More and more women are looking to improve their health and wellness and with the use of all natural methods. There is no doubt that using ancient practices that promote peace, calm and good health can benefit most any of us living in today’s modern, hectic, tech based world.
Meditation is a very popular technique that while thousands of years old is enjoying immense popularity in modern times for its ability to support and promote a variety of health benefits for mind, body and spirit. Besides being ideal for relaxation, it is well recognized as a holistic way to manage stress as well as a wealth of other conditions.
What is Meditation?
Meditation (more specifically, transcendental meditation) is a technique of relaxing in order to reach a state of complete rest, calm and introspection. The technique was popularized in the 1960s Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who drew upon a tradition that has been practiced in India for thousands of years.
Meditation appears in several religious backgrounds. Usually, it is thought of as a predominantly Eastern practice, and indeed, it is a pillar of both Buddhism and Hinduism as part of a yoga routine. However, it is also practiced in Western religions as well. Christian meditation does not involve mantras or stances and its ultimate goal is to be filled with scriptures, not completely devoid of thought. It is practiced in both Eastern and Western circles.
Many believe that transcendental meditation can be vital for a woman’s health. Geeta S. Iyengar, author of Yoga: A Gem for Women, cites it as an extremely spiritual discipline, quoting much of the Sanskrit holy test Mahabharata and using it as a way to overcome a number of childhood diseases without medication. However, it is not qualified as a religion or philosophy and it does not require any lifestyle changes.
Medical Benefits to Meditation
There are some more quantifiable medicinal benefits to practicing meditation, particularly for women. Though WebMD states that more study is needed before conclusive results can be made, research has shown that meditation can improve:
Chronic Pain – Especially when combined with exercise and breathing techniques, chronic pain that ails many women in different stages of life from growing pains in puberty to menopause can be improved with meditation.
Anxiety – Reaching a state of complete stability and rest is not consistent with anxious thoughts and behaviors. Practicing relaxation techniques as well as well as being mindful of the body’s nervous tics can help relieve stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, girls from puberty to the age of 50 are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder as a man is. Anxiety disorders also occur earlier in women than in men.
Blood Pressure – High blood pressure can be related to anxiety issues, and it is a contributing factor to heart disease, a well-known and worrisome epidemic. Meditation can lower heart rates and assist with this condition.
Cholesterol – High cholesterol is also a major contributor to heart disease. Especially if practiced with change of diet, exercise, and possibly medication, meditation can provide the extra kick needed to help overcome this chronic condition.
Use of Health Care Services – Reducing stress allows for fewer trips to the doctor. Fewer treatments are needed for the diseases that can be improved with meditation. In addition, somatic symptom disorder, formerly known as hypochondria, can be connected to anxiety disorders, and anxiety can be improved greatly with meditation.
Decreased Risk For Heart Disease – A study published in the journal Stroke showed that Transcendental Meditation reduced the thickness of the wall of the carotid artery, which is an early warning sign for hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
How to Meditate
As tempting as it is to practice meditation with no instruction, it is highly recommended that classes be taken to ensure proper technique, especially since transcendental meditation requires discipline. Feedback and supervised sessions help improve the benefits of meditation.
There are certified Transcendental Meditation instructors across the country. Meditation is usually practiced twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Meditation classes use mantra (a chant with no meaning) that is recited during meditation sessions. These mantras are often unique to each practitioner.
Especially when used with more traditional health strategies like diet and exercise, meditation can give a great boost to a woman’s overall health, providing benefits for body, mind, and spirit!