Meditation and sleeping are both essential for the body. While sleeping is essential, meditation can help you hone your senses and improve your body functions. Practice of meditation is not new to India. We have grown up seeing our elders practice meditation while offering prayers or as a discipline. But meditation is not sleeping and sleeping is not meditation. Both offer a unique set of health benefits. Let us quickly look at the difference between the two and how to differentiate the two.
Let us start with sleeping. There are many definitions but the simplest would be a state of rest in which the body is relatively inactive and in a state of suspended consciousness. Ordinarily, the muscles are relaxed and person is in a supine position.
Sleeping is essential for the human body and is a cyclical process. A person needs to sleep to restore the body and give it time to rejuvenate and repair the various parts of the body. Benefits of sleep – apart from being absolutely necessary, also include better body functions, a sharper intellect and overall health since body gets time to heal itself.
Meditation is process by which a person is able to achieve a level of relaxation. This could be through concentrating the effort and mind on a certain topic, seeking ‘shunya’ or nothingness or emptying the mind of all emotions. Whatever may be the process a person follows, he/she attains a stronger sense of wellbeing by de-stressing.
Much like sleeping, meditation also helps a person to re-energize. Various meditation works on the principle of removing stress or stress elements. The calming effect in turn helps a person sleep better, have a better state of mind. Yogic meditation also helps in gut health, keeping the body’s temperature under control and modulating heart rhythms and blood pressure.
Meditation and Sleeping: Doing it right
It is extremely important to understand that meditation is not about falling sleep. One thing may be is that you are meditating rather well. However, sometimes you might just be sleepy. It is hence important to keep the distinction. Here is how
Meditation is all about being relaxed and the first step of doing that is being comfortable. You need to find a posture and place which is comfortable for you and in which you can be for a longer duration. Most meditation experts, however, suggest against supine position as it is important to sit upright to be able to effectively channelize your energy.
Removing the clutter
In order to be able to effectively meditate, one must remove the clutter from their surroundings. It is important to understand and accept that mediation is about channelizing the energy around and within. The clutter around you may distract you – especially if you are just beginning the practice of meditation. Often people meditate in places of worship as they are large open spaces that have no clutter. If you are more spiritual than religious, try sitting in an empty room or a place which has the bare minimum.
Don’t start with an hour of meditation. Like exercise, meditation also needs to be built upon. Start small – even 5 or 10 minutes. Once you start, you would realize that keeping your eyes closed for 1 minute without thinking something might be an ask as well. Hence, start small and build on it. From 5 minutes, graduate to 20 or 30 minutes for a healthier and happier you.