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A way to nourish and blossom the divinity within you...

Meditation - Hang out with your soul! - majisports

There is so much noise and distractions surrounding us these days. In the midst of a global pandemic, we are inundated with a tremendous amount of external stimuli. Daily news briefings about quarantines, kids scurrying around the house trying to stay entertained. Internal noise is also a nuisance: worrisome thoughts about the economy, stressed about embarking into town while maintaining social distance, sad about the overwhelming loss around the world.
The constant din is like a crashing cymbal in your mind; it is powerful and overwhelming. Is there any relief in the midst of the discord? Is it possible to experience a quieting of the noise? A resource that is widely available and crucial in this moment is the practice of meditation.

1. What Is Meditation?

Meditation is an ancient practice. First applied in prehistoric times and later documented in 1500 BC in India, this practice was seen as a way to "train the mind." One would direct the mind away from distracting thoughts to a clear a path toward Enlightenment. The Hindu and Vedic priests of these early times used these teachings as a way to practice mental quieting and physical stillness. It is in these moments of quiet that one's mind, ears, and eyes truly open to receive the truths about life and its purpose. The questions about the life journey are revealed to the individual who trains the mind for quiet and stillness. Students of meditation dedicate their lives to this practice; they are truly devoted to its intentions.

What Is Meditation? - majisports
 
Even today in these modern times, people still dedicate much effort and energy to this craft. For some, it is a lifelong journey. For the average person, though, is meditation a practice that is applicable to their lives? Yes, it is, and especially in these uncertain times. Meditation may seem intimidating at first, but it is an approachable practice that anyone can practice. To find balance during this time of COVID-19, it is important for people to embrace moments of stillness and quiet to successfully make it through each day.

2. Benefits of Meditation

The practice of meditation comes with many positive outcomes. Not only does it bring mental clarity, but it can also have a positive effect on your heart. Since these current times contribute to the increase in stress, heart rate and blood pressure are also on the rise. A meditative practice regulates the oxygen and blood flow in your body. The result, therefore, is a lowered blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is related to other health issues like heart disease, having a resource like meditation to reduce these health risks is ideal.

Benefits of Meditation - majisports
 
Meditation can help with mental health, too. As mentioned, stress levels have increased in the last few months. People are feeling more anxious and depressed during this pandemic. Folks are filing for unemployment, farmers cannot distribute produce, factories are shutting down, and the list continues. With these substantial changes in lifestyle, it is disrupting our normal sense of being. We feel unbalance and uncentered. We are all in need of something to help manage this shift in our mental stability.

3. How to Start Meditating: The role of breath?

There is a belief that to meditate, one sits for long periods of time and empties their mind. That is certainly one style of meditation, but is considered an advance style and takes years of practice. A simpler approach to meditation is to focus on your breath. It is a challenge as a beginner to this practice to empty your mind. Instead, pay attention to your breathing to experience a sense of mental clarity.

3.1 Pranayama: How to Breathe

The practice of breathing in yoga is called Pranayama. It is the foundation of any meditation practice. They are breathing exercises that have many remedies: to reduce the effects of a fever, to increase oxygen flow, to rejuvenate a tired body, to calm a racing heart, and more. In these stressful times, you can use Pranayama and meditation to ease the weary mind and embrace a healing quiet from within. To understand the word Pranayama, you can break it down into two parts: "prana" meaning "life force" and "yama" meaning the action given to the breath. Life force or life energy is represented through the breathing effort. Breathing slowly or quickly may be an action you attribute to your breath. Each has it's own intention. Overall, Pranayama is to energetically cleanse the body of any obstacles and barriers that restricts one from experiencing good health and eventual enlightenment.

Pranayama - How to Breathe - majisports
 

3.2 Ujjayi Pranayama: "Victorious Breath"

Here is a sample of a Pranayama breathing exercise.
Ujjayi (oo-JAH-yee) Pranayama means "Victorious Breath". Not only is the intention to bring new life and energy to your mind and body, but it calms you at the same time. Sit comfortably in a high back chair, on the side of your bed, or even on a cushion on the floor. It is important that you find a quiet location in your home to avoid any outside distractions. Close your eyes and simply notice that you are breathing. Take several deep breaths in and out to tune into the sensation of your breath moving through your body.

Ujjayi Pranayama; Victorious Breath - majisportsUjjayi Pranayama; Victorious Breath - majisports
  
Take a full inhale through your nose like you're smelling a fragrant rose, then exhale normally, Feel the air move through your nostrils. (this is not quite Ujjayi Breathing, but these are steps toward understanding the breathing exercise.) Next, open your mouth and breathe in deeply through your mouth like you're gasping for breath in slow motion. You may even feel a coolness hit the back of your through as you inhale. Exhale with your mouth open as if you're fogging a mirror. Here, you may feel a warmth leave your mouth. Do this serval times and notice how the muscles of your throat constrict and relax as you breathe (You are getting closer to Ujjayi). Continue to notice these sensations in your throat.
Now, close your mouth, but continue to breathe in deeply as if your mouth was open. Air will move through your nostrils, but the inhale-action will be generated with your throat muscles. Likewise, breathe out while keeping your mouth closed. You may produce a sound that resembles an ocean wave rolling onto the shore. This is Ujjayi Pranayama. Continue breathing in and out in this fashion. Over time and with much practice, you will be able to take very slow deep breaths in and controlled breaths out. This will result in a lowered heart rate and blood pressure. It is a soothing style of breath that helps to eliminate stress and anxiety.

4. Other Types of Meditation

Breath focus is one way to begin a meditative practice. Here are some other methods that also include the foundational support of the breath.

4.1 Mindfulness Meditation

This is a popular style of meditation today. It is the practice of focusing on one thing at a time. This could be your breath, like the Pranayama exercise, or it could be on a task, thought, or mantra. In normal circumstances, we are constantly being distracted by what is going on outside of ourselves. Mindfulness Meditation allows you to move those distractions to the periphery to focus solely on one thing. You will discover that it is a wonderful way to help clear and quiet your mind.

4.2. Music Meditation

Music Meditation - majisports
 
Find some quiet time for yourself, put on a set of headphones, turn on your favorite music, and allow those songs to take you on a relaxing journey. It is another way to tune out the outside distractions so that you can find healing in your mind and body.

4.3 Body Scan Meditation

Much like Mindfulness Meditation, the focus of this practice is to focus on one thing; in this case, pay close attention to a bodily sensation. This could be a dull pain in your lower back, sensitivity in your hands, or a nagging headache. When you pinpoint your mental focus (and breath) on this one area, the idea is to send a positive, healing thought to that area. Energetically, this spurs a flow of pain release, cleansing, and mental clarity.

4.4 Vipassana Meditation

As mentioned earlier, racing thoughts tend to be the source of our stress these days. Constant thinking about our economic future and the welfare of our families. The content of those thoughts. Vipassana means "seeing things as they really are." It is a meditative practice that encourages you to come to stillness and allow those racing thoughts to enter your consciousness. But instead of dwelling on them, use cleansing exhales to dismiss those plaguing thoughts from your mind. This, too, is an effective way to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. The result is seeing your life more truthfully and have a much more positive perspective.

4.5 Walking Meditation

Sometimes sitting still can be a difficult thing to do. You can also consider a Walking Meditation. This can be done right in your own home, in the neighborhood, or out in nature. Rather than walk to reach a specific destination, use the exercise to walk slowly and intentionally. Notice your feet touch the ground or grass. Observe the clouds in the sky. Listen to the sound of the birds in the trees. Turning to our natural world is very healing to the heart, mind, and soul.

5. Maji Sports Meditation Zafus & Bolsters

Our yoga bolsters are loved by yogis around the world who teach restorative yoga, which is a great way to help heal back pain by helping improve your muscles flexibility and strength. This is one of the favourite yoga props for those looking to stay nimble and help alleviate unnecessary stresses and discomfort to their temples.

 Maji Sports Meditation Zafus & Bolsters

Grab a meditation bolster now at Maji Sports to support your body in long held poses or long meditation sessions to create relaxation. Challenge your stability and coordination by using one of the most comfortable Yoga bolsters at Maji Sports!
Zafus/bolster is a body pillow used majorly for Iyengar, Prenatal or Restorative Yoga styles. It is also used for Kundalini Yoga Meditation or any meditation that needs us sitting upright.
100% cotton twill cover of the Meditation Zafus/Bolsters offer breathability and absorbency and they are completely free of allergens, synthetics and chemicals, hence, are extremely easy to care for. These bolsters are also available in trendy prints and colors.

The important tips to remember about meditation are:

  1. Be consistent: Meditation is something you need to practice daily in order to reap its benefits.
  2. Keep it Short: Do not feel obligated to sit for long periods of time like experienced practitioners. Just a few minutes per day (or even a few times per day) is very effective.
  3. Be Patient: Like all things, this takes time. You WILL feel immediate effects of meditation the first few times, but this is a practice you must sustain. To see and feel the long-lasting changes you desire, be patient. The noise will dissipate. The quiet will surmount. Embrace the stillness and quiet for profound self-healing.

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