In today’s busy world, being centered, balanced and at peace are much sought-after elements. People in seriously busy places are turning to the timeless Eastern practices of meditation and yoga to help them get there.
Yoga has become mainstream; but meditation often still meets resistance. People have different reasons for wanting to meditate – to quiet the inner chatter and find calm, reduce stress, to improve creativity, visualize goal achievement, to banish negative thinking, or to follow a faith or spiritual teaching. Those who do meditate regularly say it greatly enriches their lives.
There are probably a million different ways how to meditate, and it can be daunting to know how to begin and stick with it. Yet for each technique, the process of meditation is generally the same. Experts say meditation means: to quiet the mind; to suspend your attention on the outside world; to stop thinking long enough in order for the ego to disappear.
Mantra meditation is one of the most popular meditation techniques. The powerful effect of using sound syllables on both the conscious and subconscious mind is a great help to learn how to meditate. What exactly is a mantra? It’s a word or phrase repeated over and over during meditation – generally sacred in nature, that uplifts you and helps keep you focused during meditation. Whether repeated, chanted or sung out loud or silently, mantras give your brain something to do to quiet all of the usual chatter. Mantras have a soothing, calming effect on the mind to softly but firmly focus only on one tiny simple thing.
“With so much emphasis on multitasking, it’s not as common in our society to concentrate and focus. Mantras help build the skill to focus,” commented Nancy Goodfellow, yoga instructor at Pranamar Oceanfront Villas and Yoga Retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Goodfellow integrates the practice of mantras and meditation into her daily yoga classes at the Costa Rica beach resort owned by her family.
Pranamar’s main focal point at the resort is the practice of yoga. Classes and retreats for people of all ages, levels, and intentions are designed to be an opportunity to increase self-awareness, knowledge and joy, and to celebrate life. Yoga was developed 6,000 years ago in ancient India to strengthen and loosen the “yogis” muscles and minds in preparation for hours of meditation and spiritual contemplation.
The key to building a healthy meditation practice is to start slowly with 10 minutes a day and work your way up to 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, an hour, etc. Once you start meditating, don’t stop until your time is up; everything else can wait. The nice calm feeling after meditation, which gradually lasts longer and longer, is worth it.
Top 10 benefits of meditation:
- Quiet the mind and find calm
- Reduce stress
- Improve creativity
- Visualize achieving goals
- Dispel negative thinking
- Follow a faith or spiritual teaching
- Get to know yourself better
- Breathe better and improve focus and concentration
- Improve your health
- Control anxiety
Enjoy lovely, private Costa Rica villas with Bali-style flair right on the beach at this Santa Teresa, Costa Rica hotel. The luxury boutique resort features tropical gardens, the healthy gourmet Buddha Eyes Restaurant, a free-form saltwater pool, beachfront spa, and a magnificent yoga shala offering daily yoga classes, regular yoga retreats and yoga vacations. See their weekly yoga class schedule on Facebook.
Article by Shannon Farley