In this article The New Art of living, Online meditation we can together explore interesting and unknown facts about meditation related to Neuroplasticity.
Though many may know that meditation can reduce stress and anxiety levels, very few the deeper therapeutic effects of regular meditation practice.
Many regular meditators and aspirants are not aware of the fact that regular meditation, of just 15 – 20 minutes a day can help to prevent major lifestyle diseases in the future including Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Diabetes, Meditation can heal too.
Regular Meditation is a recurring deposit that yields compound interest. Interest is accrued only when deposits are made regularly. We will also understand why one should make meditation a regular practice in today’s context.
I this short article we will discuss on what is mediation both from a beginner’s and advanced practitioner’s point of view.
We will also discuss how meditation can prevent and heal major degenerative diseases like Dementia, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.
In the last part we will discuss in brief the spiritual benefits of meditation.
What is Meditation?
Meditation means that the mind is still.
To be meditating means to consciously still the mind., without movement. I am meditating means I am still – body and mind, observing my energies.
To be still in the mind, I am not allowing myself to get entangled with the movements that re generated in the mind in form of thoughts, emotions etc.
That I am not entangled means I am aware of the thoughts and counter thoughts that arise in my mind. I am just a witness. I am not a party to the thoughts, or the effects of the thoughts produced in my mind.
Meditation is practice that leads to a calm serene still mind. A still mind is a meditation mind.
As of now thoughts and emotions keep arising in the mind. When they arise, I get entangled and start working with my thoughts as though they are true. As this happens continously mind is used to be oscillating – diverted continously. Since I am continously moving with the tendencies of the mind, I get tired.
I lose efficiency, focus, clarity. Since I keep oscillating as per the tendencies of the mind, mind develops deeper and subtle impressions. These impressions create corresponding impressions and structural changes in the mind.
These intensify compulsive thinking patterns, neural structures, behaviors, habits and finally a so-called lifestyle with certain amount of happiness, joy, discomfort, and pain. Since the behaviors and thinking is compulsive, happiness decreases, while discomfort and pain increases. This leads to disease in various forms. With increasing life span diseases become more degenerative in various forms.
Degenerative diseases of brain and nervous system causes Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia etc.
Degenerative diseases of immune system affect bones and metabolism, causing diabetes, endocrine disorders, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spondylosis etc.
Since these diseases are degenerative, they are mostly uncurable by medicines.
Origin of Degenerative Diseases:
Many imaging studies have shown that diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia originate at least twenty years before they show up as a symptom. This means that if the symptom is seen in age of 60, the degeneration could have begun at the age of around 40.
Excessive involvement in digital media, poor lifestyle, poor posture; stress at work and home; makes one choose compulsive habits seeking relaxation that keep the brain continously overactive and restless. This affects sleep which leads to insomnia. Deep sleep state is affected. When this lifestyle is continuous this makes the neurology more vulnerable to be affected.
Poor and stressful lifestyle affects metabolic processes. Early onset of diabetes and Uterine related problems in young girls have their origins in stress.
All these have an impact on the quality of life which keeps in deteriorating unconsciously.
Lifestyle disease is thus a wakeup call.
The New Art of Living Online Meditation
Changing the environment, like changing jobs, shifting to a rural lifestyle, low income but a satisfying job and choosing to home school etc are not practical as they need sweeping mind set changes.
Investing in appropriate regular practice for short period is easier than starting in big grand manner.
This is one reason I call Online meditation as the New Art of Living.
Hence, given the current context it is easier to have a regular simple short easily accessible practice and allow the practice to create its effect on the system.
This is one reason Online Meditation classes, or an Online Meditation Course will make a difference.
Online Meditation course can be even more easy as it can allow practice anywhere – anytime.
Brain is made of neurons. As per old medicinal and neurological texts, the brain growth i.e neuronal growth stops when you attain the age of 12 or 13. This meant that brain can neither grow nor can the neurons make newer connections after the age of 12 or 13.
Meditation – Neuro Plasticity – Alzheimer’s – Dementia:
Today modern studies show beyond doubt the neuroplasticity of the brain can be restored at any age. Regular meditation facilitates newer neural connections in the brain.
This is good news for everyone who wishes to live longer.
Yes, as per Mayo Clinic, US, growing old is the cause of more neurodegenerative diseases like Dementia.
This means that one should not grow old which is not possible.
If one can spend even just 15 minutes every day, regularly one can restore neuroplasticity. This means newer connections can be made at any age.
Regular meditation can thus prevent neuro degenerative diseases and can also heal.
In a randomized controlled trial, published in PubMed, the conclusion is – The current interventions for major Depressive disorders are suboptimal.
Yoga, meditation (YMLI), as per the results suggest that decrease in depression severity after YMLI) in MDD (Major Depressive Disorders) is associated with improved systemic biomarkers of neuroplasticity. Thus Yoga and Meditation based Lifestyle Improvement can be considered as a therapeutic intervention in Major Depressive disorders management
In another study where the impact of Meditation and Yoga on cellular aging was studied, it was again found that there was significant improvement in cardinal biomarkers and metabotropic biomarkers that influence cellular aging.
This in simple terms could mean that regular yoga and meditation practice can reduce cellular aging and other aging related diseases.
So if you want to live longer, look younger – Choose Yoga – Mediation based life style now.
Yoga – Meditation : Impact on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is crippling degenerative disease. It affects joints causing swelling and severe pain. It happens because the body’s immune system starts attacking the joints.
Only symptomatic treatment is possible. As the disease grows the dose increases and reaches a point where in the dose can no longer be increased. This means that pain would be a part of life. This impacts life in a big way. Anxiety, fear and depression add up to the challenge.
In a study that worked with a 8 -week yoga and meditation based lifestyle intervention that assessed the impact on yoga on Psycho- Neuro- Immune Axis and the perceived quality of life of RA patients; it was found that
- There was a significant decrease in disease activity after Yoga Practice
- There was decrease in inflammatory cytokines
- Elevation of Mind-body communicative markers.
The researchers also clearly stated that Yoga can be made as an adjunctive therapy for RA.
Meditation – Stress – Anxiety:
There are numerous studies to show that regular meditation practice reduces stress, anxiety and fear.
In a study in JAMA, it was told that mindfulness based stress reduction programs helped reduce anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorders. Generalized Anxiety disorder is characterized by high irritability, poor sleep, constant worries, etc.
How does Mediation work?
Meditation works by reducing blood pressure, cortisol concentration, Heart rate and Breathing pattern.
Meditation increases regional cerebral blood flow, in the brain. This naturally increases oxygen levels in the brain. This calms down the brain. This in turn can calm the mind.
Meditation decreases aging related complications. As one ages the grey matter of the brain decreases. This leads to dementia and other degenerative diseases. Regular meditation practice leads to thickening of the gray matter.
Meditation normalized the nervous to stressful factors in the environment. This reduces cholesterol and addictive habits like smoking as the over stimulation of nervous system is neutralized.
I another randomized study it was shown that with Meditation there is a 48% risk reduction of death due to heart attack and stroke.
The above are the results from a study in NCBI.
What are the types of meditation?
There are many methods to create a calm mind. Meditation means that the mind is calm and serene. You are awake.
All activities are done to create a calm mind. Many schools have developed certain type of activity to create a calm mind. Based on the founder or the school or the method, each technique has got a name:
Deepak Chopra Meditation
Meditation is also named based on the effect it produces after one reaches a calm mind. Some of them are:
Mediation and Spiritual Progress:
To know who one is without the influence of the environment is the inner most quest of a human being.
Shiva Sutras being with describing the nature of twice born.
In the Bhagavat Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna ‘How can I fight with my teachers and uncle, most of them are twice born?’
When you come out of your mother’s womb, you know yourself when others touch you. When you are touched sensation from your skin moves inside your body. So, you know that you are different from the other humans and objects. You that this is me and that is not me because of the sense of touch.
Similarly, you employ other senses to know the difference between you and other visually and verbally too.
Know who you are as a function of senses is the first birth.
Second birth is the birth where you know who you are without employing your senses.
When senses are still mind becomes still. When mind becomes still the real self, inside you reveals itself. After that happens hankering after sensual objects reduce. Knowing who you are existentially is second birth
When you attain the second birth, you can be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. All fear is eliminated because the root of all fear is rooted in the fear of Death.
To meditate is to progress spiritually. Whatever be the reasons you choose to meditate for, you cannot stop spiritual progress.
How to Choose a Meditation Program?
As I had mentioned before the right choice of meditation program is key to success. If you choose to travel too far from your place, if you choose rigid timings and rigid ritualistic protocols then you may overwhelm your system. You may not be able to practice regularly.
If the practice is too simple then there will no internal motivation as you may not find any change happening internally even after a few months.
Hence choosing a program that can help you practice easily and at the same time offer results is key.
What is the best Online Meditation Course?
The Best Online Meditation course should help you to meditate anyplace anytime.
What is Meditation?
Meditation could be an experience of stillness that happens after your mind becomes still.
Will Online Meditation Courses Help?
When online meditation courses come with clear written guidelines and guidance then they will work.
What is Raja Yoga Meditation?
Meditation is stilling the mind. Meditation is by itself Raja Yoga as you work directly with the mind.
How do you Meditate for Beginners?
Beginners should learn to sit pleasantly, straight with or without back support for along time to begin with.
Can you talk to God Through Meditation?
In Meditation there is no talk. Total Silence and Stillness is meditation.
What are 3 types of meditation?
Meditation is of many types. The goal is one only and that is to create a still mind.
Can I meditate at work place?
After regular meditation practice, one can make work meditative.
What do I think about when I am meditating?
If you can think about only one thought continously, then meditation happens as mind becomes single pointed
Can I listen to music when I am meditating?
Listening to mild soothing music, calms your mind and makes your meditative. If you slip into meditation, then you may not hear the music
Can I meditate?
You can only create the conditions for Meditation. Meditation happens on its own.