the benefits behind meditating and the meditation practices you can integrate into your daily life

Practised for thousands of years and deeply rooted in ancient history, particularly within Buddhist and Hindu religions, meditation is a mindful, centring practice. It originates from the Latin word meditatum, which means ‘to ponder’, a meaning that perfectly sums up this thought-provoking practice. 

By opening your mind and being intentional with your thoughts through meditation, you can help shift your perspective, welcoming positivity and a sense of calm into your daily life. “Meditation is like breathing, eating, sleeping — an essential part of every day,” says endota Retreat guide and qualified sound healer, Phoebe Dubar. Phoebe practises vedic meditation twice daily, one of the many meditative practices we’ll touch on here.

Whether you’re curious and looking to integrate meditative practices into your rituals, or you are wanting to further enrich your existing meditations, read on to see how these practices can relate to your day-to-day life.

What are the benefits of meditating?

By becoming more consciously aware of your breath and freeing yourself of intrusive thoughts, you can reap many positive benefits from meditation. “It can be an effective tool to find inner peace and promote physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing,” says endota Retreat guide and Somatic Movement and Meditation teacher, Martina Healey. 

Some of the benefits you may notice after meditating include:

  • Improved sleep quality
  • Lowered cortisol levels (the prominent stress hormone)
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved positivity levels and thoughts
  • Increased emotional control
  • Enhanced energy and productivity levels
  • Improved focus and clarity
  • Feelings of relaxation and calm.

While some of these benefits may be immediately noticeable, others may take longer to develop through repeated practices over a period of time. 

Find your practice

With an array of meditation practices and techniques available, there is sure to be one that best resonates with you, your life and any goals you may be wanting to achieve. Some are quiet while others involve a guiding voice, some rely on an upright posture, others movement or simply lying still. Some of the most well-known or practised meditations include:

Guided meditation

This type of meditation is led by an instructor who guides you through the process, usually led via audio or video. It’s the most common type of meditation and particularly useful for those who are just starting out or may need extra guidance on their journey, especially for visualisation purposes.

Mantra meditation

During this meditation you find a phrase or word to focus on and repeat throughout the practice. Mantras are useful for improving concentration and shifting your frame of mind. Mantras can be repeated in your head or out loud, whatever you find most comfortable and beneficial. A variation of this is the vedic meditation style, which is performed twice daily for 20 minutes each (usually morning and night).

Breathwork meditation

Changing your breathing pattern is a form of active meditation, where you control your body’s response to encourage a change in your mood or frame of mind. Whether taking slow, deep breaths or quicker, shallow breaths, the focus and change in pace can help to ground, calm, uplift and energise you overall.

Moving meditation

Particularly useful for those whose attention span is shorter or less suited to a seated or lying down meditation, a moving meditation is exactly that — meditating while moving. Whether this is while stretching, walking or performing another wellness practice, such as Qigong or yoga, these gentle movements provide stimulation to your senses and better align your focus while listening to or repeating meditative phrases.

Sound healing meditation

Phoebe mentions sound healing’s ability to work with brainwave entrainment, meaning your brain waves move in sync with the sound and sound frequencies. “Sound healing allows us to drop into the parasympathetic nervous system and, once you drop into that state, the frequencies created by the sound healer's instruments are able to nourish and help release stuck emotions.” During a sound healing, instruments are played to create various sounds, which have an emotive response on your body.

Chakra meditation

Balancing and unblocking either all seven or some of your chakras is done through this meditation practice, usually through visualisation. Picturing your body with an internal channel that needs to be cleared will help aid your mind when practising this type of meditation. You can learn more about the chakras here if you are deciding whether this practice is the right one for you.

While this is just a guide to some meditation styles, there are many more that you may choose to try or combine with one another.

How to get the most out of your next meditation

Now that you have an understanding of the benefits and types of meditation, you can learn to maximise the time you take out for yourself. The beauty of meditating is that there is no time requirement and more often than not, no objects needed. Meaning you can meditate anytime, anywhere — whenever you need to clear your mind. 

You may find a 5 minute meditation is all you need or you may like to extend this out to 40 minutes. It’s really personal preference. Timing can also come down to your ability to focus and connect. If you find you can’t sit still for extended periods of time, a shorter meditation or series of meditations with breaks in between may be better suited to you.

The same goes for time of day. If you prefer starting your daily rituals with a morning meditation and having a clear mind for your day ahead, finding time to meditate during your morning is probably more suitable. Whereas if you’re wanting a meditation for sleep and to relax your mind before drifting off, meditating as you unwind at night will help ease you into your slumber.

At the end of the day, finding what works best for you, including your rituals, routine and goals, will have you feeling an increased sense of mindfulness and deliver a better response. Whether you prefer sitting, standing, lying down or moving, a guided or silent meditation, a great place to  discover your own meditating preference is by trying an endota Retreat class