Using meditation techniques to improve mental and spiritual health is not a new concept. Ancient Taoist and Buddhist cultures have been practicing various forms of the art for centuries, extoling the “mind, body, spirit” connection as part of their everyday lives. But the term “meditation” is one that’s hard to define, with numerous different consciousness practices focusing on a variety of goals, experiences and energies.
Kundalini is based in Hindu and Buddhist teachings. It focuses on accessing the body’s dormant energy through the breath in order to reach an altered (and heightened) state of consciousness. Its practitioners claim myriad health benefits can be achieved by the directing of one’s breathing through the energy centres of the body.
The absolute goal of this Hindu practice is a state of enlightenment, which allows the practitioner to experience an inner peace and sense of calmness along the way, even in the face of chaos and negativity. A person sits in the Lotus position and uses a single mantra to focus the mind.
Meditation techniques that use guided visualisations are a more contemporary kind of practice, but the idea is rooted in the teachings of Buddha, who said, “what you think, you become”. It is a different concept from many other forms, in that the practitioner focuses on a specific goal by using the imagination to create a positive experience. When this happens, the body undergoes a chemical reaction that propagates mental and emotional positivity. This can be beneficial not only for personal development, but also for stress relief.
OM: Using Mindfulness to Connect
OM is a partnered practice that combines the Buddhist concept of mindfulness (the mental state of being consciously aware) with our most deeply felt human experience to achieve an enlightened state of being. Practitioners focus on no goal but that of simply “being in the moment” and feeling the sensations of the experience. The practice of OM has been proven useful in treating trauma and depression, and affords the ability to create and nurture deeper, more intimate personal connections.
One of the oldest forms, the meditation techniques of Chinese Qi Gong use the breath to move the body’s energy through its various centres in order to promote health and wellness. Combining deep breathing with a series of movements, as well as improving the body’s ability to cope with stress, Qi Gong aids in relaxation, respiration and posture.
Only you can work out the style that works for you on the quest to achieve inner peace and, ultimately, an enlightened state of consciousness. What’s perfect for one person may not be right for another, but what can’t be denied is that incorporating meditation techniques into your daily life can benefit your mental, spiritual and even physical health in myriad ways.