Don’t we all want an excuse to ‘meditate’ on our hammocks? In the July 2012 issue of the journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, has given us the thumbs up! Taking a deeper look at the study, what we loved was beyond discussing the benefits of meditation (increased oxygen to the blood, reduced stress, anxiety, depression etc.) these researchers looked into how people liked to meditate. And, let’s face it – we do what we like doing – and we don’t do what we don’t like.
The researchers spoke with about 250 college students who all practiced one of four methods for about a week and at the end of six weeks ranked their personal preferences regarding meditation methods.
Researchers looked into these four methods:
Vipassana – Translated as “seeing deeply” this meditation dates back to the times of Gautama Buddha. You can start out by breath awareness and then advance to stages of being mindful of your perceptions and thoughts at any time, regardless of what you are doing.
Mantra - Think “Om” or choose a word or phrase of your own to repeat.
Zen - This practice typically asks you to silently focus on breathing and posture with eyes open in a quiet place and to dismiss any thoughts that pop into your head, essentially “thinking nothing.” Good luck with this!
Qigong visualization – We love this one – because one aspect of this practice includes the Inner Smile, visualizing “smile-energy” penetrating your internal organs; or Moon on Lake, visualizing the moon’s reflection on a lake; and Holding Heaven in the Palm of Your Hand, imagining the energy of the galaxy in the palm of your hand. Another popular technique is imagining a beam of light running along the spine.
And the winner is … a significant number of participants chose Vipassana or Mantra meditation as their preferred techniques. Of course this doesn’t mean these are right for you -but they would be a good place to start. Looking for a way to get started, check out our post called Mediation Made EZ, which describes a 100 breath technique … as in take 100 breaths and you’re done. E-Z!