- Everyone starts off not really knowing how to meditate. Learning the difference between superficial and deep meditation can improve your technique.
- Years of consistent meditation practice helps you learn the differences between superficial and deep meditation. You’ll still benefit, but maximum benefits come with a deeper state.
- Supporting your mitochondria helps deepen your meditation, and computer-assisted meditation can help you see (and hear!) what your brain is doing so that you can know for sure whether it’s working or not.
Learning how to meditate can feel daunting to beginners. Yet people have been meditating throughout history, and for good reason. Meditation rewires the circuitry in your brain, and the changes come with loads of benefits, like reduced stress, increased self-awareness, and improved health.
Of course, to get all of the benefits of meditation, you want to know that you’re actually meditating — not just sitting there. While learning how to meditate, you won’t go too deep at first. But, there are things you can do to shorten your learning curve and set yourself up to meditate as deeply as you can. Keep reading to find out how.
Mitochondria and meditation
Think of your mitochondria as the battery packs of your cells. They burn a ton of energy just keeping you warm, and what’s left goes toward the things you have to do and want to do.
When your mitochondria are strong, you feel awake and alert, and your body works. When they don’t have what they need to power you, you feel slow in your body and mind. Or worse, you end up with disease.
Your mitochondria power everything, including your meditation. You may think of meditation as a time to turn off, but your neurons have an incredibly active role in getting your brain waves into the beneficial state of deep meditation. In order to do what they need to do, neurons burn through a ton of energy — that your mitochondria provides.
Learning how to meditate and getting into a meditation groove is easier when your mitochondria are happy. Here are some ways to keep them tip-top.
Avoid kryptonite (aka energy zappers)
Kryptonite is anything that makes you weak. Your mitochondria are powerful in the sense that they create energy for your whole body, but they’re vulnerable to less-than-optimal conditions.
To maximize what your mitochondria can do, practice these habits:
- Avoid junk food. Your mitochondria are especially susceptible to toxic substances floating around your cells. If you’re eating well-sourced, real food, there’s less for your mitochondria to spend energy resisting so they can make energy for you.
- Seek out sunlight. It goes without saying that artificial lights emit wavelengths that do not match the ones that come from the sun. Your skin absorbs these wavelengths and exposes your mitochondria. Early in the day, sunlight on the skin can energize you for hours. Later in the day, blue wavelengths can disrupt your mitochondria and circadian rhythm, and mess with your sleep. Which brings us to…
- Get good sleep. Lack of sleep damages mitochondria. Here’s how to clean up your sleep habits.
- Minimize your toxins. Toxic substances, like heavy metals and mold toxins, don’t just interfere with mitochondria — they reduce the total number of mitochondria you have, and that messes with your energy and focus. Think of it as having extra battery packs. The more power you have, the longer you can go.
Incorporate high-intensity interval training
Moving is good for your mitochondria. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is better. Doing resistance training and high-intensity intervals HIIT increases mitochondrial function after just two weeks.
Add good fats
Your mitochondria work better when they have a steady supply of fuel. Undamaged medium-chain triglycerides, like those found in coconut oil, and grass-fed butter will keep them going.
Tools that make meditation easier
Technological advances have made it possible to determine whether or not you’ve achieved a meditative state. Whether you’re a newbie or a Zen Master, you’ll find benefits to measuring your progress and tracking it over time. Try these tools to help improve your meditation techniques.
If you’re looking for a little guidance while you meditate, then meditation apps are a great option. Some offer a simple timer, allowing you to choose how long you meditate for, while others give you guided meditations. Learn more about the best meditation apps on the market here.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
Your heart doesn’t beat in perfect rhythm, and how much your heart varies is a good indicator of your mental and emotional wellbeing. Heart rate variability (HRV) training teaches you to consciously control those variations in your heartbeat, which can influence how you feel on a daily basis and how you respond to stressors or uncomfortable emotions. It can also tell you how your nervous system responds to meditation. The overall goal is to train your sympathetic nervous system to chill out when you want it to. Learn more about heart rate variability here.
Meditation headbands, like the Muse, offer real-time feedback on how your meditation is going, second by second. When Muse senses that your mind is busy, it plays sounds of heavy winds. When your mind is quiet, it plays calm, gentle winds.
While you meditate, Muse logs what it senses. You can use this information to quantify your ability to calm yourself and focus. That way, you can track your progress over time and stay motivated.
Ready to start meditating? Try this 30-Day Meditation Challenge for Beginners (With Guided Meditations)
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