Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. As you kick off the new year with a commitment to good health, consider adding meditation to your self-improvement list.
Meditation not only calms your mind and reduces stress, but reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Jeanne Ball: A person doesn't need to do anything to prepare for the TM technique, except sit comfortably and close the eyes, because with this particular practice one quickly, naturally transcends the physical environment and dives deep within the mind to enjoy inner silence, peace and expanded wakefulness.
The deeper reason why no preparation is necessary is because the technique is motivated only by the mind's natural tendency that is always lively within everyone: the tendency to seek greater happiness. JB: Practicing the TM technique is very easy because the process doesn't require you to think about peace or happiness or anything in particular.
JB: If a person consciously tries to let go of thoughts, to get beyond thoughts or forcefully get rid of them, it's called "straining in meditation" and usually only creates more thoughts and often causes a headache. JB: Twenty minutes of the TM technique morning and afternoon is enough to balance a full day of activity and to dissolve stress and revitalize mind and body.
Quick tip: If you find it difficult to meditate on your own, try Headspace, a meditation app created by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. Meditation is innately human, and certainly in simpler times gone by, meditation came easily to us. And yet, there are certain moments when the age-old practice is just a little inappropriate. Often associated with Eastern-world practices, meditation has been making headlines and infiltrating the West.
Best of all, there's no catch: Meditation is free, and you can take it anywhere (all you need is your head). We asked on Facebook the strangest place you've found yourself practicing, and from your answers it's clear: Meditation can happen in motion, and is often helpful in times we anticipate feeling tense. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids. He also adds that transcendental meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions. We asked meditation teacher Jeanne Ball to share her tips on how to begin and what to expect.

During TM, there's no outside preparation or internal effort required, because attention settles inward spontaneously, drawn by the mind's own nature, to fields of greater happiness and dynamism, and there's no obstacle to that natural inward progression. It is the repetition for at least 20 minutes that leads to pronounced responses of peace in the body and mind.
If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we go through life without really living. Begin with 4 counts in, holding it for 2 counts (to help slow it down), and then exhale for 4 counts.
And when you're feeling stressed, overworked or out of sorts, the practice might be the quickest path to relief. Check out the slideshow below, then tell us the wackiest places you've snuck in some zen in the comments section.
It's no mystery as to why: Just 20 minutes has been shown to decrease stress, help with depression and even lower blood pressure. We were curious where you take your meditation; while we might typically think it's a practice for stillness and silence, it turns out there's no place too loud or exclusive to find peace of mind.
Check out some creative and brilliant places to meditate below, then tell us in the comments where else you like to clear your head. One can effortlessly practice TM in an airport, in the same house with kids running around, or at the office during break. The technique is designed to effortlessly allow the mind to settle inward to quieter levels of thought in the direction of greater energy and happiness within.
People find their physical and mental health improves, their relationships become more harmonious, they have more energy and become more productive. Powerful, nourishing, and healing, food and meditation have a lot in common, whether or not they’re connected to a religious belief system. Also, meditation has been linked to the prevention of stress related diseases, which make up a large portion of all diseases.
If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration.
How many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way – slow down and savor each and every moment.

Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day.
Whether you are aware of it or not, the rate and depth of your breath sends signals to your body, telling it to prepare for stress, or to relax. The mind naturally gravitates to its silent source of restfulness and goes beyond thought all together. The technique is designed such that thoughts are not a problem at all and the mind effortlessly settles into the silent, rejuvenating experience of pure awareness or restful alertness, in which all thoughts and mental activity have been transcended.
But more importantly, being present is undoubtedly the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do.
Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present.
If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. We find ourselves enjoying life more, and, as perception becomes clearer, finding more joy and beauty all around us. And however you access your inner peace is meditation, whether it is a quiet stroll, sitting in lotus position humming, or climbing a large rock. By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more.
That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned. Instead, focus on being present, on really listening, on really enjoying your time with that person.
Anything, even things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as housework, can be amazing if you are truly present. The ideal breath rate for a human is 6 counts in and 6 counts out, or 5 breaths per minute.

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Music for transcendental meditation

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