Peace, relaxation and balance are luxury for many people. Many find it difficult to escape the daily stress and switch off. Meditation can help you to (re) relax and focus. In addition, meditating can help treat and prevent mental and physical illness, such as depression or migraine.
What is meditation?
The word "meditation" comes from the Latin and means something like "think, meditate". Meditation is a spiritual practice that is practiced in many religions and cultures. The goal is to calm the mind and to gather. This is achieved through various mindfulness and concentration exercises.
In Eastern cultures, meditation is a basic and central mind-expanding exercise. There one describes the aspired states of consciousness also as "silence", "emptiness", "oneness" or "being free from thoughts".
Where does meditation come from?
Origin of spiritual practice is the Middle and Far East. Along with the religion of Hinduism, meditation was also established and developed in India. The original religious teachings and techniques of meditation spread over time and are today found in various variations, but with similar aspects, almost worldwide.
The development of different types of meditation can be seen, for example, in the various ways in which Buddhism is interpreted. Or the development of spiritual practice in Japan called Zen. In China, on the other hand, meditation art is known as Chan.
In the past, when meditation was practiced exclusively in monasteries, the meditation practiced today in the Western world is now detached from the religious background and is popular with many people.
Active and passive meditation
Roughly meditation techniques can be divided into two variants: On the one hand there is the physically passive - also referred to as contemplative - meditation, which is practiced sitting still. On the other hand, the physically active meditation is carried out, which includes physical exercise, mindful action or loud recitation.
Passive meditation techniques include:
- called silent meditation or rest meditation
- the mindfulness or insight meditation
- the peace of mind meditation
- the Zen meditation
Active meditation forms, however, are:
- the walking meditation
- Dynamic Meditation
- Body scan
- the Kundalini meditation
- the Vipassana meditation
- the mantra meditation
Other types of meditation
Other variants of meditation are:
- Tai Chi
- Qi Gong
Many people find it easier to engage in meditation when it is taught. In the so-called guided meditation one is accompanied by a leader with the help of a selected text. This can be, for example, a dream trip or a story.
In everyday language, however, the term meditation is often used in the sense of the passive form, as it is also symbolized by the known images of the meditating Buddha.
Mixed forms of meditation
However, not every type of meditation can be divided into passive or active. The different types of meditation can also be mixed forms, that is, in practical application, for example, both an active Mindfulness steering or movements as well as passive lot and action may include.
A hybrid form is Zen meditation, for example, which meditates while sitting or while walking. Mantra meditation can also be active and passive: in the passive form, meditators think of the mantra or murmur it quietly, while being actively practiced by loud speaking or singing, often accompanied by rhythmic movements.
In many mantras, the syllable "om" is prefixed to the words. Also in some types of yoga the syllable is sung. In Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, Om is sacred. Om is a sound that unites body and mind in harmony.
Healthy through meditation?
Numerous studies have proven that meditation changes the structure of our brains: meditation has been proven to reduce the sensation of stress, has a positive effect on health and well-being and strengthens the memory.
So meditation brings many benefits to everyday life. With regular exercise inner relaxation and serenity are promoted, stress is reduced. In addition, meditating results in increased concentration and mindfulness, and you feel centered and balanced.
This in turn has a positive effect on everyday problems such as obesity, difficulty falling asleep or inner restlessness. Conflicts occur calm and relaxed, with stress and pressure you can handle better.
Various forms of meditation are also used therapeutically for various illnesses and pains. For example, according to a study by the University of Utah, meditating can help with depression, anxiety, pain, heart disease, ADHD or migraine.
Aid for meditating
For passive meditation, there are a number of "accessories" that make it easy for beginners to meditate.
For example, a pillow, a stool, or a meditation bench can help keep the meditation posture longer by keeping the spine upright and distributing the weight evenly.
Quiet music, singing bowls, or the aforementioned guided meditation can help to calm the mind during meditation, focusing only on the notes, text, and meditation. These tools are often - but not only - used by newbies, as these forms of meditation are easy to learn.
Meditation apps as digital support
Digital help can also be obtained through meditation apps. These should help in everyday life to focus and promote mental health. They should also be able to help against stress or falling asleep.
With mediation guides, spoken texts, and videos, the various apps provide a form of meditation for seemingly every situation and place. Whether such apps really help with meditation and which of the numerous apps best fulfills this, ultimately depends on individual needs and ideas.
Effect on the health of children
Numerous studies have shown that forms of meditation such as yoga have a positive effect on the mental stability and physical health of children and adolescents. Children can thus reduce stress better and thus promote their relaxation and self-confidence.
The various forms of meditation can help children with aggression, depression, anxiety and hyperactivity. In addition, meditating strengthens perception and thus promotes concentration and cognitive performance.
Physically, meditating children have less headache and lower back pain, and moreover, they are less likely to become obese. In adolescence, meditation can also reduce the likelihood of developing an eating disorder.
Meditation in kindergarten and elementary school
Already in the kindergarten or in the elementary school meditating can be practiced playfully. The meditation duration is usually only a few minutes, as children have a short attention span.
Often it pays off when several senses are addressed. For example, you can darken the room or use a singing bowl or gong to initiate and end the meditation time.
In elementary school, meditation can help children sit quietly and pay attention to the teacher and the tasks. Meditation can be integrated into everyday school life in various ways: Often a little older children need more exercise, which is why physically active types of meditation are particularly suitable here.
Who is allowed to offer meditation?
There are no state guidelines in this area, which is why everyone in Germany can offer meditation courses. However, training as a "meditation trainer" is meanwhile also offered as a study or course at various institutes or private institutions, whereby here too there are no uniform training guidelines and the contents of teaching can therefore be very different from each other. However, you should make sure that the training is certified.