Introduced in India by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1955, Transcendental Meditation is a natural and simple type of meditation that uses a mantra to allow the body to completely relax while the mind achieves inner peace with no effort. Although there are millions of followers, this popular form of meditation is typically taught by licensed instructors, which can be costly. Due to this, there are many variations of this meditation that are used by those who search other ways to learn the method.
Why Choose Transcendental Meditation
Many people say that this effortless meditation technique recharges the body and gives practitioners a positive, peaceful state of mind. In fact, there are numerous studies that have documented that the Transcendental Meditation technique is effective in relieving anxiety and stress. Research also indicates that cardiovascular health and brain function have improved in those who regularly practice this form of meditation. In addition, the 2009 Cleveland Clinic studies on Transcendental Meditation found that it not only alleviated stress and anxiety in college students, but it also helped to reduce blood pressure, anger and depression.
Some people think that the popularity of transcendental meditation is due to it being so easy to learn and master. Benefits can be immediate for some people, offering relief in a few days or even hours.
How to Practice Transcendental Meditation
To have a better understanding of what the practice of transcendental meditation consists of, you must first know what mantra means. Webster’s defines mantra as, “A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.” Although there are a variety of different ways to practice Transcendental Meditation, it is generally practiced for around 20 minutes, two times a day in a closed-eye relaxed state. The practitioner uses mantra specific to their beliefs or choosing during the meditation.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, transcendental meditation concentrates on a peaceful and restful mind beyond thinking, instead of just focusing on breathing techniques as many other forms of meditation do. Although there is no exact technique needed to practice it, here are some common methods used:
Three Methods of Practicing Transcendental Meditation
- Sitting in a comfortable position, close your eyes
- After a few moments of silence, begin to think of the mantra.
- Give into the mantra and allow it to change in any way – it may become louder, faster, or fainter, but it should be effortless.
- Thoughts should be allowed to come and go while using the mantra. Do not try to override the thoughts, just go with the flow.
- When you are aware that you can no longer hear the mantra, that awareness will bring the mantra back.
- At the end of the time, stop thinking about the mantra. Relax for several minutes before opening your eyes.
- Find a word that does not create any thought or image in your mind to use as the mantra
- Sit in any comfortable position you like and close your eyes
- Take 10 deep, relaxing breaths and start repeating the mantra silently to yourself.
- Concentrate your chosen mantra word – concentrate on the pronunciation of the word and continue this while relaxing.
- Traditional Transcendental Meditation begins with a short ceremony of gratitude so that you show appreciation for the ancient tradition of this type of meditation.
- Next, select and repeat your chosen mantra word silently to yourself for 20 minutes.
- Relax and do not worry about what your mind is doing.
- After 20 minutes, spend a few minutes reflecting on the peacefulness you are experiencing.
No matter what method chosen to practice Transcendental Meditation, many people trust on this form of meditation to relax, destress and find peace within themselves.