year-old!
Bring it. ON!
So how do you pick just one?
The good news is you don't have to!
X-Hail classes and workshops include a mix of mindfulness practices; guided meditation; a lil' focused attention and loads of transcendental-style meditation!
Best of all its all packaged into a dedicated space to relax and treat your body to some undercover healing, which is full of modern music and led by down to earth, relatable instructors who know what you're up against day to day, because they are up against it too, no guru status teachers around these parts!
We have instructors right across the country!
Get in touch or visit the website www.x-hail.org to book your class or learn more about becoming an instructor!