What exactly is meditation? (+ free meditations)

What exactly is meditation?

People are meditating a lot more than they used to. They have a meditation app on their phone, a trendy meditation cushion and start each morning in the Lotus position. Meditation teaches you how to create peace of mind, sleep better, experience more positivity and feel less stressed. And the best part is: anyone can meditate! Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a beginner. But what exactly is meditation?

What is meditation?

Meditation is a kind of technique or tool that allows you to be in the here and now, so your soul will experience peace of mind and achieve another state of consciousness. This consciousness feels like inner calmness, space, silence and love.

It is not difficult, anyone can do it. We’ve all experienced moments in which we achieved a certain state of consciousness. For example when you’re taking a walk in a beautiful place, not thinking of anything and feeling very peaceful and calm. Or when you’re having a cup of tea while looking out the window and experiencing a certain peace of mind. This too is meditation

Meditation for beginners 

You don’t have to use your meditation cushion and be silent in order to meditate. You can also meditate while taking a walk, in the shower or lying on your bed. However, there are a couple of ‘basic elements’:

Focus on your breathing

Breathing is something we carry with us always and everywhere. But how often do we simply reflect on how we breathe? Breathing is the core element of meditation.

Are you sitting or lying down comfortably and in silence? Focus on your breathing. Take slow breaths in and out. Feel the air flow in through your nose with each inhalation and out through your mouth with each exhalation.

When you learn to control your breathing, you have mastered the essence of meditation.

You don’t have to turn off your mind

Maybe you’ve tried to meditate once or twice, but felt like it didn’t work because you couldn’t turn off your mind. This is a misconception about meditation.

When you meditate you don’t have to control your thoughts. They belong to you and aren’t necessarily good or bad.

Let your thoughts come and go without judgement. Observe them as they float on by, just like clouds in the sky. Put it to practice and notice how the thoughts become less.

If you do this every day – even a couple of minutes – you get so much in return, like being able to deal with stressful moments.

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The advantages of meditation

Meditation was not created in the 21st century. People have been practicing it for thousands of years and more research is being done on the effects of meditation on the mind and the body.

1. It improves sleep

One of the most important benefits of meditation is that it helps improve sleep. We live in pretty hectic times and many people suffer from busy minds. You’ve probably lied awake at night worrying about something, knowing it wasn’t helping you sleep.

Research has shown that the effect of meditation on the melatonin levels in the blood is positive; the sleep hormone melatonin increases with more meditation.

In addition, meditation is a way to clear your mind before going to sleep, so you go into the night with a sense of inner calmness. You will fall asleep faster and sleep better.

2. It reduces stress and creates more balance

We all have those days when we’re feeling a bit grumpy. You didn’t sleep well, you’re feeling stressed and on top of that everything else seems to be demanding your attention as well. Suddenly you find yourself really angry or very emotional. Your emotions are all over the place.

Meditation can help regulate these enormous ups (and downs). This doesn’t mean that you become ‘neutral’; it means that things happening throughout the day will have a little less effect on you.

If something goes wrong (you spill your coffee or you have a flat tire) you will be quick to observe, think in terms of solutions and above all remain calm. It no longer sets the mood for the rest of your day and you feel less stressed.

3. It helps you switch off your mind and focus

When you meditate regularly, you train yourself to switch off your mind and focus. You focus on your breathing or on the voice guiding you through the meditation, turning the focus inward. This is also linked to the brain’s default network.

The network is active during a state of rest (for instance a meditation). People who meditate regularly use this part of the brain more often and in a different way. They are less likely to be distracted and able to focus better.

Let’s not forget the binaural beats; music that helps you focus better. Binaural beats are rhythmic sounds with a certain frequency. This frequency has an effect on the brainwaves in our brain and can evoke a specific mood. Certain binaural beats help with deep relaxation while others help improve concentration.

Meditation isn’t just for ‘hippies’

Many people associate meditation with the hippie era, brightly colored pants and beaded necklaces. Or with monks who meditate on a rock for hours.

But meditation can also be done while wearing jeans. It is for men and women, young and old, trendy and traditional, big and small... In other words: anyone can meditate.

We all have a hard drive that fills up. When you meditate you can actually move redundant files to the trash can. It is like regular cleaning, where you make room for the important things: peace of mind, space, love.

Schedule your meditation moments 

Perhaps the hardest part about meditation is just doing it. When we’re busy we tend to keep going on and on. However if you really want better sleep, less stress and more relaxation, you need to be more strict with yourself and schedule your meditation moments.

When do you most need a short rest? In the morning so you can start your day with silence? During your lunch break so you can take your mind off work for a bit? Or right before you go to bed?

Everyone has different needs. That’s why we organized the meditations in the Meditation Moments app into different moments (categories). Choose the meditation that best suits you at any moment of the day.

They are guided meditations. During these meditations a voice (in combination with music) will guide you through the meditation. All you have to do is listen and let yourself be guided.

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Meditation Moments
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