A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Focus on Breathing

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Meditation is a technique that is learned through the mind, through the breath, through visualizations using the mind’s imaginary eye. This is how SuReceta’s founder Dr. Joseph Mosquera defines meditation practice, and he adds that this inner reflection helps you relax, focus and feel your body, no matter where you are.

“It is excellent for the mind-body relationship,” says Dr. Mosquera.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), there are several kinds of meditation that generally have their origins in ancient religions and spiritual traditions.

The two most common kinds are transcendental meditation and mindfulness meditation.

Transcendental meditation is derived from Hinduism and its objective is to reach a state of relaxed consciousness, according to the NCCIH.

Mindfulness meditation is an essential component of Buddhism, and it teaches concentration on the breath.

The NCCIH says that those who practice it learn to focus on what they’re feeling without reacting or judging, and to balance the thoughts and emotions in their everyday lives.

Benefits of meditation practice

Elizabeth Campos started meditating practice over 6 years ago, and this is how she describes this discipline:

“Meditation is the time you set aside for reflection and contemplating ideas… The little voice we have inside; it allows that sea of ideas to fall into order.”

Campos, editor of a leading program at the ABC network in New York, started meditating after she went through a disappointing experience. She felt bitter, negative and weary, but she says everything started to improve after she started meditating.

“The benefits were energy in the physical plane, tranquility, happiness, something like smiling at life.”

Vivian Pazos, a doctor in psychology and certified instructor of Kundalini Yoga, explains that people of all ages can get all the positive things meditation has to offer, “it has even been shown that if the mother meditates during her pregnancy, both she and the baby gestating inside her benefit.”

According to Dr. Pazos, both can achieve a state of peace and communication that is mutually beneficial; also, during delivery the mother can apply breathing techniques that will help her manage the critical moments better.

This is what Elizabeth experienced when she meditated during her pregnancy. “I would send positive energy to the baby I was carrying in my womb,” she says.

What science says about meditation

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that there is enough scientific evidence to demonstrate the positive effects of meditation on lowering blood pressure as well as on the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

The Center affirms that other benefits of meditation include helping to reduce anxiety, depression, pain, and dealing with insomnia, as well as reducing the duration and severity of acute respiratory diseases such as influenza.

How do I learn to meditate?

Doctor Mosquera explains that a simple method for practicing meditation is to spend a few moments each day listening to your breath.

“You can do a visualization, bring the mind to a favorite place, perhaps a beach, or the room you grew up in with the toys you liked having around the most. Basically you visualize because you place your attention on the breath going back to that place where you felt comfortable, safe, and happy. Once you visualize that very personal place, you will continue to pay attention to your breath from three to five minutes, that is meditation,” observes Dr. Mosquera.

And Dr. Pazos concludes: “It is a discipline of the mind, it isn’t something you learn in just one day. Meditation brings a sense of peace, well being, harmony, and that is created through time, practice and dedication.”

What you must keep in mind about a meditation practice

Below are some recommendations from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health about things you should consider before starting any meditation practice.

1.- Meditation should not be used to replace medical attention or postpone it when dealing with a health problem.

2.- Look for information about the instructor with whom you are planning to take the first steps into this discipline.

3.- Talk to your doctor about all the alternatives you are using to improve your health.

Practice is considered safe for individuals in good health, but those with physical limitations must take precautions when the practice of this discipline involves movement.

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