The effect of negative psychosocial influences on our immunity system is now a well established medical fact. Positive thinking like Loving kindness and mindfulness meditation is the key to improving health. Meditation, under the umbrella of what, nowadays we like to call mind/body integrative medicine, is widespread and growing very fast. Ancient meditation practices are in use in hospitals and academic medical centers, presenting wide range of solutions for chronic stress and pain-related disorders and chronic diseases.
Only the names of the techniques have been changed. Relaxation Response, Focused attention (FA), Open monitoring (OM), Neurofeedback, and MBSR are the few modern scientific names of the ancient ‘Yoga Nidra’ or Body awareness meditation technique. Automatic self-transcending is a new scientific name of mantra chanting.
The first Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program was developed in the USA. Latter on, it has inspired a number of variations, including Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). Cognitive Behavioural and Mindfulness-based Therapy (CBMT) are also widely used to overcome personality disorders.
Five thousands years back the ancient yogis realized that if we want to live a happy and healthy life, there is need to stop the unnecessary chattering of the mind. They have developed numerous techniques to do that. However, awareness of body sensation and the breathing awareness are the most important arts for doing that. The first day when the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, went to his Master Alara Kalama, he taught him the techniques of breathing awareness and awareness of bodily sensation. Within a month the Prince Siddhartha learnt it.
Mindfulness meditation is source of immense power. Observing the source of power from which your own breathing and life energies come put you on the seat of master. You become the master of your body and mind, and your life turns for better. The purpose of breathing awareness is to realize inner peace and tranquility during the meditation and then, when the meditation is over, you can extend that feeling of inner peace into the rest of the day.
The practice of awareness of body sensation and breathing awareness are plain and simple. To observe your physical sensation, just sit in a quite place, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Be mindful of your body and relax it from toe to head and then look inward. Feel your body from head to feet and feet to head. Just observe the sensations in your body, pain and pleasure, both. You will feel very relaxed within a short time.
For breathing meditation, sit in a steady, erect posture, relax and observe the incoming and outgoing breaths. You may find it easy to count the breaths. These simple practices contains the essence of mindfulness meditations.
Mindfulness meditation brings the stress hormones under control. In response to the daily stress, strain and anxiety, our autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis react, which elevates the level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Higher level of cortisol is harmful for our body and mind. It aggravates the level of stress and strain. Mindfulness meditation stimulates the secretion of endorphin, dopamine, GABA and other bliss hormones that contribute to our health and well being.