Chakras, What Are They and How To Use Them.

June 4, 2018 in Articles

What are Chakras? Most people have heard of the “7 Chakras,” but what are they really?

In essence, the chakras are dynamic energy centers within the body that influence the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Each chakra has its own characteristic, name, and color, and governs different areas of the body. 

The chakra points are located along the spine; starting at the tailbone and ending at the crown of the head. Although the chakras are rooted in the body, however, they actually extend outside of the physical body, composing the auric field. In order to better understand what the chakras are and how to use them, it’s smart to start at the root and work your way up. 

A Brief History of the Chakra System

The word “chakra” comes from Sanskrit, meaning “wheel,” and the first mention of the chakra system can be found in the Vedas (an ancient Indian text). However, many metaphysicians believe that the concept was around long before this. The chakras are often linked to yoga in ancient descriptions, as the benefit and purpose of the practice help to strengthen the chakra system, and vice versa. Moving from the Vedas into yogic philosophy, the chakras have been well-documented and explored. However, oral tales and traditions are also responsible for keeping the knowledge alive. 

Interestingly enough, the chakra system is also historically connected to Tantric practices, which are largely misunderstood in Western culture. Tantra means “loom,” which suggests that Tantric philosophy supports the chakras by deepening the exploration of polarity, the above and the below, and the balance of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. 

Chakra studies were introduced to the Western world by Sir John George Woodroffe, also known by his pen name, Arthur Avalon, who authored the book The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga in 1919. Two decades later, former priest C.W. Leadbeater wrote The Chakras, which offers a clairvoyant take on the chakra system via detailed descriptions and colorful illustrations. 

Interest in the chakras swelled in the 1960s, during the “hippie” revolution, quickly picking up speed and forming the basis of the “New Age” movement. In modern times, chakra has practically become a household word. While not many are aware of the full system and how it works, there’s at least a base understanding and an open-minded interest in learning more about these dynamic centers of life.

Chakra One: ROOT

The Root Chakra is where our journey through the chakra system begins. This is our center of survival, security, and primal needs.

  • Location: Base of the spine
  • Color: Red
  • Element: Earth
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Feet, legs, bowels
  • Theme: To “be”
  • Balancing chakra: Crown (located at the head)

When a chakra is blocked or closed, the energy within it is slow or stagnant, affecting the body parts and organs that it’s connected to. On the flip side, when a chakra has “too much” energy, it can absorb the energy from surrounding chakras, as well as overwhelm the entire energy system. The idea is perfect balance and harmonybetween chakras.

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Root Chakra:

  • IBS and other digestive issues
  • Weak ankles/knees
  • Feeling ungrounded
  • Financial problems
  • Concerns about personal safety
  • Irrational fears
  • Greed and possessiveness
  • Nervousness

Consider the sensations that arise in the body when we’re thrust into fearful situations, such as a reaction to fire, snakes, spiders, or even a near-death experience. We’re often intensely focused on our physical safety, becoming instinctive and animal-like in what we perceive to be a life-or-death situation. Our Root Chakra is our connection to our primitive, needs-based side, where the main concern is safety and survival.

Although many of us enjoy a life that meets our basic needs (like food, clothes, and shelter), we can easily succumb to a fear state when the Root Chakra isn’t functioning properly. To keep the Root open and flowing, there are many activities that you can practice that can help you form a deeper connection to your body and the earth.

Steps to Unblock Your Root Chakra:

  • Grounding: An easy way to ground is to kick off your shoes and simply allow your feet to touch the earth. Take a few moments each day to sit on the earth, as well, allowing this chakra point to touch the earth.
  • Aromatherapy: Woodsy, earthy essential oils and scents can help balance the root. Try pine, oak, juniper, and cedarwood to offer your root stability and security.
  • Veggies: Root vegetables are great for this chakra of the same name. Anything that’s grown in rich, dark soil can help nourish your first chakra.

Chakra Two: SACRAL

Moving up to the second chakra of the 7 chakras system, we come to the Sacral Chakra. This is where our deepest emotions and sensations are held and expressed, as well as the balance of light and dark, yin and yang, and our creative potential.

  • Location: Underneath the navel, within the lower abdomen
  • Color: Orange
  • Element: Water
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Reproductive system, kidneys, bladder, hips, lower back
  • Theme: To “feel”
  • Balancing chakra: Throat

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Sacral Chakra:

  • Addiction
  • Emotional imbalance
  • Bladder issues
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Sexual confusion or shame

The key is to allow our emotions, pleasures, and creativity to flow unencumbered, but maintain equilibrium.When we’re overcome by desires and emotions, we can easily get thrown off kilter. Practices that encourage honest, healthy expression and deep emotional connection can help strengthen the Sacral Chakra.

Steps to Unblock Your Sacral Chakra:

  • Baths: This practice not only allows you to surrender to the senses, it encourages you to literally “go with the flow.” If you’re able to bathe in fresh, moving water (such as a river or the ocean), even better!
  • Artistic expression: Paint, garden, cook – anything that allows you to create.
  • Sweets: Naturally-sweet foods, such as carrots, papaya, and mangos are great for the sacral chakra (especially when consumed in liquid form).

Chakra Three: SOLAR

The Solar Plexus is the next stop on our journey up the chakra points. This is where our inner fire stirs, igniting self-confidence and willpower.

  • Location: Above the navel, within the upper abdomen
  • Color: Yellow
  • Element: Fire
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Stomach, spleen, gallbladder, liver, pancreas
  • Theme: To “do”
  • Balancing chakra: Third Eye

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Solar Plexus Chakra:

  • Indigestion
  • Weight issues
  • Fatigue
  • Insecurity
  • Lack of self-esteem (or overabundance of it)
  • Weak will
  • Control issues
  • Excessive anger

Overly-confident people are often characterized by a protruding midsection, proudly strutting their stuff. On the flip side, people who don’t have much confidence are usually seen hunched over, as if in defeat or timidity. Make sure to aim for the perfect balance of the elements.

Steps to Unblock Your Solar Chakra:

  • Exercise: This chakra thrives on doing, moving, and action, so incorporating an exercise routine into your wellness practice is recommended.
  • Mantras: Creating empowering mantras or affirmations that you can chant throughout the day can help build your willpower and confidence. Some examples would be, “I can do this,” or “I embrace my fire.”
  • Willpower: Make a list of goals and stick to it. Checking off tasks or accomplishments helps us with accountability, further enhancing self-confidence.

Chakra Four: HEART

This chakra is known as the Heart Chakra. It’s the area where we nurture and express our love and compassion.

  • Location: Center of the chest
  • Color: Green (can also be pink or gold)
  • Element: Air
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Heart, lungs, arms, circulatory system
  • Theme: To “love”
  • Balancing chakra: All of the chakra points balance the heart

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Heart Chakra:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Circulation problems
  • Heart disease
  • Tendency to hold grudges
  • Codependency
  • Loneliness
  • Self-sacrifice
  • Grief
  • Jealousy

Here in the middle of the 7 chakras lies the literal and metaphysical heart. When our lives are out of harmony, especially in giving and receiving love, the heart chakra may become affected. Quite often, when our hearts get hurt by betrayal, grief, or unrequited love, we close the heart off completely. While this may work as a temporary protective method, closing the heart interrupts the flow of the entire body.

The heart chakra thrives only on open, unconditional love. Thankfully, there are many ways to heal this chakra and use it to deepen your connections.

Steps to Unblock Your Heart Chakra:

  • Open your heart: Not only do we need to trust our hearts to others, we literally need to expand the chest. Deep-breathing exercises can help with this – expanding and invigorating the lungs and the heart.
  • Practice gratitude: Nothing is more inspiring than thankfulness when it comes to this chakra. When we take the time to express our appreciation for ourselves, our family, and the whole of humanity, we nurture our hearts while expressing pure, unconditional love and compassion.
  • Respecting boundaries: Be more mindful of the balance of give and take, and disengage from any relationships that are not equal in this regard. Try not to over-sacrifice or adopt a martyr mentality.

Chakra Five: THROAT

Moving higher, we come to the Throat Chakra. This is where we express ourselves and honour our personal truths.

  • Location: Throat
  • Color: Bright blue
  • Element: Ether
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Throat, neck, shoulders, mouth, jaw, thyroid
  • Theme: To “speak”
  • Balancing chakra: Sacral

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive throat chakra:

  • Jaw tightness
  • Throat discomfort
  • Shoulder pain
  • Thyroid disease
  • Excessive talking (or excessive silence)
  • Speaking issues
  • Pathological lying
  • Problems with communication

Offhanded comments such as “Be quiet,” or “You’re wrong” can unknowingly do a lot of damage to this delicate chakra point. Whenever someone shuts down our expression, we go even deeper into hiding.

The key is open communication that’s expressed in constructive, encouraging, and safe environments

Steps to Unblock Your Throat Chakra:

  • Chant: Find a healing, inspiring mantra or affirmation that you can repeat to open up the throat area. Simply encouraging purposeful movement and expression here can go a long way!
  • Sing: If anyone ever told you that you “can’t” sing, it’s imperative that you include this practice in your life. Whether you think you can or not, try it anyway. Don’t worry about how your voice sounds, but instead concentrate on the act of expressing without fear.
  • Journal: Writing is a very healing, introspective form of communication that can help you explore any emotions, memories, or wounds that are at the root of your expression issues.


Chakra Six: THIRD EYE

The sixth chakra, also known as the Third Eye Chakra, is where deep knowing and intuition dwells.

  • Location: The center of the forehead
  • Color: Indigo
  • Element: Light
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Eyes, ears, pituitary gland
  • Theme: To “see”
  • Balancing chakra: Solar Plexus

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Third Eye Chakra:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • Illusions or hallucinations
  • Denial of intuitive abilities

We’re all born with a “sixth sense” that helps us channel our inner knowing to feel out people and situations.When this area gets muddled, we can fall victim to confusion or disillusion, not knowing if our feelings are our ownTo embrace your inherent intuitive abilities, you will need to unblock your Third Eye Chakra:

Steps to Unblock Your Third Eye Chakra:

  • Meditation or hypnosis: The fastest way to connect with the third eye is to disengage from all outside senses and go within. Guided meditation, hypnosis sessions, and binaural beats can help you reach a state of stillness that encourages deeper introspection.
  • Chromatherapy: Incorporate more indigo hues into your daily life, including clothing, crystals, and furniture. Opting for an indigo eye mask and/or bed sheets can help you enhance your intuition while you sleep!
  • Trust: To nurture this chakra, you must trust it. When you get a “vibe” about someone or something that your logic can’t explain away, trust these impressions. Create a deep connection with your intuitive abilities and watch them blossom.

CHAKRA SEVEN

Finally, we reach the 7th chakra of the 7 chakra system! The Crown Chakra, where our connection to the spiritual realm, and the source of the divine is situated.

  • Location: Top of the head
  • Color: Violet/White
  • Element: No corresponding element
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Cerebral cortex, pineal gland
  • Theme: To “understand”
  • Balancing chakra: Root

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Crown Chakra:

  • Feelings of disconnect
  • Dogmatic attitude
  • Issues comprehending spiritual concepts
  • Fear of mysticism, the occult, spirituality
  • Denial of the existence of source/God

When our Crown Chakra is closed or depleted, we become disconnected from source itself; closing ourselves off from the the wisdom of our higher selves. It’s only when we can accept our connection to divine understanding that we can enjoy a more fulfilling, enlightening existence. To tap into the potential of the crown chakra, you can practice these steps.

Steps to Unblock Your Crown Chakra:

  • Chanting and exploring the “Ohm”: This mantra is soothing to the crown, and simply uttering it can help balance your other chakra points, too.
  • Transcendental meditation or Vedic meditation: This form of meditation is known to go much deeper than common meditation practices, “transcending” thoughts and the containment of the physical body. It often incorporates a mantra, as well, which further enhances the experience.

Once we deepen our knowledge of the 7 chakras and how to use them, we’re well on our way to optimum health and spiritual enlightenment. As always, balance is the key to fulfillment of the body, mind, and soul.

Let’s start the healing and unblocking of our Chakras with a Mindbliss meditation called Grounding and Alignment. This meditation is designed to stimulate and open the first chakra – the Root Chakra. This cleanses and aligns the vertebral column, purifying and grounding your roots into Earth. Achieving a symbiosis of your heartbeat with the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

GROUNDING & ALIGNMENT by Nancy Fuoco

If you enjoyed this meditation and would like to listen to the rest of Mindbliss Chakra meditations to heal and unblock Chakras 2 to 7, download the app by clicking HERE from your iPhone or Android.

At Mindbliss we have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations. We are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

What is the Pineal Gland’s Function and How to Amplify It.

June 4, 2018 in Articles

Did you know that you can develop intuition and improve your health at the same time?

Well, you can, through the pineal gland.

You may be asking, well, what is the pineal gland?

The pineal gland, also known as the pineal body, is a small pine cone shaped gland that lies deep inside the center of the brain in the epithalamus. It is a part of the endocrine system and helps to regulate melatonin, which is a chemical produced in the brain that helps the body sleep at night. The pineal gland function lies in governing the production of hormones as well as the maintenance of the circadian rhythm, which is essentially our sleep/wake cycle.

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Gratitude Meditation: Mastering the Art of Being Intentionally Thankful.

June 4, 2018 in Articles

What did you think about when you woke up this morning?

Did you lay in bed and begin to make an endless list of things you hoped to accomplish today? Did you hit the snooze button a few times to try to get some more sleep, only to be roused by a hungry pet? Maybe you got up the moment you woke and headed straight to the coffee maker, anxiously awaiting your brew as you hovered over the coffee maker in your pajamas. How ever you begin your day, have you ever considered starting with gratitude?

It may sound strange, but what if you began every day by meditating on things for which you are grateful? You could think about a cherished family member, friend or pet. You could even be grateful for an experience, be it positive or negative, and the impact it made on your life’s journey. Whatever gratitude is to you, meditating on what you value most has the power to change your life. 

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Our Top Tip for Getting Deep Restful Sleep

June 4, 2018 in Articles

Sleep disorders affect over 60 million Americans each year.

People try everything to get those precious and much needed hours of sleep from prescription pills, to melatonin supplements, to late night workouts. People even try to use reverse psychology to convince their minds that they don’t really want to go to sleep. This supposedly makes the brain rebel, and then fall asleep. Counting sheep, taking a shot of whiskey (although alcohol actually blocks the much needed REM sleep), or trying to watch a movie or TV show in the background, are all things people desperately try to get to sleep. Most scientists say that you shouldn’t eat after 7 PM, and that you shouldn’t use electronic devices before going to bed. This is because the blue light emitted from the computer or phone screen suppresses melatonin (Scary Ways Technology Affects Your Sleep, n.d.).

The brain functions using five different brainwaves which serve different arenas of our lives. These include gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta.

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What You Need To Know About Vedic Meditation

June 4, 2018 in Articles

Jaimee Gallagher, aged 24, is a college athlete and a student working towards a degree in biology. Because she needs extra money for food and rent, Jaimee also works at a local breakfast restaurant. Jamie rarely has time for relaxation, let alone indulging in activities such as going out to the movies or out dancing. Recently Jamie’s favorite grandfather became ill, and she’s been trying to squeeze in time to spend with him, and to help take care of him. To say it lightly, Jaimee is stressed, and doesn’t have time to practice meditations or relaxation techniques that are time-consuming or difficult.

During track practice one day she heard her coach telling another student about Vedic meditation. The student was also enduring an intense amount of stress. Jaimee joined the conversation and learned that Vedic meditation can be practiced as much or as little as one wants, but it is like a super-charged version of meditation, because it uses a mantra or soothing sound to settle down the mind automatically. One doesn’t need to focus or use concentration, they merely have to say a mantra over and over again in their mind. This ability to keep the mind occupied basically skips a step in traditional forms of meditation that require that one empties the mind by sitting in complete silence. With Vedic meditation, the work is done for you, and you reap the benefits with as little as 20 to 40 minutes a day.

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24 Effective Meditation Techniques to Try Today

June 4, 2018 in Articles

Meditation is widely regarded as an effective means to empty your mind, gain clarity and relax. It’s an amazing tool that can be used by any person, at any time, regardless of their physical or emotional state. Sounds pretty versatile, right? It is. But, just like picking the perfect pair of jeans, one size does not fit all. There are a myriad of meditation types, each one offering a unique path to peace. But before we dive into the different types of meditation, it’s important to gain an understanding of what meditation is and how its practiced.

Meditation is a reflective, contemplative practice developed to help people reduce stress and foster clarity.When meditating, you typically find a quiet place where you can comfortably sit alone. For a pre-determined amount of time (usually starting with a minute or two), you choose to empty your mind and focus developing a sense of peace and calm. As you hone your practice, you can work up to meditating for longer periods of time. This is a very basic description that does not take meditation’s many variations into account.

Before selecting a type of meditation that will work for you, take a personal inventory of where you are and where you want your meditation to take you. Are you hurting? Are you happy? Is there something missing in your life? There is a meditation available for every need, you simply need to identify it. The following details 25 different types of meditation. Take stock of your head and your heart, read this article and select the meditation that’s right for you.

1. Vedic Meditation

Vedic meditation is one of the oldest meditations with its origins coming from ancient India. This type of meditation is a mantra-based meditation where you repeat a particular phrase that has been chosen for you by your teacher. It is not associated with any religion, but rather with the Vedic philosophical system which helped birth mathematics, yoga, and more. The mantras have specific qualities that calm the nervous system and the brain to relax from daily life and increase the path toward spiritual living. It is performed in a seated position, and the length of time varies depending on the mantra.

2. Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude meditation is a type of meditation that focuses on the feeling and expression of gratitude for your life and everything in it. Gratitude meditation can be practiced informally at any time during your day; it is not something you have to sit down, sit, and practice. Rather, it can be done immediately upon waking in your bed or even done over your next meal. Giving thanks for what you have and the things in your life, both good and bad, challenging and happy, enable the practitioner to grow through times of change and understand life from a greater perspective. To practice this technique, think of what you are grateful for and allow yourself to sit with what that feels like.

3. Daily Meditation

Daily meditation is the act of meditating on an everyday basis. When something is practiced every day, it becomes a habit. Meditation on a daily basis is a positively reinforcing habit because it helps to reduce stress, cultivate mindfulness, cope with change, and enhance the overall quality of life. It is said that meditating every day, even for only 5 minutes, is better than meditating for 30 minutes once a week. It is helpful to do it at the same time every day.

4. Sleep Meditation

Drifting off to sleep may be a sweet dream for some while for others it may be a restless night of tossing and turning. Sleep meditation is an all-natural antidote for insomnia and sleep deprivation that leaves practitioners feeling refreshed, energized, and reinvigorated to start the day with a clear head. Meditation for sleep calms the mind by allowing it to focus on the present moment through breath and body awareness. It can be performed in bed or as a practice before sleeping. The reason for this is because meditation increases the brain waves which induce sleep such alpha, theta, and delta and decrease beta waves, which can cause insomnia.

5. Morning Affirmations

Using affirmations in the morning upon waking is a way to set your mindset for the day. Using positive affirmations is a meditation tool to train your brain to be at its very best from the moment you wake up. They are a great way to prepare your mind for meditation by letting go of worry, promoting tranquility, and bringing the mind into the present moment. It is beneficial to use one or two as an anchor point at the beginning or end of a meditation through which you can focus your mind on. It is important that you use positive, present-tense affirmations when using this technique. An example would be “I am free from stress today”.

6. Merkaba Meditation

The word Merkaba has Egyptian roots and is an energy body meditation technique. Mer means “a light that rotates”, ka means “spirit”, while ba means “physical body”. This merkaba meditation technique activates this particular energetic shape around your body to accelerate consciousness and enlightenment. It is performed through particular breathing techniques with 18 steps. The shape of the merkaba is are 2 intersecting 3-dimensional triangles with one pointing downward one pointing up. The meditation helps rotate this merkaba energy field around your body to assist in the ascension process.

7. Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-Kindness Meditation, also called Metta Meditation, is a Buddhist form of meditation that involves cultivating and sending the feeling of loving-kindness toward yourself and others in your life. First, you must cultivate loving-kindness toward yourself, then toward someone you respect (such as a teacher), someone you love highly (such as a family member), someone neutral (such as the grocery store clerk), and someone you feel disregard toward (which may be the most difficult). You can cultivate the feeling of loving-kindness through visualization or reflection of the feeling itself. This meditation helps cultivates an attitude of serenity and care through any situation, especially in the face of challenge.

8. Zazen Meditation

Zazen meditation is the core meditation practice of Zen Buddhism. It helps cultivate a sense of inner and outer peace. It is practiced in a seated position, often on a cushion called a zafu, however, a variety of positions can be used to accommodate anyone. The spine is long with the hips relaxed. The gaze lowers to a 45-degree angle and the eyes stay open. The hands form a mudra in the lap with the left hand on top of the right, palms upward and the thumbs touching. Then the focus turns to the breath, in order to still the mind. It is best not to force it, rather to just let it happen.

9. Guided Meditation

A guided meditation is performed under the guidance of a teacher or alongside a recording. This technique is very useful when learning how to meditate. It helps keep the mind on track and free from distraction if one is not disciplined to the act of meditating yet. The meditation can be any style, but the important aspect of this one is that you let go of some of your control and surrender to whatever you are being told to do. It requires a deep sense of listening in order to get the full benefit and build a disciplined meditation practice.

10. Visualization Meditation

Visualization meditation, also called Guided Visualization, is a type of meditation that uses the imagination to paint a picture inside the mind’s eye. It is not an object-focused meditation but is rather a subjective experience for the practitioner. It is often used as a tool to create positive change in one’s life. One is often guided through an experience, such as walking into the forest to promote relaxation or perhaps even visualizing success in a relationship or career move as a way to accomplish goals.

11. Letting Go Meditation

A letting go meditation is one that is used to release excess emotional baggage. This type of meditation is helpful in order to create space for new energy to grow. It is useful to help release old emotions or attachments to people, relationships, jobs, ideas, or things which may be preventing the development of ourselves. When you are able to let go, you can plant new seeds to start anew. It is often performed through visualization and breathing. For example, you can inhale white light and exhale toxic black smoke as a way to release negative thoughts. Or you can visualize yourself moving towards a goal after releasing an old habit and see what that all plays out to be inside your mind.

12. Third Eye Meditation

The third eye meditation is a gazing meditation focused on the third eye area. The third eye is located in the space between the eyebrows and is associated with the pineal gland. According to yoga philosophy, the third eye is the seat of intuition and wisdom. It is a spiritual center of peaceful inner knowing. To perform this meditation, you can first warm up the eyes by gazing right with both eyes for 1 minute and then to the left for 1 minute. Then follow the nose tip down to a single point on the floor and hold there for 1 minute without blinking. Then, you will perform shambhavi mudra, which is gazing at the third eye. This is done by turning the eyes upwards and slightly inwards to gaze at the space between the brows without blinking. Start with 3-5 minutes and work your way up from there.

13. Chakra Meditation

A Chakra is a spinning wheel-like vortex of energy. There are seven Chakras in the human energy body located along the spine which all relate to different qualities of being. They each have associated colors and mantras, among other things. A Chakra Meditation will help to balance aspects of energy in the body, from stability (root), creativity (sacral), willpower (solar plexus), love (heart), communication (throat), intuition (third eye), and bliss (crown). The meditation can be performed by visualizing the color associated with each chakra at the location (colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and white), reciting the mantras, and even visualizing the chakra spinning.

14. Walking Meditation

A walking meditation is exactly what it sounds like… a walking meditation! It stems from the Buddhist mindfulness tradition of paying attention to what is occurring in the present moment, which in this case would be the act of walking. This meditation is calming and stress-relieving. It is recommended to practice this at least once a week for 10 minutes to see results. To practice walking meditation, it is best to find a nice spot outdoors (which also helps you connect with nature). Begin walking slowly in one direction and notice the following about each step: how your foot connects to the ground, how it lifts off, which parts of your feet you feel more than others, how shifting your weight feels in the body, and what the ground under your feet feels like. When the mind wanders, bring it back to sensing each step slowly one-by-one. This technique helps one to slow down during daily life.

15. Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana is a Buddhist meditation technique that means “to see things as they really are”. It is done through purification of thoughts by self-observation of the breath and body. The Vipassana theory believes when one is freed from the suffering of the mind and body, true joy can arise as a harmonious experience of life instead. It is traditionally taught on 10-day silent meditation retreats, which are donation-based, at centers around the world.

The meditation technique itself is sectarian and can be practiced by anyone. A series of moral agreements are made by the practitioner upon starting the practice, which prevents harm to be done. The first three days focus on the breath, which helps control the mind. Then the practice of Vipassana is taught, which permeates the entire mind with clarity and insight to let of toxic and negative thoughts and patterns. The technique itself provides a way for the mind to categorize the small and subtle experiences of simply sitting, breathing, sounds in the environment, etc. On the 10th day, the silence is broken and the practitioner can ease back into normal life with greater insight and peace.

16. Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation originated from traditional Buddhist meditation practices as a Western interpretation. It is also frequently called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which was popularized by John Kabat-Zinn in the West. This style of meditation is performed by focusing on the present moment. This can be done through certain indicators such as the breath or the body to hold the focus of the mind. When thoughts or feelings arise, the mind is invited to go back to the object of focus without judgment. Ultimately, the mind will get distracted at some point; it is a practice in letting go of how that distraction feels.

17. Tonglen Meditation

Tonglen Meditation is from the Buddhist tradition. It is also called the “taking and sending” meditation. It is a practice to develop compassion. This technique is a breathing meditation. On an inhalation, you inhale someone else’s pain and suffering and as you exhale, you send them comfort and ease in order to relieve them of their suffering. This style of meditation reverses the way we think about pain, which is usually avoiding it and forces the practitioner to face it without fear. It can help break old patterns and develop self-love and love for others in our lives.

18. Japa Meditation

Japa Meditation is Hindu in origin and is a mantra-style of meditation. It is performed by repeating a specific mantra 108 times, which is a multiple of 9. This number is auspicious in Hindu philosophy and astronomists say the diameter of the sun is 108 times that of the Earth and the distance between our planet and the sun is also 108 times the diameter of the sun. Japa is typically performed with mala beads, which are strands of 108 beads counted on one hand with the middle finger, bringing the beads toward you. This helps the practitioner ensure they do the correct amount, which can be any multiple of 9 (so more than 108 times is okay). A popular mantra is “lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu” which means “may all being everywhere be free and at peace”.

19. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation, also known as TM, originated from India and was spread throughout the world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi starting in 1955. The practice and the guru were popularized by international pop stars such as The Beatles. It is a mantra-based meditation practiced from 15-20 minutes per day seated with the eyes closed. It has to be learned at a TM center under the guidance of a teacher.

20. Trataka (Gazing Meditation)

Trataka is another meditation technique that arose from India and is used in the yoga tradition. Also called “blinkless gazing”, it is practiced by staring at an object without blinking for several minutes. Traditionally a candle is used but it can also be performed with the moon, images of gurus or deities, or a dot on the wall. It is a practice to awaken the third eye. One must remove contacts or glasses and stare without blinking for 1-3 minutes. Then close the eyes and observe the afterimage in the mind’s eye without trying to control it. Over time, the practitioner can build up to longer periods of gazing.

21. Kundalini Meditation

Kundalini Meditation also arises from the yoga tradition of India. According to yoga philosophy, kundalini is the energy of spiritual awakening that travels from the base of your spine and up through the crown of your head through the central energy highway called the Sushumna. It is often likened to a coiled serpent resting at the base of the spine that uncoils upward once awakened from its slumber. There are various types of kundalini meditation practices that can awaken this energy through mantra, breathing techniques, and even movement itself. The practice is also associated with what is called “kriyas” in yoga, which are essentially internal cleansing techniques using mantras, the breath, and mudras (hand positions). One such kriya, called Sat Kriya, from the kundalini tradition, is performed by chanting the word “sat” on the inhale and the word “nam” on the exhale, which means “truth”.

22. Sound Healing Meditation

The use of instruments in meditation has a long history and sound healing meditation continues that tradition. Various types of instruments are used like flutes, drums, singing bowls and indigenous instruments like the didgeridoo from the aborigines of Australia. Sound healing meditation can help relieve depression, anxiety, and stress as it is very calming for the mind and nervous system. It helps shift the brain into the delta stage, which is the stage of deep sleep. They are often performed in group settings over the course of an hour in a circle with the facilitator playing the instrument personally for each individual for the desired and relaxing results.

23. Emptiness Meditation

Emptiness meditation is a Taoist meditation that seeks to find the quiet space inside. It is performed by attempting to empty the mind and body thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It is a natural way to just let anything that occurs to happen and simply surrender it away without attachment. It teaches the practitioner to not engage with what is unnecessary and become an empty vessel instead through which creation can be reinvigorated and move freely.

24. Christian Meditation

As opposed to Eastern meditation traditions that seek a more enlightened mind, Christian meditation uses contemplation and prayer to build an understanding with their sacred text The Bible as well as a relationship with God/Jesus Christ. Additionally, it is used as a way to wash away sins and ask for forgiveness. The types of meditation performed in this way can be through the recitation of quotes from The Bible or simply sitting with the presence of God through the focus of the mind, body, and heart on what their perception of God is according to their belief system.

Enjoy 300+ Meditations on our Mindbliss App

We hope that this article helps you find a meditation type that resonates most with you. If you’d like to dive further into your wellbeing and personal growth, download our Mindbliss Meditation App HERE from your iPhone/Android. We have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations and are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

Daily Meditation: 8 Tips to Keep You Motivated & on Track

June 4, 2018 in Articles

In any given day, you may go to work, get groceries, pick up your kids from school, make dinner, sweep the floor, fold laundry and more. And that’s just a weekday! Sound familiar? Chances are, you’ve done all those things, if not more, in the last 48 hours. Have you done anything for you? Life is as complex as ever and allows little, if any time for self-care and daily meditation.

The world has set high expectations for what you should be able to accomplish in a day and the pace is grueling. The demands of modern life often prevent us from taking proper care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, this includes seeking solace in meditation.

What did you do yesterday? Did you take time to meditate? If the answer’s no, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to set aside a few moments to quiet their mind and unwind from the rigor of the day. Daily meditation is a proven method to decrease stress and increase clarity, but there are so many things to distract you from getting on a schedule.

The thought of starting a daily meditation routine may be daunting. Where do you start? How do you choose a practice that will work for you? All though questions, and more are addressed here as we discuss 8 ways you can buck the busyness and get motivated to meditate today.

1. Recognize the Benefits – How Will Meditation Help?

The benefits of meditation are well-documented. According to the American Meditation Society, 30 years of clinical studies on meditation have consistently demonstrated that it:

  • Normalizes blood pressure
  • Improves immune function
  • Slows aging
  • Reduces anxiety and improves stress-related disorders
  • Increases relaxation throughout the day
  • Decreases insomnia
  • Improves psychological health and self-esteem
  • Lowers incidence of depression, anger and irritability
  • Improves concentration
  • Increases positive thinking
  • Enhances creativity
  • Facilitates psychological development (http://americanmeditationsociety.org/meditation/benefits/)

Many people pursue daily meditation to reduce stress. Stress can be a terrible distraction in life, but its side-effects are far more destructive than what many people realize. Stress increases the level of cortisol, a hormone, on our bodies. Excessive amounts of cortisol can wreak all kinds of havoc, including sleep disruption, increased anxiety, depression, increased blood pressure and decreased cognitive speed. Countless medical studies have demonstrated that daily meditation reduces stress and therefore, reduces cortisol levels.

In addition to reducing stress, meditation has the power to alter our physiological makeup. In 2008, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine studied adults with high blood pressure. Of the 60 participants, 40 were able to stop taking their blood pressure medication after establishing a daily meditation routine. When these participants were meditating, they could more easily relax. The feeling of relaxation increases the body’s production of a compound called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open, allowing blood pressure to drop (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/19/meditation-benefits_n_5842870.html).

Getting on a daily meditation schedule will also improve your self esteem and awareness. When you take time to quiet your mind, you can get to know who you are on an intimate level, fostering an appreciation for yourself that is otherwise difficult to achieve. It gives you an opportunity to fully examine who you are, which is so important when engaged in self-care.

A recent study examined the self-esteem levels of 21 women who were fighting breast cancer. It showed that those women who participated in a tai chi program has much higher self-esteem than their peers who had attended a social support group (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8129703). This is interesting, because even though these women were facing a life-threatening illness, a regular meditation practice was still able to break through the barriers of self-doubt and increase their self-love.

The benefits mentioned are proven and tangible. But what about you? How will daily meditation benefit you? If you are unsure, think about the way you feel during and after meditation. Many people describe feelings of euphoria, clarity and focus during and after a successful meditation. Allow those good feelings, whatever they may be for you, to motivate you to stay the course and pursue meditation daily.

2. Consider Your Goals – What Do You Want to Accomplish?

What are you trying to do? Do you want to let go of a hurt? Are you trying to forgive someone? Do you want to become a better version of yourself? Maybe a combination of all four? There’s no wrong answer here, but you must consider what you want to know to determine how you will get there.

Your goal could be as broad as gaining enlightenment or as specific as wanting to show a certain person love. Take stock of your head and your heart to identify the areas that need some work. Without taking a personal inventory, it is difficult to determine your goals and how you will reach them. If you can’t pinpoint an area in your life that needs work, consider cultivating a greater sense of gratitude or grace – two things that you can never have too much of!

Meditation, when done properly, is powerful. It is strong enough to heal even the most hardened of hearts. Trust yourself and your practice to guide you down the right path to reach your goals.

3. Find the Right Practice – How Will You Reach Your Goal?

There are many, many types of meditation. And that’s a good thing, because one size does not fit all. In fact, ancient Buddhist tradition refers to meditation in the same way we refer to sports, as a group of activities, not a single activity itself.

Before diving into the myriad of meditation, look inside. Consider your character, where you are in life and your personal goals. Also think about what you want to get out of your meditation. These factors should be the guiding force behind choosing any type of meditation practice.

There are so many types of meditation to consider, they would be too numerous to detail here. However, if you are interested in learning more about different types of meditation, check out this article.

To get you started, here are 3 main types of meditation to consider:

i. Focused Attention

In this practice, you focus on a single object. It could be anything from a spot on the wall to a stripe in the rug. Some people choose to internalize an image, like a candle, or an intention or saying. Focused attention takes just that, focus, and may not be well-suited for someone who leads a busy life and struggles with stress. It is an effective strategy to enhance or develop characteristics, like generosity or compassion. 

ii. Open Monitoring

The goal of this practice is to detach from your thoughts to objectively identify thought patterns and emotions. It is achieved through awareness of breath and passing thoughts. Open monitoring has been correlated to positive psychological and physiological outcomes, as well as aiding in reaching worldly goals, like a promotion at work.

iii. Automatic Self-Transcending

This one requires no concentration, just the repetition of a simple mantra. It could be as simple as, “I am free.” It is a soothing, rejuvenating practice that takes very little effort to do well. Many people who struggle with addictions and compulsions have success with this practice. It helps them retrain their brains and accept their new identity as a person free from those types of problems. It has also been shown to cause high levels of brain wave synchronicitywhich has been proven to relieve anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia and migraines (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12793/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-a-neuroscientist-explains.html).

4. Define your Space – Where Will You Practice?

Find a place to meditate. Your meditation place can be anywhere you choose, just as long as it is comfortable and free of distractions. It’s important to meditate in the same environment every day; it trains your brain to develop patterns and allows you to reach a meditative state faster.

If you have a spare room to use as a meditation room, great! If not, find a place in your home that makes you happy. It may be a guest bedroom, on your patio or in your sunroom, or perhaps next to a treasured piece of furniture or in your garden. Where ever you choose, make sure it’s a place where you can easily relax.

A word of caution: avoid transient places like cars or public spaces. Your car or a neighborhood park may be comfortable to you, but there are too many variables outside of your control. When you are in a space that you aren’t in full control of, distractions can (and will) easily arise.

5. Schedule the time – When Will You Practice?

If it’s not important enough to put on your schedule, then it’s not important enough for you to do, plain and simple. Get in the habit of considering your day, it may be the week before, the night before or the morning of, whatever works for you. Figure out when you will have spare time to practice and actually add it to your calendar.

Don’t get hung up on trying to find the same exact time to meditate every day. In fact, most people’s schedules simply do not allow them to practice at the same time daily. Each day is different, the important thing is that you look at what you have going on and choose a time that makes sense for you.

6. Do the Work – How Will You Practice?

Productive meditation doesn’t happen overnight. Once you’ve determined what practice will work best for you, set realistic expectation and follow through on your practice every day. For many, these expectations center around the amount of time spent truly meditating. Start small, with just a minute, and work yourself up at a reasonable pace.

It’s called a practice for a reason – you must practice. 

7. Drop the Judgements – Just Be

Meditation isn’t easy. For many, not achieving the goals they set for their practice is a disappointment. It’s easy to turn that disappointment into judgement. Don’t fall into that trap. Accept yourself and your practice right where you are and trust that the practice will come (with practice).

If you struggle to stay connected, every time your mind wanders, give a smile. This serves as a gentle reminder that you owe yourself grace and should not give up on your practice. You may also want to meditate on the mantra, “just be.” It reminds us that we should just be where we are, accepting of ourselves without reservation.

Everyone who meditates struggles with focus; the fact that our minds wander is one of the many things that make humans great! Don’t punish yourself with judgement if your practice isn’t perfect. Remember, we do not meditate to become better at meditation, rather, we meditate to become the best version of ourselves.

8. Find the Best Version of You – Be Your Best Self

Sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want to be the best version of themselves? Daily meditation practice can take you there.

The benefits of meditation are well-known, but what it will do you and the people you love is another matter entirely. Consider what additional grace, understanding and clarity could do for you. Think about how it would impact the relationships with the people you love. Do you think you’d be a better wife and lover? A better mother and daughter? A better friend?

Daily Meditation enables you to fully examine yourself, from the inside out. Proper self-reflection inevitably leads to life change, allowing you to become the best possible version of you. When you are your best self, you give a gift to everyone around you. You are fulfilled and able to lavish love on others, a true feat in today’s impersonal world. If you are willing to do the work, daily meditation makes it possible.

When you think about the laundry list of things you need to accomplish in a day, adding meditation to your schedule make seem impossible. It’s not. Considering the benefits, and the simple steps you can take to do it well, it can easily become a top priority.

Are you tired? Meditate. Was your last shower three days ago? Meditate. Have you been working 12-hour days? Meditate. It won’t make your problems go away, but it will elevate your ability to cope and enhance your character.

Meditation isn’t easy, but life isn’t, either. You deserve this. You need this. Think about what you need (what you reallyneed) and make it happen through meditation. Set your goals, stay the course and see your life transformed by meditation.

If you’d like to dive further into your wellbeing and personal growth, download our Mindbliss Meditation App HERE from your iPhone/Android. We have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations and are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.