This embrace of meditation is being driven by vocal proponents who claim that regular meditation can improve the immune system, cure depression, boost memory, regulate emotions, and even change the structure of the brain.
Hari Kaur is an internationally renowned Kundalini teacher and author of two books on meditation and yoga (as well as a member of our Influencer Advisory Board). She explains why meditation is blossoming in popularity at this moment in time:
“Meditation is both a conscious act and a refinement of what is possible with our brains and our minds and bodies. We have figured out about every possible way to exercise; the next frontier is our minds. There will be a movement towards meditation that will include the simplest to the most complex ways of ‘getting the most’ from our brains. The way we might get the most from our brains so we can handle the technological era is to meditate to become still – to dump our subconscious burden, to learn to light up the happy hormones and experience the balance to this existence.”
Far from being a fringe pastime, meditation is being used by a large cross section of society. The United States Marines have introduced a program called Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Training (or “M-Fit”), which trains soldiers in mindfulness and meditation in order to improve mental performance and emotional health during combat situations. “Mindful Leadership” is an initiative at General Mills that mixes sitting meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices to settle and focus the mind. Google, Target and Aetna all have similar programs. Surprisingly, Aetna discovered that an hour a week of this type of practice decreased stress levels in employees by a third, slashing healthcare costs per employee by around $2,000 per year.
At sparks & honey, we’ve also taken this idea to heart, regularly practicing in-office yoga and encouraging meditative breaks in our “digital detox zone.”
How can you take baby steps into the world of meditation and integrate it into the hectic environment of the modern workplace? Here are two ideas:
Walking Meditation: One of the simplest ways to relax your mind and become more mindful is to take a break and go for a short walk. Whether around the office or around the block, simply walking, breathing and staying mindful and focused on the present moment can have a lasting effect.
Breathing: Taking five minutes out of your day and quietly focusing on your breath while letting go of mental and physical stress can help to improve focus, aid in relaxation and clear your mind of clutter.
Hari suggests that if you truly want to reap the benefits of meditation, you’ll need to treat it as an essential part of your life:
“Set aside time daily and make it a priority to meditate. Just as you would attend to your appearance, develop a commitment to attend to your inner world. Schedule your meditation practice as if you were scheduling any other appointment or client. Add it to your calendar [and] keep the appointment with yourself. Find techniques that match your lifestyle and personality type. Techniques that inspire you to continue. There are many different styles and techniques of meditation. If you feel the call to meditate and grow and heal, search for the right teacher, the right technique and don’t give up.”
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