Alpha Meditation

Meditation covers a wide range of practice from relaxation to the spiritual. Ultimately, meditation is a combination of focus and relaxation )which may sound like an oxymoron but as you become more proficient it will become clear how these two can go hand in hand).

In alpha you are stil in control of your mind. At the alpha level, the brain waves slow to around 8-12 pulsations per second (about half the normal frequency). It is a comfortable, relaxed yet aware state that heals and refreshes the body. Instead of falling into the alpha state just by falling asleep, you can learn to induce this state and reap the benefits from this resource within yourself. In this state, you are open but not vulnerable, powerful without being constrained; deliberation and visualization become tools where you sharpen your mind and your will.

The state of what is now

An excellent post on how mindfulness plays a part in healing. Read it here

Workplace Meditations - I

This series of posts will focus on meditations that you can doing during your work break.  Since so many of us work in jobs that are sedentary in nature, the first meditation we will discuss is a walking meditation.

Walking Meditation

This is one form of meditation I used regularly when I worked a cubicle job. The repetitive motion of your arms and legs aid in entering a meditative state.  So set your timer and start walking.  The object of this meditation is to focus your attention on each step that you take, concentrating on your movement and feeling your feet connect with the earth. 

Begin by walking at a brisk pace and then every 5 minutes slow it down until your steps are slow and deliberate. What makes this so great is you can do this at work, while walking the dog, anytime you have the time really. Just remember when your mind wanders, bring it back to the moment and focus on the movement of your arms or your feet.  

Transcendental Meditation

Introduced to the world in 1955 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation, also known as TM, is a form of mantra meditation based on Hindu philosophy and ancient Vedic tradition; although their website describes it as "... not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle" since one does not have to adopt any new beliefs outside of the meditation practice to benefit from it.  The technique is taught in a standardized course over a period of two consecutive days with follow-up instruction.  During the initial personal instruction session, the student is given a specific sound to be used as their mantra along with the technique of how to use the mantra.

Confident he had the knowledge of something that could "rid the world of all unhappiness and discontent", the Maharishi set out on a series of world tours starting in 1957.  This "globalization" of the form led to criticism from other Yogis who accused him of oversimplifying their practices.

The TM website states that over than five million people worldwide have learned the technique.  Find out more at  The site places a lot of focus on the scientific aspects of this specific form of meditation as well as emphasizing the importance of being taught by certified instructors.  While I appreciate there is a scientific side to all of this, I personally value meditation as a spiritual practice. Meditation feeds your soul as well as your mind; and as with physical food, ultimately you find what you like and work with that.  Regardless, this form of meditation is obviously treasured by many throughout the globe.

How to Connect with Your Body to Feel Balanced: 10 Grounding Techniques

by Sam Russell (Courtesy of the
“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” ~Steve Goodier

Sometimes my head is in the clouds on a massive scale. This isn’t always a bad thing for me. When I am blissfully ignorant of reality, it can feel beautiful and exhilarating—shiny, I call it. It can be a welcome respite from the days when life feels dark and painfully uncertain.

But this can also be dangerous. When you’re not connected to your body and surrounding environment, you don’t have a strong sense of direction or purpose–you’re just floating. Also, the smallest thing can distract you and it’s difficult to get anything done.  For example, I’m supposed to be editing another article for Lori right now, but instead, I’m playing with this one.

Even if you don’t have the same struggles I do, you might be able to relate. When you’re dealing with difficult circumstances and emotions, you may feel unbalanced and even start to shut down a little. It’s all too easy to disconnect from the world when it starts to feel overwhelming.

Let’s face it: the clouds are beautiful, but sometimes it’s helpful to have your feet on the ground. With this in mind, I’ve come up with a series of grounding techniques that help me reconnect with my body when I’m feeling a little lost:

1. Change the bed sheets.
This requires a significant amount of concentration otherwise I end up with funny shapes for bed covers. Not only that, the activity is a tactile experience—the sheets are clean, so they smell gorgeous and if you use softener, the fabric is great to handle.
Nothing makes me feel happier and more down-to-earth than changing my sheets. Unless of course my cat joins in with the fun and plays hide and seek under the bottom sheet with me.

2. Dance and/or sing.
I have a couple of albums that I slap on when I’m in the need for some feel-good time. The Cranberries album ‘Stars’ is on the top of my happiness pile at the moment (and also what I’m listening to as I write this)
Even though I can’t carry a tune to save my life or bust a worthy move, this album gets me in the mood for relaxing and helps me come down from previously incalculable heights.

3. Bake.
Since going on a diet last year, I’ve found that I’ve stopped eating my discomfort and started cooking it instead. Ok, so I still eat a bit of it (because the things I bake need to be tasted of course…) but it’s not the eating part that makes me feel good anymore; it’s the creating part.
I bake from scratch—none of this packet stuff. I put all of myself into making a decent gingerbread base for the apple pie because I take comfort in the clean, spicy textures and smells of making the dough myself. Like changing bed linen, it’s a tactile activity that grounds you through all of your senses. With delicious results.

4. Take a shower.
This is one of my last-resort grounding methods. I shower regularly anyway but when everything is too much to cope with (shiny or doomy), I lock myself in the bathroom, strip off and stand under the scalding water until I’ve calmed down.
A hot shower like this is necessary to get things off of my skin; not mud or dirt, but bad thoughts, mad thoughts, misery and stress. A hot shower is the perfect cure for this because it relaxes your tense muscles and literally washes it all off.

5. Walk barefoot.
Shoes are great but they really disconnect you from the earth beneath your feet. Sometimes I walk along the sea wall to stare out at the river for a while. When I get there, I take off my shoes and socks and wander about on the parched earth, on top of the fortification itself, taking care where I tread of course.
It’s a weird comfort to feel the heat from the ground soaking up into your soles, almost like the Earth is saying ‘Hey! Glad you made it back. You’re gonna be alright, y’know?’
6. Garden.
I love this planet. I’m a novice gardener but love to plant flowers, grasses, herbs and my own vegetables.
It’s not just my own garden that brings me back down to earth either; the surrounding countryside is full of wild flowers and sometimes free food: wild fennel, hairy-bitter cress, wild garlic, chickweed, blackberries, samphire and nettles.
Gardening helps me breathe and re-appreciate the natural world around me. Sometimes the physical value of getting my hands dirty in the garden makes me hunt down a patch of grass, lay face down and give the Earth a big ‘ol hug for being so awesome.

7. Take a duvet-day.
When I finally realize I’ve vanished from the face of reality and that it’s not going too well, I like to retreat into my duvet—with chocolate.
A tutor at university once said to me that “sometimes nothing helps more than to wrap yourself up in a big fluffy blanket and say to yourself ‘there, there…’” I couldn’t agree more.

8. Break out the paints.
This is one I’d like to use and develop more because, even though I’m not trained, I’m not half-bad. That’s the point of painting and sketching as a grounding technique: you don’t have to be great.
I pick up my A3 pad and willow charcoal and go at it until the chaos inside of me’s out on however many pages it takes. Sometimes I produce some good work–an added bonus because I can come back to it and remember when I overcame what I was feeling and turned it into something good.

9. Moisturize.
I tried this at a friend’s recommendation, and the benefits were instant. With every glob of cream I rubbed into my skin, I felt reconnected with my body which so often feels unreal and alien to me.

10. This one’s open for you to fill in. Not because I’m lazy, but because exploration is fun and key to discovering what works for you. It’s a grounding technique in itself.

One final thought: I find that having objects around or with me helps keep me grounded. Whenever I do something fun and relaxing, I make sure that I find an object, like a pebble, or buy something from a gift shop (like my faux-pheasant feather quill) to help remind me of the good times.  I keep these things within reach at all times to touch for positive associations. Then of course I can also touch and connect with the earth because of the different things I do to make my life more tactile and pleasurable.

Sam Russell is a young writer from the southeastern corner of the UK. She’s a cynic by nature trying to prove that cynic’s can be happy and positive, too. Visit her blog at Photos here and here.

Visualization Meditation

Some may find focusing on the breath and clearing the mind challenging.  An excellent alternative is to use visualization meditation techniques.  This is when a picture is created in the mind and used as the focal point of the meditation.  Since everything we do is processed through the mind as an image, this makes visualization a powerful tool. 

Guided visualizations are a good way to begin training your mind to focus at will.   Find visualization exercises that work for you.  There are CDs and MP3s available that do just that, guiding you through imagining a scene, building on the image and increasing your power of deliberate thought, to bringing you back from the meditation.  Once you become more comfortable, you can then lead yourself through the guided imagery, with the ability to enter and leave the deeply relaxed state as you choose.

As you harness the energy of your imagination, you can progress to visualizing a situation and playing out different solutions while in a meditative state.  Many who do this find it useful to keep a journal in which some time is spent reflecting on the results of your meditation.  Throughout the globe, the value of meditation is being rediscovered as an extremely effective tool.

Persist in all your efforts to find peace and peaceful resolution.  As with any endeavor, your continued efforts will pay off - in this case with copious benefits to your self and those around you.

Image Credit:  David Amoroso,Viajero #4, acrylic

Creating Your Optimum Meditation Space

One of the most important aspects of your meditation practice is to be as comfortable as possible.  Setting aside an area or a room that is dedicated to your meditation practice is a good way of ensuring that.

Find an area of your home that has a free-flowing feeling. Make sure the room is clean and well ventilated. If you cannot devote the whole room, find a suitable corner that can be dedicated as a sacred space for your practice. You will want your meditation space to be free of clutter and objects that your energy will bounce off of and get tangled in. There must be a sense of aliveness. As you become more experienced you will find you are increasingly aware of the subtle emanations which come from things. But even if you do not yet perceive those things clearly, go with your gut; on some level you already know what is right.

Add your meditation cushion (or stool, or chair). Supply the area with objects that are special to you and enhance feelings of peace and calm such as a cozy blanket and photographs or statues that inspire you. You may consider performing a ritual before starting your meditation session such as setting a positive intention, or sounding some tibetan bells, lighting incense or candles, dimming the lights, etc.

The goal in establishing your meditation space is for it to enable and encourage you to develop a daily meditation practice. Use it as your foundation on the path to the peaceful and relaxed moments when your mind is quiet and your spirit is free to roam.


Chanting is the rhythmic vocalization of words or sounds, often in one or two tones. A common practice among spiritual traditions, it is found in every human culture. Although the specific practice varies, chant is found throughout Eastern and Western faiths including Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism.  Universally recognized as a way of altering consciousness and raising psychic power or energy, chanting is also used by Native Americans in preparation for ceremonies and other momentous occasions.

To reap the most benefits from chanting, one's mind must be clear and focused. Keeping the mind in the present, chanting helps one develop mindfulness. Chanting is not like singing a tune. When chanting, a mantra is often used.  A mantra is a repeated word or phrase used to aide in concentration in meditation and believed to expand one's awareness and increase their connection with the spiritual or divine.

As you chant a mantra during meditation, the focus of your meditation is to merge with the vibration of the sound you are chanting and become one with that energy. In this way, you connect with everyone in the world who is chanting that same mantra as well as everyone who has ever chanted that same mantra. In this way you merge and connect with them on a spiritual level.

For me, one of the greatest benefits gained through my meditation practice is awareness of the interconnectedness between our mental, emotional and physical levels it brings. As this awareness grows, it leads to an understanding of the more subtle areas of existence.

So try out some chants, keeping in mind that it is virtually impossible to chant incorrectly. The sound is simply a sound, just vibrations in the air. It is the feeling and intention of love behind it that results in the chant bringing peace and joy.

May your meditation and chanting bring you peace and inner joy.

Theta Meditation

The second slowest frequency of brain waves - theta waves typically cycle at a rate of 4-7 times per second (4 Hz – 7 Hz) - Theta brain waves are known to be the state of high relaxation, drowsiness, and dreaming. Studies show that in states of meditation greater quantities of these are produced. EEG studies of persons in this state show an increased ability to handle stress, heightened intuition, and an enhanced sense of emotional balance. Theta meditation has also been used to help balance serotonin and melatonin levels in cases of insomnia and depression. Who wouldn't want to benefit from these healing effects on the body! For a quick, no-nonsense overview of what brainwaves are read this.

Theta meditation is a very deep meditation technique. It is for those who have been meditating for some time, are accustomed to the effects of alpha meditation and are ready to proceed in the meditation practice. Those who are new to meditation should begin meditating through alpha meditation with binaural beats.

Every day, we receive subconscious programming from our environment which cycles into our brain and influences our behavior. Tapping into our Theta Waves to connect with our subconsicous enables us to reprogram our brain with ideas and beliefs that we truly want to believe. This helps you avoid falling victim to environmentally induced thought patterns. Theta waves can be a source of creativity, intuition, strong emotional connections, and lower levels of stress and anxiety.  Worthy goals to attain!

Disclaimer: The text presented on these pages is purely informational.  Check with your doctor before trying any of these techniques to be sure they are appropriate for you and will not interfere with your treatment.

Beginning Meditation - Part II

Meditation is work, and you will inevitably come to a point where it seems to be more effort than it's worth; this is when you need your practice the most. Your ability to focus on meditation will strengthen your ability to focus in every other aspect of your life. It's well worth the effort.

That being said, below are some guidelines to help you receive the most benefit from your meditation practice.

1. Set a time and stick to it. Meditating when you can get to it is a surefire way for it to end up by the wayside. Making a habit of your meditation practice will aide you in sticking with it for the long-term.

2. Stretch.

3. Experiment.

4. RELAX. Your mind will wander, especially at first. When the mental chatter creeps in, focus in on your breath and let the feelings go.

5. Read a book or watch some videos on meditation. There are guided meditations that can help you begin and improve your practice.

6. Express gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful state. It's the absence of fear and doubt. Sit quietly for 1 or 2 minutes after your meditation and experience the warmth that gratitude brings into your heart. Ending your practice with appreciation reminds you of what you have and what you are working toward.

As you continue your daily practice, you will be able to reach deeper levels of awareness and spiritual connection which in turn can only enrich your life.

Disclaimer: The text presented on these pages is purely informational.  Check with your doctor before trying any of these techniques to be sure they are appropriate for you and will not interfere with your treatment.

Image: dan /

Beginning Meditation - Part 1

Meditation is focused contemplation on a particular object or subject. Throughout the centuries meditation has been used to develop concentration, bring clarity and achieve serenity. In modern times meditation is often used to improve one's focus as well as provide relaxation and stress relief.

Learning how to meditate

There are many meditation techniques, in this article I will be focusing on a quick and easy method that works well for beginners.

Breath Counting

One of the most simple and easy forms of meditation, breath counting, is a great way to reduce stress and tension. The object of this meditation is to focus on the rhythm of our breathing. To do this, we count each breath in and each breath out. This is where many feel they are "doing it wrong" or that they are "not good at it". Remember, this is the beginning and no one is a pro when they start. When your mind wanders, and it will, simply return to your breathing and start counting again. This is a great meditation to do anywhere when you have even just one minute to yourself. With time your focus will improve and you can replace counting your breaths with the words, "in", "out" and eventually you can begin repeating affirmations such as "relax" or "peace".

As you become ready to "return" from your meditation, slowly bring your thoughts back to your body and the sounds around you. If you had your eyes closed, move your muscles a little, rub your hands together and cup them over your eyes for a few seconds, then open your eyes.

Well done! You've completed your first meditation. With regular practice you will be able to achieve deeper states of relaxation.

In my next post we'll delve into meditation geared toward strengthening mental focus.

Disclaimer: The text presented on these pages is purely informational.  Check with your doctor before trying any of these techniques to be sure they are appropriate for you and will not interfere with your treatment.