Go beyond sitting in silence
As we become more reliant on technology, with people often struggling to put down their smartphones and tablets, it’s refreshing to see that more people are turning to ancient practices such as meditation and yoga to keep their bodies and minds healthy. Meditation’s popularity grew so much in 2016 that apps and entire studios have emerged for people to have practical, modern ways to approach the practice. But sitting in silence is just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other meditation practices, some new and some renewed that are great alternatives for people who have a hard time with traditional meditation. Here’s a look at some up and coming trends in meditation to try:
Proving the theory that music and sound change the brain chemistry and heal, south baths have been used as a healing modality since the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. The hour or so long session involves yoga mats, blankets and pillows to snuggle up and simply lay and listen as the practitioner plays various instruments, ranging from singing bowls, gongs, chimes and more.
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How does it work?
“When sound frequencies move through a space, we are part of that space, and our bodies resonate with those frequencies,” according to Sara Auster, a popular New York–based sound-therapy practitioner, musician and yogi wrote in New York Magazine. “Our body has the ability to ‘harmonize’ with different frequencies. In sound therapy, rhythms and frequencies are used to entrain our brainwaves. Entrainment can synchronize our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a pattern or stable frequency to which we can attune, similar to the effects of meditation.”
The many benefits include: balancing the brain hemispheres, changing behavior patterns, cleansing negative energy, making connections to your higher self, relaxing more deeply, trauma or illness recovery, better sleep, increase of vitality and creativity, circulation stimulation, stress reduction and immune system strengthening. Get cozy and enjoy an hour of musical trance and improved mental health.
Prefer to be asleep while you heal? Taking meditation to the next level, one organization aims to teach participants how to lucid dream – promising to unlock information stored in the subconscious while helping with sleep and stress disorders. In a guided 45-minute session, you’ll learn the principles of lucid dreaming and overcome obstacles in dreaming that translate to your waking life, since the brain cannot distinguish between what occurs in your waking life versus a lucid dream.
Discover the scientifically researched basis for lucid dreaming – the ability to influence your dreams – in Explore the World of Lucid Dreaming, by mind-body expert Dr Stephen LaBerge, co-author Howard Rheingold and the input of other scientists. Lucid dreaming can improve assets such as problem solving, confidence and creativity.
If you love water, you’ll surely love floating in a tank meant to bring calm and introspection. A floatation isolation tank is a device with heavy salt water that forces participants to forgo the senses – think black, silent and so much salt in the water you can’t feel your body. Sound scary?
The neuropsychiatrist who invented the isolation tank in 1954 apparently combined it with LSD. Now used for more relaxing healing methods, floating is said to ease stress, anxiety, pain and much more. In other words, floating is a form of meditation without your senses to distract you – which, in the sensory-overloaded world we live in today, is greatly needed.
How does it work? You disrobe and get into a sensory deprivation tank, or floating isolation tank, which is a salt-water laden tank with an enclosed door. For the next one to four hours, you let go of time, space and where you are. From there, many things occur: pain relief, relaxation, trauma healing, realizations and better sleep afterward. Although it can be odd and scary at first to lie in a pitch black, enclosed tank, it teaches users how to truly let go.