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Guided Meditation: How to Make the Most of It

Guided meditation can create peace in your life through breathing, imagery and body awareness. It involves listening to instructions that are meant to bring the body and the mind into a state of awareness, clarity and complete relaxation. Physical advantages of guided meditation include stress relief, better sleep and improved health. The practitioner may also discover a sense of greater self awareness through the journey of meditation. Guided meditation can be experienced in a class with a teacher or guide, or in digital form with a DVD, CD, or downloaded audio or video product.

Relaxing in nature

Guided meditation can create more peace and contentment in your life.

Guided meditation has been available for some time now. The wide access to CD programs and downloadable products makes guided meditation more available to all, and these excellent resources can be utilized all the more frequently to enhance personal growth and improve health. Frequently, a self guided meditation can have similar limitations to a standard quiet meditation – it’s easy for the inexperienced to become sidetracked. Guided meditation CDs can be a wonderful answer to this concern.

Consider that using a guided meditation is similar to having a teacher who accompanies you every step of your journey to well-being and health. It can be much easier to achieve success in your meditation when you have a soothing voice to guide you. Guided meditations are meant to reduce the difficulty in meditation and make it easier for you to relax into a meditative state.

Here are some suggestions for how to get the most from your guided meditation CD:

  • Pay attention to the length of the meditation.  You will want it to be long enough to help you to sink into a relaxed state and stay there for about 20 minutes.  20 minutes of deep relaxation per day is enough to counter the negative effects of chronic stress and positively benefit your health.
  • Set aside time when you know you will not be disturbed. Switch off the phone. Find a quiet space where you can relax.
  • Choose a comfortable position: lying down with adequate support under your head and neck, or sitting comfortably.  You will want to be relaxed, yet alert.
  • Once the CD begins, close your eyes and focus on the soothing voice of your guide.
  • An experienced guide will take you into a deep state of relaxation before bringing you back gently. You will emerge refreshed and rested.  It is good to give yourself a few minutes to come out of the meditation, to allow yourself to come back to the present moment and become oriented to the rest of your day.
  • Since you are not attending a structured class for meditation, it is important to make a commitment to practicing with your guided meditation CD.  It can be very helpful to set aside a certain time each day and commit to your guided meditation practice at that time.
  • Using your guided meditation CD can also be of great assistance to you when you feel nervous before facing a challenging situation.  For example, if you have to make a presentation or express an opinion before a gathering, practicing your guided meditation before the event can soothe your nerves and help you to prepare for the occasion.

Guided meditation is good for you!  Listening to a soothing voice that gently leads you to a place of stillness and calm can help to lessen the effects of stress in your life and can lead to greater health, peace, and joy. You can begin to discover your true self and commune with your heart through this delightful method of meditation. Take 20 minutes to improve your life! Practice it daily, if possible. You’ll be glad you did.

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Delight to the soothing voice of Sandi Anders on The Alchemy of Peace & Love, a 2 CD-set designed to take you to a place of deep rest, quiet peace, and profound relaxation.  Say “yes” to better health and improved quality of life.

The Alchemy of Peace & Love image

Best Guided Meditation 2 CD-Set: The Alchemy of Peace & Love

 

 

Guided Meditation 4 Relaxation is part of the Synergy group of websites devoted to helping you improve your quality of life.

Guided Meditation Improves Your Life

Guided Meditation to Relax

Guided meditation helps you relax fully and deeply.

Guided Meditation provides a pathway that allows you to move beyond the reflexive, automatic, thinking mind into a deeper state of relaxation and awareness. When you are able to relax fully and deeply, your stress lessens and you can begin to heal from its ravages.  As well as being associated with lower levels of stress, guided meditation has been linked to a raised sense of well-being.  Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School examined the brain waves of people in high-stress occupations.  Those who practiced meditation on a regular basis demonstrated increased activity in the left frontal lobe, an area of the brain related to feelings of happiness and tranquility.

A variety of meditation techniques are used in guided meditation; they include but are not limited to:

  • Awareness of breath
  • Repetition of mantra
  • LovingKindness meditation
  • Body scan

Guided meditation offers you powerful tools for transformation. Each of the meditation techniques listed above can be learned and practiced on a regular basis to nourish your spirit and calm your mind. When you feel nourished and cared for and when you are peaceful and calm, the by-product is often a greater sense of well-being and joy.

1.       AWARENESS OF BREATH

Relaxed, mindful breathing helps you to center your awareness away from the constant repetitive chatter in your mind and instead, direct it to the rhythm of your breath.  This stress management technique is literally right “under your nose.”

The breath provides a tangible focus for your attention. This mindful awareness of the breath produces a concentrated mind in a calm body, tranquil and alert.  Three minutes of diaphragmatic (or soft-belly) breathing will shut down the Stress Response and begin to elicit the Relaxation Response!

2.       REPETITION

The use of repetitive mantras or phrases may be helpful in deepening the meditative state. You can repeat a word or phrase each time you exhale.  You can use phrases such as “May I be well.” “May I be at peace.”  “May I dwell in the heart of healing.”  Or you can use words that connect to your deepest beliefs: peace, mercy, grace, ease.  Or words that are neutral such as one, falling, calm, let go, relax, rest, yes.

These words or phrases function as an anchor, tethering you to calmness, stillness, peace.

3.       LOVINGKINDNESS

LovingKindness (metta) is a form of meditation in which you imagine sending compassion first to yourself and then to others. This form of meditation gently draws you away from being harsh and judgmental with yourself. As you know, the way you regard yourself has a deep effect on how you regard others.   When you are able to love –or like — yourself, it becomes more possible to spread that compassion to others. Doing this meditation on a daily basis can have a profound impact on you.  It is a way to water the seeds of joy, compassion, and caring within yourself. It helps you to actively cultivate positive emotional states towards yourself and others, so that you become more patient, kind, accepting and compassionate.

There is no limit to the phrases that can be used with this form of meditation. The traditional phrase is: “May ___ be well, may ___ be happy, may ___ be free from suffering.”

4.       BODY SCAN

Body scan guided meditation helps you focus on different parts of your body, relaxing each part in a sequential way.  You visualize and feel a part of your body, then breathe into and relax it.  With the body scan, you quickly learn that if you relax the body, the mind will follow! By centering in with the breath and relaxing the body, the choppy waves of the agitated mind can begin to change from their habitual activated and over-vigilant response and flow towards a more calm, peaceful state.

Guided meditation gives you a powerful and effective method to increase awareness and deepen relaxation, both of which help you become healthier and less stressed. There are many forms of guided meditation, including focus on the breath, use of repetition with phrases or words, Lovingkindness meditation, and the guided body scan.  Each of these brings a sense of calm and a happier, relaxed state of mind.

The Alchemy of Peace & Love image

Best Guided Meditation 2 CD-Set: The Alchemy of Peace & Love

Are you ready to  reap the benefits of guided meditation for yourself?  The Alchemy of Peace & Love, a 2 CD-set of guided meditations can help you discover a more relaxed, calm place of well-being. On disc 1, you will learn to use the breath, the body scan and repetition of phrases to deepen relaxation.  On disc 2, you will use guided imagery, affirmations and an imaginary journey to enhance your self-esteem.

The benefits you derive from guided meditation include improved quality of health and enhanced balance in your life.  Find a few minutes in your day to put it into practice and you will notice the difference!

Guided Meditation

Replenish with Guided Meditation in Nature

Guided meditation brings the sounds of nature to you.

The regular practice of guided meditation is a superb strategy for learning how to deal with your stress.  When you are able to deeply relax with guided meditation, you come to feel calmer, more tranquil and less stressed when you’re finished.  Stress can have harmful effects on your body, particularly when it is experienced for long periods of time.  The practice of  meditation restores your body to a relaxed state, making possible deep rest and repair, which slowly but surely reverses many of the damaging consequences of long-term stress.

So, what can one expect to find with a guided meditation CD?  Guided meditation involves a teacher or guide leading you through the meditation process, helping you achieve relaxation, comfort, or inspiration;  he or she literally talks you through the process with soothing words, imagery and direction. The words and phrases guide the listener, enabling imagination to follow.  Frequently, guided meditation is coupled with gentle music or sounds of nature. With the guidance of  the script you can allow your body to relax, and your awareness becomes centered on the sounds of  the voice or the music.

The advantages of guided meditation are numerous!

1. A guided meditation CD brings the power of meditation to you.

The Alchemy of Peace & Love image

Best Guided Meditation 2 CD-Set: The Alchemy of Peace & Love

From the comfort of your own home, you can start to discover ways to deeply rest and relax with meditation. You have your personal guide to lead you along this journey to greater peacefulness and balance. A guided meditation CD enables you to meditate at any time you wish. Guided meditation is the new paradigm for today’s fast paced way of life.

2. An excellent guided meditation CD is likely to make your meditation journey smooth and easy.

The audio is often of great support in assisting you to focus your mind throughout your meditation. The guided meditation process will frequently utilize calming images of beauty, tranquility and nature.  It is not uncommon to find images of enchanting ocean waves, a peaceful lake, or perhaps a regal mountain. These soothing images invite the mind to begin to unwind and the body to relax so that the listener in meditation can realize a genuine feeling of inner peace.

3. Guided Meditation is simple to use.

Guided meditation is advantageous for beginners. It is frequently the most effective way for an individual to be introduced to the joy of meditation. It is also valuable for individuals who find it challenging to concentrate and focus in the course of meditation. It may help you remain centered and permit your subconscious to slide more readily into the calm, quiet inner state where you are able to delight in deep relaxation and profit from the healing power of meditation.

We live fast-paced lives, filled with demands and stress. Too much chronic stress can have detrimental consequences for your health. The regular practice of guided meditation can be a powerful and effective way to manage your stress.  It is convenient, accessible, and  user-friendly. When you take the time to relax with guided meditation, you are able to move into a place of greater peace, deeper calm, and improved health.

Guided Meditation in the Natural World

The practice of guided meditation brings health and well-being to you.

Stress Management Using Mindfulness Meditation

Stress is a component of our current fast-paced life-style.  If allowed to become chronic, stress can negatively affect our health and well-being, robbing us of peace and tranquility.  So how do we go about creating a life where stress is managed in such a way that we are healthy and productive, relaxed and happy?

It is important to recognize that stress is a normal part of living. We actually need a certain amount of stress in our lives in order to achieve our goals. In fact, we function better when under some pressure; we are more aware, more attentive, clear thinking and physically alert.  However, we get into trouble when the fight or flight response caused by extreme stress becomes chronic and we find ourselves in a constant hyper-alert state. This Stress Response is characterized by increased heart rate and blood pressure and compromised digestion and blood circulation to your extremities.  This long-term activation of the Stress Response puts us at increased health risks, including risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Memory impairment
  • Worsening of skin conditions
Guided Meditation at Sunrise

Guided meditation and mindfulness help to reduce the damaging effects of chronic stress.

There are many kinds of interventions which have proven to be helpful in stress management. These include observation of the breath, sitting meditation, body-awareness meditation, guided meditation employing imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation or the guided body scan.  The cultivation of these modalities instills mindfulness or present-moment awareness, which can be practiced during every-day activities such as eating, bathing, or walking.

Mindfulness is an amazing tool for stress management and overall wellness because it can be used at virtually any time and can quickly bring lasting results.  The key is practice.  Mindfulness exercises are simple and convenient, and can lead you to a deeper experience of mindfulness in your daily life. Mindfulness is often referred to as non-judgmental, moment-to-moment awareness.  It is a way of paying attention in a state of wakefulness to what is going on around us and within us.  It is cultivated by intentionally paying attention to what is being experienced in the present moment.

In Stress Management and Mindfulness, Part II we will look more closely at mindfulness exercises that can help you manage your stress.

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Guided meditation CDs are an outstanding tool to help you with stress management.  The Alchemy of Peace & Love will guide you into greater calm and stillness with guided breathing, mindfulness meditation and guided body scan.  You will deeply relax with the soothing voice of Sandi Anders, M.Div.  Try it today!

The Alchemy of Peace & Love image

Best Guided Meditation 2 CD-Set: The Alchemy of Peace & Love

Stress Management Using Mindfulness Meditation, Part II

In Stress Management Using Mindfulness Meditation, Part I, we learned about the prominence of stress in today’s lifestyles. We also looked at the effects of chronic stress and how stress can compromise health and well-being.

Mindfulness practices provide us effective tools for reducing and managing stress.  In this second article, we will look more closely at mindfulness exercises and principles that can help with stress management.

The following mindfulness exercises are simple and convenient, and can help you relieve stress as you move into a deeper experience of mindfulness in your daily life:

Manage stress through mindful eating

Mindful eating is one way to reduce stress and increase mindfulness of the present moment.

1.       Mindful eating

We eat many times a day. Mindful eating is simply paying attention — on purpose — to the process of eating, chewing, tasting, and swallowing.

What if you chose to eat just one mindful meal in the next week? A side benefit to mindful awareness during eating is weight management. Through mindful eating, we take the time to be satiated and therefore, do not eat as much!

2.       Breath awareness and diaphragmatic soft-belly breathing

Allowing your focus to rest on the breath is deeply centering and calming.  Just paying attention to what the breath is doing is a first step.  Notice if your breathing is uneven, noisy, shallow or rapid.  Gradually allow the breath to become deep, slow, quiet and regular.

Begin to notice the sensation that accompanies the flow of breath into your body.  Notice the physical feeling of the breath.  Allow most of your awareness to remain on the sensation of breath, while you also mentally say to yourself when breathing in: “I know that I am breathing in,” and when breathing out: “I know that I am breathing out.”  You can shorten these phrases to “in” on in-breath and “out” on out-breath.

As much as possible, relax and soften the belly and let yourself breathe into this open space.

3.       Merge awareness of activities with breathing

As you go through your day, pay attention to each moment and combine that awareness with observation of your breathing.  Note what is happening in your day to the rhythm of your breath.  For example, breathing in, washing the dishes; breathing out, washing the dishes.  Or breathing in, driving; breathing out, driving.

In this way we move from robotic unawareness to present, attentive, mindful behavior.  When we are aware of being mindful in the here and now, it helps us become centered.  We are able to come back home to ourselves: this is mindfulness based stress reduction.

4.       Guided Body Scan

The body scan is a carefully guided voyage through your body as you bring present-moment attention to each and every portion of it. It is be st done resting on your back if possible. Slowly move your attention to different areas of your body, noticing any sensations that are present there. You may notice such things as discomfort, tension, warmth or coolness, pleasure, relaxation, etc. With regular and repeated practice, this can enable you to enter and examine profound states of relaxation, and grow to be significantly more intimate and accepting of your body as it is. It can also help you discover ways of working effectively with any feelings of discomfort and pain.

The Alchemy of Peace & Love image

Best Guided Meditation 2 CD-Set: The Alchemy of Peace & Love

The Alchemy of Peace & Love, guided meditation in a 2 CD-set, helps you to relax and relieve stress with a 20-minute body scan.  You will drop deeply into the peace of stillness and calm with the soothing voice of Sandi Anders.  Learn more . . .

5.       Practice the skills of observation and description

Step inside yourself and observe your thoughts, feelings, and experiences; then describe what you observe with mental noting.

Practice observing your thoughts without reacting.  Thoughts are just thoughts, like the weather. You can let them come and go like clouds moving through an empty sky, like leaves floating down stream.  You can watch without getting pulled into their story line.

It is the same with feelings – allow them to rise and fall, like the waves in the ocean.  Also notice in the body where you experience certain feelings.

As you pay attention to what you experience, you notice what you are doing in the moment, noticing what comes to you through your senses.

When you describe with mental noting, you are giving a name to what is.  You describe what is happening, naming thoughts, feelings, and experiences and attaching a word to what you are observing.  This process of mental noting brings acknowledgement and recognition.

Do all of this with the breath, using your breath to anchor you to the present moment.

6.       Do one thing at a time

Mindful awareness brings peace and rest

Mindful awareness of the moments in your day brings greater peace and calm.

When practicing your stress management skills, let go of multi-tasking for a while. Just do one thing at a time. When you are eating, eat. When you are walking, walk. When you are bathing, bathe. When in a group or a conversation, focus your attention on the very moment you are in with the other person. Do each thing with all of your attention.

If other actions or thoughts or strong feelings distract you, let go of the distractions and go back to what you are doing, again, and again, and again!

Stress management is steadily rising in importance due to today’s busy and demanding lifestyles. It requires that we learn to lessen our levels of stress. But we also must learn to refocus that stress and make it work for us rather than against us. A viable and vital strategy for stress management is to live in the moment through mindfulness practices.

Meditation and mindfulness practices help us reach a calm state, the state of living more fully in relaxation. Relaxation is characterized by:

  • Slow, even breath
  • Slower heart rate
  • Improved immune function
  • Normalized blood pressure
  • Increased creativity
  • A clear mind.
pathway through the forest

Being in nature can be soothing and provide an excellent way to reduce stress.

The physiological opposite of stress is relaxation! Relaxation brings a concentrated mind in a calm body; it is possible to be both tranquil and alert. In mindfulness meditation practices, we are cultivating the art of presence. And presence in itself begins to alter the present. People who rest in a state of relaxation once or twice a day for 20 minutes build up a resistance to the damaging effects of stress.