Transcendental Meditation? What Is It and How To Do It
There are plenty of different meditation practices out there. One of the most beneficial is known as Transcendental Meditation. Although that may seem like a mouthful, we’re here to break it down and explain why it can help you and how to do Transcendental Meditation on your own.
Although the practice is thousands of years old, it is still incredibly applicable to learning how to live in the moment, especially with all of the constant distractions thrown our way.
Transcendental Meditation 101
Transcendental meditation, sometimes referred to just as TM, draws on ancient, Vedic religious traditions that can be traced back to India thousands of years ago. It was really made “popular” by a Hindu monk known as Guru Dev (real name - Swami Brahmananda Saraswati), and then carried even further in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (one of his disciples) after Guru Dev’s death.
It was Yogi that developed the official term Transcendental Meditation, so that the practice could be distinguished not only from other styles of meditation, but also from any specific organized religion (even Hinduism).
Transcendental Meditation spread to the West in the late 1960s, likely due to the practice’s most well-known superstars, the Beatles. It lost most of its religious roots, as well, finally coming to be known as a practice helping to lead people to emotional, physical, and mental well-being. It only continues to gain in popularity, and is now openly practiced by celebrities like Pink, Kate Hudson, and even Clint Eastwood.
The Benefits of Practicing Transcendental Meditation
The basic technique involved with Transcendental Meditation seems simple. When learning how to do Transcendental Meditation, practitioners are asked to sit in meditation while also mentally repeating a Sanskrit word or phrase (known as a mantra).
The goal of the practice, if there is one, is to be able to achieve as much peace and calm as possible… both in the body and in the mind.
Through the repetition of the mantra, the mind is able to focus on that simple task and let go of all other thinking. In traditional Transcendental Meditation, your mantra will be given to you by a spiritual teacher and kept secret.
However, because so many people don’t have access to that, there are a few more commonly used mantras that we’ll discuss a little later in this article. Your mantra is meant to flow through your body with your breath, much like how other meditation styles require you to focus on the breath alone.
One of the interesting things about Transcendental Meditation is the studies that have been performed on it.
For instance, research has shown that it may reduce the speed of cognitive decline in the elderly, and it may also be able to reduce the effect that the hormones that are released stress (like cortisol) can have on the body. It really is an amazing practice, no matter how old you are.
Other potential results of a regular TM practice include benefits like a reduction in stress and anxiety, lowering the blood pressure, balancing mood, and enhancing intellectual abilities and creativity.
When your mind is more free and clear, you can accomplish more than you could possibly imagine. Transcendental Meditation helps you to remove all of the roadblocks to true peace, joy, and happiness so that you can stay present.
How To Start Your Own Transcendental Meditation Practice
True Transcendental Meditation should be practiced between 15 - 20 minutes at a time, twice a day, after an official initiation by a TM teacher. However, when learning how to do Transcendental Meditation on your own, you should meditate as long as you want until you really feel like you get the hang of it… whether that is 3 minutes or 45. You can also start with taking a PYM Mood Chew, which can help your body better help support your work toward greater mental relaxation.
Before you start meditating, you should research and choose a mantra that you feel comfortable with.
“Om” is the easiest to start with, and one of the powerful. Om is considered sacred, representing the self, wisdom, peace, and the universe as a whole.
“Sat Nam” is another useful one, meaning true identity, or “Ham-sa” which means “I am” and is used as a way of staying in the present moment.
If you’re able to, you can also seek out a TM teacher to provide you with your own (that should be kept secret to retain its power).
Many people choose to practice Transcendental Meditation while seated in a chair as opposed to sitting on the floor. You’ll want your feet solidly on the floor, your legs uncrossed, and your hands resting on your lap. Close your eyes, and take as many deep breaths as you need to be able to feel your body begin to relax. Once you’re feeling relaxed, open your eyes briefly and then close them again to signify that you are ready to practice.
For the meditation practice itself, simply think about your chosen mantra. Any time that your thoughts start to pop up and take over, just direct your attention right back to your mantra. Do this as many times as you need, and don’t judge yourself for thinking.
Once you’re ready to “come back” to the real world, start by gently wiggling your fingers and your toes to help your mind return to your body. Then, open your eyes. It’s helpful to sit for a few minutes afterward as well, to help you take in the peace that the practice creates. That feeling will follow you for the rest of the day, and lasts longer and longer the more you practice.
Transcendental Meditation has gone from an ancient Vedic practice to a popular Western tradition that is accessible to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation. With regular practice, it can help you learn to clear your mind and develop a sense of peace in both your body and your mind. What better reason is there to learn how to do Transcendental Meditation?
To help you learn to deal and cope with those moments of stress that we all go through from time to time, whether you practice meditation or not, PYM Mood Chews are there for you, too.