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Fitness for the 50+: Meditation

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Meditation is an ancient tradition, practiced in cultures all over the world to create a sense of calm and inner harmony. The practice of meditation is rooted in many different religious teachings, yet it is less about faith and more about altering consciousness, finding awareness, and achieving peace.

These days, living with a global pandemic and civil unrest, meditation is a valuable stress relieving coping tool that will help us maintain balance and clarity as we continue to move forward in these crazy times.

While there isn’t a right or wrong way to meditate, it’s important to find one that meets your needs and complements your personality. To help you get started, we have listed the six forms of meditation for you to explore and experiment.

How to Meditate

1) Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.

2) If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes.

3) You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.

4) Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.

5) Notice when your mind has wandered from the breathing. Simply return your attention to the breath.

6) Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.

7) When you’re ready, open your eyes. Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness Meditation

In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge the thoughts or become involved with them. You simply observe and take note of any patterns. This practice combines concentration with awareness. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings.

This type of meditation is good for people who don’t have a teacher to guide them, as it can be easily practiced alone.

Spiritual Meditation

Spiritual meditation is similar to prayer in that you reflect on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with your God or Universe. This practice is beneficial for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.

Essential oils are commonly used to heighten the spiritual experience. Popular options include:

  • frankincense
  • myrrh
  • sage
  • cedar
  • sandalwood
  • palo santo

Focused Meditation

Ideal for anyone seeking additional focus in their life, this practice involves concentration using any of the five senses. For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention such as counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle flame.

Movement Meditation

Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander. It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides you including walking through the woods, gardening, qigong, and other gentle forms of motion.

Mantra Meditation

This meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “Om.”

It doesn’t matter if your mantra is spoken out loud or in silence. After chanting for some time, you will be more alert and in tune with your environment. This allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is the most popular type of meditation around the world, and it’s the most scientifically studied. This practice is more customizable than mantra meditation, using a mantra or series of words that are specific to each practitioner and is for those who like structure and are serious about maintaining a meditation practice.



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