August 4, 2012

Give Me Five ... Minutes of Meditation, That Is

In this fast-paced society we city folks dwell in, we're often searching for quick fixes.  While it is usually true that meaningful change requires significant time and energy, meditating five minutes a day can be an effective tool in easing a host of problems that effect those of us living in the rush-rush workaday world.

Meditation has long been advocated to help quiet the mind and improve focus.  In the past few years a variety of experts have begun to recommend, and numerous studies suggest, that mediation can be helpful in reducing stress, anxiety and depression as well as help heal or ease the symptoms of many physical illnesses including high blood pressure, inflammation and chronic pain.

But what is meditation?  Many people automatically picture an isolated monk seated pretzel style in a dark, spare room with candles and a large gong.  While there are certainly meditation practices resembling this stereotype, today's post is geared toward familiarizing readers with simpler and shorter forms of meditation that can be incorporated into a typical, time-pressed day.  Meditation, in short, for the hurried, anti-gurus among us.

Below are links to descriptive posts and videos that you may find useful in your quest to learn simple, effective meditation practices that can fit into any busy schedule.

Five Minute Meditation Introduced

Chris Walker calls himself The Anti Guru Guru.  He advocates no-frills meditation. Having practiced long hours of study in India he claims he gets more benefit from paring down his meditation practice to five-minute sessions.  Check out his post, here.

Dr. Alejandro Junger, M.D., cardiologist, discusses the role of stress on the mind and body.  In this video, he talks about the role of constant, automatic thoughts produced by our busy, overloaded brains (monkey mind) and the effectiveness of meditation in relieving physical damage caused by these and other forms of harmful stress.  Along with a video explanation, Dr. Junger gives step by step directions for practicing a five-minute meditation.

Meditation Videos to Get Started

Below is a video of a guided five-minute meditation.  Soothing pictures, music and a calming voice guide you through a simple meditative exercise.  You can view the video, here, or simply push the  white triangle start button below and view right from my blog:

To enlarge the meditation video, simply press the small square shaped symbol at the far right of the bottom black bar.  To return to this smaller size video, press the Escape key or click on that same square symbol.

This video features Deepak Chopra talking you through a gentle, nature-themed meditation.

Three Minute Rejuvenation Meditation

Five minutes sounds too long?  How about a three minute video?  In this video a woman guides you through quiet breathing and relaxing instructions.

If you prefer to try a meditation without being guided, this Breathe - 3 Minute Meditation video provides kaleidoscopic pictures and soothing music.

Meditation for the Darting Mind

If you are feeling up to the challenge of an 11-minute or even a 31-minute meditation, take a look at this video demonstrating Kirtan Kriya Meditation.  This yoga meditation involves vocalizations synchronized with finger movements which may be especially effective for people whose minds wander during more standard meditation exercises.

As this post illustrates, there are many paths toward meditating.  While longer meditation sessions are believed to produce deeper and more health engendering forms of relaxation, many find that short meditation exercises are not only time saving but also effective, especially when done on a daily basis (several times per day, even better).

These videos and links are chosen as examples not as any definitive or preferred method.  Different meditation experiences appeal to different people.  The important thing is for you to find a method that works for you: that produces feelings of calm, quiet and peace-of-mind.  Try exploring several of the meditation videos posted on YouTube or your favorite online video site.  Experiment with different styles and then practice on your own.  It will probably take time and repeat practice to achieve the desired effect.  And by practice I mean trying again and again until you feel your mind grow lighter and your thoughts slower and your muscles relax fully.

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