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The oldest documented form of meditation, Vedic meditation, is popular all over the world for good reason. With all other meditation forms stemming from this ancient practice, it’s no surprise this meditation is thought of as an immensely powerful and restorative practice.
Unlike Buddhist meditation, Vedic meditation has a greater focus on mantras, and less on thoughts or contemplation.
Many practitioners find Vedic meditation easier, as there is more structure and something more concrete to focus on.
It’s designed to fully relax your body and mind, and many people experience a transcendental state following a particularly effective session.
What is Vedic Meditation?
Vedic meditation is a treasured form of meditation, designed to fully relax the body and soothe a busy mind. Unlike Buddhist meditations that aim to develop various skills, Vedic meditation uses a mantra to settle the mind and provide a focus.
For many people, Vedic meditation is easier than other forms of meditation thanks to its structure. The typical practice time is 20 minutes in the morning, and 20 minutes at night, and this can be done almost anywhere. By knowing exactly how long you’re going to be meditating for, practitioners can work it into a busy schedule.
Vedic meditation is also referred to as transcendental meditation. It involves using a mantra to calm and focus the mind, either silently or out loud. Your mind will naturally focus on the mantra, but anytime other thoughts pop up, you can gently guide your thoughts back to the mantra.
Often described as effortless and enjoyable, Vedic meditation requires no concentrating, no mind control, no constant monitoring of thoughts and no emptying the mind. You are simply allowing your mind to focus on a mantra, for 20 minutes, twice a day.
Vedic meditation is one of the few meditations that requires full self sufficiency, with practitioners encouraged to trust their own minds without relying on teachers or postures. It does not require changing any part of your life, making it a great meditation for those with busy schedules.
History of Vedic Meditation
Vedic meditation comes from the Vedas. The Vedas are thought of as the most sacred texts in India, a collection of hymns and mantras that have been passed on for centuries.
There’s 4 texts, the Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda and Atharva-Veda. The oldest of these texts, the Rig-Veda, dates back to 1500 B.C.E and is used to invoke courage, happiness and peace in its readers.
For thousands of years, meditation was practiced only by a select few in India. In 1953 however, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi toured the far east, USA and Europe, bringing meditation around the world with him.
From Vedic or transcendental meditation, all other forms of Indian meditation arose.
What are the Benefits of Vedic Meditation?
Vedic meditation has a huge range of benefits, but one of the best things about this style of meditation is how easy it is. Vedic meditation is a preferred style of meditation for many people, as it can be easily slotted into a busy lifestyle and takes just 20 minutes, twice a day. It is described as being ‘effortless’, as it requires no tricky mind control. Instead, the mantra is used to focus the mind.
The first benefit of Vedic meditation, and in fact any other form of meditation, is reduced stress and anxiety. Vedic meditation encourages you to achieve a deep state of relaxation, which can be the perfect antidote to a busy or stressful day. You’ll teach your body to respond to stress in a healthier and calmer way. This form of meditation can help ease symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD. Reduced stress can also help ease the physical symptoms of stress-related disorders.
Poor sleep affects a huge number of people and can have a detrimental impact on both our physical and mental health. When we’re stressed, our sleep quality is often the first thing that is compromised. Many practitioners of Vedic meditation report improved sleep quality which leads to better energy levels throughout the day.
Vedic meditation can also boost mental clarity and focus, which can help us if we feel stuck in a rut. Despite the fact that Vedic meditation doesn’t encourage us to make changes day to day, many people find the improved mental clarity helps them see which parts of their life need addressing. Most people report feeling fresher, quieter and happier following a Vedic meditation.
How to Practice Vedic Meditation
Vedic meditation can be practiced both alone and in a class, and many beginners find it surprisingly easy to practice alone.
To start, you should choose a mantra. Reciting your mantra out loud will give you a resonating feeling throughout your body which can be extremely comforting. Focusing on a mantra tends to be easier than focusing solely on the breath.
Your mantra can be any sound, but it should be meaningless. While focusing on a certain word or phrase can be beneficial, you may find yourself brought back to the worries of the present, the opposite of what Vedic meditation seeks to achieve.
Sit in a comfortable position with a straight back. Sitting on a pillow can help support your hips, and you should keep your head and neck free and relaxed.
Set a timer for 20 minutes, then turn your attention to your body and your breathing. Start to focus on your chosen mantra.
When thoughts linger, allow them to come and go without trying to actively control your mind. Notice where your thoughts go, but gently return to your mantra without judgement.
After 20 minutes, ease yourself back into your body by wiggling your fingers and toes.
Pay attention to how you feel, then repeat the same meditation for another 20 minutes later in the day.
Vedic meditation is easy to practice at home, and it’s great for both beginners and experienced meditators. It can be incorporated into a busy lifestyle, requiring just 20 minutes each morning and night.