8 Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Life

September 19, 2014 12:25 PM

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8 Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Life

Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan, a petite Indian woman wrapped in a bright fuchsia sari, has a soft voice but a big presence. She holds the rapt attention of some 100 people who have come to learn how to meditate at the Art of Living Center in the District of Columbia. The type of meditation she teaches is called Sahaj, Sanskrit for effortless. It's a mantra-based meditation she advises doing twice a day for 20 minutes -- before eating. "Mental hygiene," Narasimhan calls it. Sahaj is just one type of meditation. Others are based on compassion, mindfulness, yoga and transcendentalism, among others. While their aims are different, they share common benefits. Here are eight of those.

"Meditation is mind without agitation," Narasimhan says. Stress creates agitation and is something most of us deal with on some level. And it's increasing, given the rising use of anti-anxiety medications, notes Stanford University researcher Emma Seppälä. Meditation allows people to take charge of ...

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