Meditation: Definition, Techniques & Benefits

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Meditation has been around for millennia but it has only gained wider acceptance in many countries recently. What is it? How can it be performed? And is it even worth it? This lesson explains.

What Is Meditation?

Bob is pretty stressed out by his job. His coworkers don't really like him and his boss is always making him stay late. But Bob has a secret weapon that helps preserve his mind and body despite this daily stress. It's called meditation, which may be seen as a mind and body practice that utilizes focused attention to improve one's physical and psychological wellbeing.

Bob is going to tell us about the many different techniques and benefits he has used and experienced with respect to meditation.

A Buddhist monk meditating.

Meditation Techniques

Bob got introduced to meditation by another equally stressed out co-worker, Sarah. She told him that there are actually a wide variety of techniques and that some work better than others for each individual person. First, she explains that Bob can meditate by focusing on his breath. In other words, making an effort to notice every breath coming in and out of the body.

This didn't work for Bob. So, Sarah said he can focus on his inner experiences instead. For example, he can simply observe what thoughts pass through his head or what feelings he has or what bodily sensations he experiences. He should be aware of them, observe them, but not judge them when doing this.

Bob didn't like this technique too much so he asked Sarah for some other techniques. She explained that since simple awareness of his inner experiences isn't working he can, instead, focus his attention on something, like an object in order to meditate. This could be something like a candle flame. Or, he can try emptying his mind. In other words, he can try to gently push away any stray thoughts that enter his head. Perhaps, she says, he can use a mantra. This means he can use a word or phrase and repeat it silently or aloud in order to focus his attention.

None of these seemed to work for Bob but Sarah's final suggestion did. He can use physical movement to help him meditate. It seemed that Bob finally discovered that he can better meditate via things like yoga and tai chi.

A person practicing yoga.

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