I’ve been meditating regularly for 7 years now, and I have to say, I can’t imagine my life without a regular practice.
Meditation is gaining popularity with each year that passes. In fact, a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the United States alone, meditation has increased more than threefold over the last five years.
Why is meditation making its way into the mainstream? Because the health benefits are very real, and varied. Let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons to meditate, and 10 online meditation classes from Gaia that can help get you started.
Top 10 Reasons to Meditate:
- Stress Less
- Beat Anxiety
- Reduce Fear and Anger
- Build Concentration
- Sleep Better
- Balance Energy
- Achieve Goals
- Break Habits
- Activate Chakras
We’re all stressed out these days. The pace of modern life is to blame, no doubt. This is why meditation is so essential at this time in history.
Stress contributes to so many maladies, and it’s the primary reason people go to the doctor. Living under stress is downright miserable when it becomes chronic.
To combat the stresses of modern day life, we need to commit to a regular meditation practice, such as this one. Our health and quality of life depends upon it! (Learn more in Stress vs Self-Care: How to Elicit the Relaxation Response.)
This yoga nidra meditation class will guide you into relaxation, and help you release physical and mental tension.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that approximately 40 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders manifest in different strengths everyday, but meditation can be a powerful tool to help quell anxiety. (Learn more in How Meditation can Help Soothe Your Stress and Anxiety.)
This meditation course uses mudra, mantra, pranayama and visualization to help you reduce your anxiety.
Has anyone ever told you to smile more? Neuroplasticity shows that the act of smiling can actually make us happier people.
And we all want to be happier, right?
Well, meditations to reduce fear and anger can actually make us happier. They also make us naturally want to smile more! (Learn more in The Nature of Fear & 5 Not-So-Scary Solutions)
This mantra-meditation from Ashley Turner helps to transmute fearful and angering emotions and replace them with positive, victorious ones.
Does your concentration need a boost? In this internet age, we’ve all lost some of our ability to concentrate. With so many distractions here and there, it’s no wonder.
Lucky for us, there are specific meditations designed to clear the mind and improve mental focus and concentration. This is one of them!
This clear mind meditation helps to do just that: clear your mind. This guided meditation provides you with the tools to empty your mind and create space to focus.
We can all improve upon our sleep quality, and meditation helps us do so. By becoming aware of our thoughts, we’re less likely to ruminate at night before drifting off, which makes going to sleep so much easier.
A regular meditation practice also calms our nervous system and helps balance our hormones—both which contribute to restorative sleep. Scientific studies have shown that regular meditators falls asleep faster, and even stay asleep for longer periods. (Learn more in Six Ways Sleep Can Be the Gift You Give Yourself All Year Long.)
If you or someone you love has difficulty sleeping or even full blown insomnia, you’ll want to try meditation techniques like yoga nidra.
This yoga nidra meditation promotes "full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness," both of which will help you drift away from the events of your day and fall into a deep, rejuvenating sleep.
There are moments in our day when we need a reset. (Learn more in Yoga & Relaxation: 3 Practices to Reset & Restore.)
Maybe we’ve become stressed out by work. Perhaps we’re bogged down by ruminating on negative thoughts. We might just be tired.
A meditation reset is what we need during times like these, and we can do it for just a few minutes, anytime—day or night.
Check out this mindfulness meditation for a momentary reset. This five-minute meditation from Rodney Yee will help you reconnect to the present moment.
As humans, we are made up of energy. It flows through us constantly, and is responsible for a lot of our wellbeing. But, like most things, our energies can become unbalanced.
Maybe we’re expending too much, or maybe not enough. Maybe our hormones are out of whack, or maybe we’ve not learned how to harness our energy.
Thankfully, meditation practices like this one can teach us how to balance our energy in a truly sustainable way. This meditation practice will introduce you to Nadi Shodhana pranayama, a breathing technique that helps balance and harmonize the energy in your body. (Learn more in Hidden Magic: The Power of Nadi Shodhan Pranayama.)
How often do you start a project without ever following through? Maybe you or someone you know is awash with fantastic ideas, but lacks the clarity to bring them to fruition in the physical world.
Another cool thing about meditation is that it helps you achieve goals. If you’re wondering how meditation can help you achieve goals and bring about real change in your life, check out this meditation for manifestation.
Do you have a habit you’d like to break? Chances are, we all do. It could be anything, from smoking to biting your nails, from comparing yourself to others, to staying up too late at night.
Whatever it is, meditations like this one can help you break those bad habits for good!
This meditation practice will help you become conscious of your personal preferences and how they impact you physically and mentally. (Learn more in 6 Yogic Techniques for Being More Meditative.)
Do you sense your energetic body may be blocked somewhere? Maybe you know your throat chakra is blocked because you have a difficult time speaking your truth.
Your energetic centers (chakras) need activation from time to time, and chakra meditations can help you do this.
This series of meditations to activate the chakras teaches you the 12 chakras of Vijñāna-bhairava-tantra, rather than the traditional seven chakras you probably know. This Tantrik meditation will also teach you how to activate all 12!
If you haven’t yet found your motivation to meditate on a daily basis, I hope these top 10 reasons to meditate change that!
You deserve to reap the benefits of a regular practice. Find the meditations that resonate with you, and do them everyday.
See what unfolds in your life!