Like exercise, meditation improves physical and mental well-being, and boosts the quality of sleep. Think of it as chicken soup for the soul!
ONCE YOU MAKE MEDITATION A PART OF YOUR LIFE, IT BECOMES A DAILY HABIT.
Meditation is a state of mind. When you are aware of your own thoughts and actions, and the things happening around you, then you are meditating.
That’s according to Sriman Japadas, a meditation guru who recently founded the Singapore School of Meditation and Yoga (SSMY).
With the aim of spreading the word on meditation, Sriman conducts free group meditation classes.
“I noticed a growing yoga community in Singapore, but there isn’t enough focus on meditation as a key component in improving one’s overall well-being. Removing a price tag from our meditation classes helps encourage people to give the practice a try,” he said.
Here, Sriman shares all you’ve wanted to know about meditation.
1 It increases happiness and reduces stress. Meditation brings us to a place of quietude, introspection, gratitude and all the positive emotions you can think of. By becoming deeply aware of our self and our own strengths and capabilities, we become less worried, anxious or sad. Many studies have established a correlation between meditation and the health and well-being of people suffering from chronic ailments like depression.
2 It improves general health. As meditation helps one to manage stress better, the chances of stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease are reduced. Through this, you’ll develop a stronger mind-body connection which leads to better blood circulation.
3 It promotes self-awareness. Meditation trains you to focus on your thoughts, whether good or bad. In doing so, you become more peaceful, open-minded and appreciative of people and the world in general.
DISPEL THESE MYTHS
1 Meditation is difficult. People often think that it is an abstract practice reserved for holy men and religious people. In reality, meditation is a simple practice, which can be as easy as focusing on one’s breathing. Another reason why it may seem hard is because of our constant attachment to results, which also makes us question the legitimacy of the practice. However, with the aid of a qualified teacher, you can definitely get the best out of this experience!
2 It takes years of dedicated practice to receive any benefits from meditation. There are both immediate and long-term benefits to such contemplation. Some people may begin to experience the benefits within the first few days of practising, while others may take some time.
3 Meditation is a means for one to escape reality. Rather than to view it as a means to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, meditation helps one to tune in and get in touch with oneself. When you meditate, you let go of what’s been limiting you, and your clarity expands.
4 Meditation takes up a lot of time. Once you make it a part of your life, it becomes a daily habit. Furthermore, meditation takes only a few minutes, and can even be done on the way to work once you’ve learnt how to do it.
5 Meditation is a religious and spiritual practice. With meditation, you don’t need to have a specific religion, as the practice simply takes us to a place of silence to allow us to connect with our thoughts better, and to ultimately enrich our lives.
6 One should have some grand enlightenment when one meditates. Unlike what’s commonly depicted in television shows and movies such as experiencing visions or levitating, one does not need to have some grand enlightenment when one meditates. Instead, the real benefits happen after the session, when we are more mindful of our own thoughts and actions, and what happens around us.
QUICK TIPS TO GET STARTED
1 Attend a meditation class to learn the basics. At SSMY, Sriman leads free group meditation classes on weekday evenings. During a one-hour session, he will guide you through techniques you can use anywhere. The class schedule varies depending on his availability. Visit the SSMY Facebook page for the latest updates.
2 Do meditation exercises in the morning. When you’re just starting, it’s better to practise in the morning before you get thrown into the daily hustle and bustle. Doing so will help you focus and prepare yourself mentally for the day’s work. As you progress, you will find it easier to meditate anytime and anywhere.
3 Don’t overthink the process or rush into it. In our daily lives, we subject ourselves to deadlines as well as strict and tangible measurements, so it’s natural for a beginner to want to measure herself against a certain perceived standard, and rush to get there. However, this is counterproductive and you would lose the essence of meditating. Take your time, and remember to breathe.
4 Do not try to control your thoughts. Some people think that meditation will allow you to stop your thoughts, especially negative ones. However, it trains you to focus on them by first focusing on your breathing, your body, and your practice. Remember, every thought you have is valid. Meditation is not a means to escape these thoughts.
5 Do not compare your practice with others. Meditation is a personal journey. It’s like reading a book about yourself, so you shouldn’t compare who you are to someone else, as it will distract you from true self-discovery.
Sriman runs free meditation classes on selected Monday evenings at the Singapore School of Meditation and Yoga, #04-13 Regency House. For more information, call 6493-2967 or visit www.facebook.com/SingaporeSchoolMeditationYoga.
TEXT ESTELLE LOW PHOTO TPGIMAGES.COM.