“To begin to meditate is to look into
our lives with interest in kindness
and discover how to be
wakeful and free.”
Benefits of meditation
Meditation may be used with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception, wellbeing and spiritual nourishment.
Many definitions emphasise the roles of attention and awareness,
classified for everything from reaching enlightenment to improving one's physical and mental health, to simply stilling and calming the mind.
Core Benefits of Meditation
Inner calm & stillness
Enhanced feeling of relaxation & inner peace
Healing and nourishing for the spirit
Sense of overall wellbeing
With the regular practice of short sessions:
Enhanced clarity and awareness
Focus and mental resilience
Increased compassion and kindness
More calm and peaceful state of mind
Less stress and tension
Enhanced presence, mindfulness and awareness
Elevating consciousness and spiritual realisation
A lot of research has and continues to be be done to define the health (psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular) and other beneficial effects of meditation. Here is a very useful synopsis and answers to common questions that come up for meditators by a world renowned yet down to earth sincere meditation master: https://tergar.org/meditation/meditation-faq/
Learn to meditate
and breathe well
Meditation and breathing techniques based on authentic wisdom traditions
We share these practices in our programmes, workshops and immersive retreats.
Currently these are only offered online as
part of our Nourishing Rest offerings.
Meditation, the mind and brain & neuroplasticity
Meditation itself is a secular practice and one does not have to be affiliated with any particular spiritual or religious tradition to gain from the vast benefits of meditation.
Meditation is a powerful tool used in many traditions but perhaps with its strongest influence and contemporary presence occurs in Asian traditions, particularly in buddhist traditions.
In contemporary science, meditation has become a powerful tool for understanding mind and its nature, function and capacity, yet some of the spiritual traditions, particularly from the East, explore the subtleties even further which goes beyond the scope calculated science.
Meditation and mind is a vast and inexhaustible topic and has fascinated seekers for millenia.
A number of studies have linked meditation to the neuroplasticity of the brain. One of the most well-known studies to demonstrate this was led by Sara Lazar, from Harvard University, in 2000. Research on meditation
Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, has led experiments in collaboration with the Dalai Lama on effects of meditation on the brain.
His results suggest that long-term or short-term practice of meditation can lead to different levels of activities in brain regions associated with effects such as attention, anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and compassion as well as the ability of the body to heal itself.
These functional changes may be caused by changes in the physical structure of the brain.
Main article: Research on meditation
This is an interesting study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944261/
is for becoming
Nourishing Rest mainly explores with more emphasis the practices of loving kindness and compassion (metta meditation) and the four foundations of mindfulness
and breath meditation.
Anyone can practice this and sessions are between 5 and 20 minutes long
in order to integrate them more easily into your every day life.
Breathing & mood
Breathing has a profound effect on the mood, since the earliest times and still today when feeling of anxiety, stress or panic arises you will be encouraged to 'stop and take a breath to calm down'. Just imagine the effects when you intentionally cultivate better breathing habits with more mindful directed attentive awareness.
Deeper breathing which utilises the diaphragm and abdomen more can encourage a more relaxed and confident mood.
Certain breathing patterns have a tendency to occur with certain moods. Due to this relationship, Practitioners of various disciplines have recognised this relationship and that a particular mood can be encouraged by adopting the breathing pattern that it most commonly occurs in conjunction with.
The importance of breath, apart from the obvious that it keeps us alive! has been consciously or unconsciously focused on for hundreds of years to keep us healthy.
Practitioners of different disciplines often interpret the importance of regulating the breath and its perceived influence on mood in different ways.
Buddhists may consider that it helps precipitate a sense of inner-peace, holistic healers that it encourages an overall state of health and wellbeing and business advisers that it provides relief from work-based stress. Doctors will often advise patience to take a deep breath to calm down when they feel anxious or worried.
Mothers have to breathe in a particular way before they give birth to moderate and manage pain and make sure children come into the world safely. Athletes are taught ways to moderate and retain breath for performing more optimally and the list goes on.
Breath is life.
Breath-work for soothing the
nervous system, boosting
immunity and regulating
cultivate better breathing habits with more mindful directed attentive awareness.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama, is the age-old tradition of mastering the breath.
Simply it is the practice of breath retention.
It has three main principles inhalation, exhalation, and retention.
Helping the body to regulate and increase oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer. Engaging and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
So when the breath is held (using specific techniques), the longer the breath is held, the greater the exchange of co2 (carbon dioxide), on the inhalation and exhalation. So one, through the practice of pranayama, allows a rhythmic slow controlled deep type of breathing. Thus reconditioning our breathing. And we learn to have a better quality breathing, so a high exchange of intake of oxygen , so energy, and an exhalation of waste.
What is the meaning of prana?
Prana means life energy.
A-Yama means to control.
So prana has control of that life energy.
Breath is life and pranayama is life force / life energy.
Pranayam is like nourising food / breath for the body, the mind and spiritual sustenance.
The practice of pranayama enhances your quality of life and enhances your quality of your breathing and your capacity to breathe better day to day because you're regulating the breath.
Quality breathing has the power to naturally still and calm the mind It balances and regulates the emotions and increases clarity and concentration.
Asato ma sadgamaya
From ignorance, lead me to truth
Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
From darkness, lead me to light
Mrtyorma amrtam gamaya
From death (suffering), lead me to the bliss gone beyond
Om shanti shanti shanti
Om peace peace peace
Making room to breathe
More than ever it is probably one of the most important skills to learn how to breathe optimally to instil more focus, calm and clarity. Cultivating more inner peace through training ourselves to breathe well and improving our sense of overall wellbeing, our energy levels and naturally more tranquility in the mind and importantly improved health.