Guided Transcendental Meditation

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YouTube has tremendous amount of content from cute cats to people doing silly things to people becoming candidates to Darwinism (i may explain in a future article). This article is not about that. It’s about my Top 10 favorite transcendental meditations that I have found on YouTube that I use regularly for various reasons: quick relaxation, power nap, reduce stress, deep sleep, improve concentration, focus and more.

Give them a try and let me know your favorites in the comments section. If you have other favorites that you have come across outside of these 10, please share them also for others to try and enjoy.

What is Transcendental Meditation?

The meditation techniques and exercises in the Headspace app are not the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) program, nor is the Headspace app endorsed by Maharishi Foundation USA, Inc., which teaches the Transcendental Meditation program. If you are interested in the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) program you can visit the Maharishi Foundation’s website.

You may have heard about the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation® program Transcendental Meditation (aka TM® or TM Meditation®) and wondered what it was all about. It’s a unique form of meditation taught by Maharishi Foundation that is practiced by 5 million people worldwide, including celebrities who frequently describe its benefits, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, David Lynch, and Howard Stern.

Meditation practice of any type can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical health. When it comes to meditation, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. There are literally hundreds of meditation techniques which includes encompassing practices from many different traditions, cultures, spiritual disciplines, knowledge traditions and religions. Each meditation type has a unique manner of practice, intent, purpose and effect. The scientific research on meditation confirms this as it shows unique psychological and physiological signatures for the various meditations and differing measured results. Reviewing the literature may be of value to you in deciding what practice you feel is best for you. Try for free

How Transcendental Meditation is practiced

The Transcendental Meditation® program is taught one-on-one by instructors trained and licensed by Maharishi Foundation in a personalized and individual manner.

The first step to practicing the Transcendental Meditation® program is finding a certified instructor. The TM® technique is only taught by certified TM® instructors from the Maharishi Foundation USA (a federally recognized non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization named for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, its founder). There are thousands of licensed Transcendental Meditation® centers and more than 40,000 teachers globally.

The practice involves sitting comfortably with one’s eyes closed for 20 minutes twice per day and engaging in the effortless practice as instructed.

Students are encouraged to practice twice a day, which often includes morning meditation, and the a second session is in the mid-afternoon or early evening.

Much has been documented on the benefits of twice-daily 20-minute meditation as performed during TM®. The Maharishi Foundation USA reports that more than 380 peer-reviewed research studies at medical schools worldwide (including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and UCLA), have appeared in more than 160 scientific journals.

TM® practitioners in a 5-year randomized controlled study published in 2012 on patients with established coronary heart disease were reportedly 48% less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than subjects in the control group. And research suggests TM® practice has “clinically meaningful” potential to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Research has also uncovered potential real-world applications for TM® with veterans, prisoners, and students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For example, studies link Tm’s® benefits to male and female prison populations (where it may also reduce recidivism among convicted felon parolees). A 2018 study published in Military Medicine showed that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found significant relief from their symptoms when they practiced Transcendental Meditation®. Finally, an exploratory study of students aged 11-14 with per-existing diagnoses of ADHD indicated that Transcendental Meditation® has the potential to reduce stress, anxiety, and stress-related ADHD symptoms within three months.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (“Maharishi”) is the founder of the Transcendental Meditation technique.

Maharishi began publicly teaching a Verdict-based meditation technique inspired by his teacher, a leading figure in the Vedic tradition, an ancient tradition of knowledge rooted in the sub-continent of India.

Director, musician, and fine artist David Lynch was inspired to create his foundation in 2005 to bring TM® to undeserved populations. Today the organization annually raises millions of dollars in donations, funding scholarships for TM® training for at-risk youth, HIV/AIDS patients, veterans, prisoners, and female victims of violence with its mission to prevent and eradicate “trauma and toxic stress among at-risk populations.”

“I started Transcendental Meditation® in 1973 and have not missed a single meditation ever since — twice a day, every day,” Lynch wrote in a letter published on the Foundation’s website. “It has given me effortless access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity, and happiness deep within.”

It’s a sentiment with which both comedian Jerry Seinfeld and radio host Howard Stern, two TM® practitioners for over 40 years, can relate. “You know how your phone has a charger?” Seinfeld said in an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, “TM® is like having a charger for your mind and body.”

“It’s the easiest thing I ever did,” Stern said in a 2011 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. “I have been doing it since I was 18. I love to do it after the show. I find it very relaxing.”

Get your own meditation practice started — and begin reaping benefits

Ultimately at Headspace we believe that it doesn’t matter which meditation technique you choose. What does matter, however, is that you choose a style that allows you to integrate the qualities you experience during meditation practice — calm, empathy, mindfulness — into the rest of your day.

If you’re curious about trying mindfulness meditation, you can try a session when you register for the Headspace app. You’ll see that the key to any meditation practice is regular practice – just like any exercise. For example, 10 days of Headspace app use has been proven to reduce signs of stress and irritability, while improving focus, empathy, and life and job satisfaction. Whether you practice our meditation for one-minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes or, even for an entire hour is up to you; just do what feels right. And if one type of meditation just feels right to you; that’s what matters.

If you’re looking for an introduction to different types of meditation, check out the 10-day beginner’s course meditation essentials — available for free in the Headspace app. From there, once you gain more experience and confidence, you can explore the whole library of exercises, covering everything from sleep, compassion, and sports to anger, stress, focus, and more. Get started today! Sign up for Headspace for free, and start reaping the benefits of a meditation practice.

Types of meditation

Experienced mediators agree: a daily meditation practice can have significant benefits for mental and physical health. But one thing they probably won’t agree on? The most effective types of meditation. That’s simply because it’s different for everyone. After all, there are literally hundreds of meditation techniques encompassing practices from different traditions, cultures, spiritual disciplines, and religions. There’s not a universally accepted “best” or “most effective” type; rather, it is our individual preference that helps us choose the one (or ones) that works best for us. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more popular types of meditation to get you started.Try for free

Choosing between guided and unguided meditation is often the first step in starting a meditation practice. In guided meditation, a teacher guides you through the basic steps of the practice, either in person or via a meditation app like Headspace. This type of meditation is particularly useful for beginners because the teacher is experienced and trusted, and their guidance can be key to helping those who are new to the practice get the most out of the experience. Most guided meditations follow a similar format: the teacher explains how the mind behaves during meditation, leads you through a particular meditation technique, and then suggests how to integrate this technique into your everyday life.

In unguided meditation — also called silent meditation — you meditate alone, without someone else explaining the process. For some people, unguided meditation involves simply sitting in quiet and paying attention to the body and thoughts for a set period of time. For others, it involves using some of the techniques they’ve learned from previous

Calming vs. insight meditation

Meditation techniques are often described as being either calming or insight meditation. The intention of calming meditation is to cultivate a quieter, more peaceful state of mind and improved concentration. Most calming meditation practices involve focusing on a particular object — your breath, a mantra, a visualization, a physical object, even physical sensations within your body — and returning to that object whenever you get distracted or notice your mind starting to wander.

Alternatively, people who practice insight meditation often set an intention to transform their minds by developing qualities such as wisdom and compassion. Insight meditation involves focusing on the breath and being aware of and noting all the physical and mental sensations that arise.

Here’s the interesting thing about meditation: it doesn’t have to be one or the other, calming or insight. In fact, many meditation techniques — including the ones in the Headspace app — actually combine elements of both. In addition to helping us find calmness and mental quiet, these meditations also help improve feelings of well-being, happiness, and empathy for others.

Types of meditation used in the Headspace app

The techniques in the Headspace app stem from both the Burmese and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, even though some of the names have been changed from the original translation to make them more accessible. Currently, there are eight core techniques, combining elements of both insight (vipassana) and calming (samatha) meditations in most of the 10- or 30-day courses.

There are many definitions of meditation, but at Headspace, it is defined as a formal exercise to cultivate compassion and awareness, with these qualities being seen as the foundation to a healthy and happy life. It is through the practice of the specific techniques listed below that we build stability of mind over time.

  • Focused attention. This form of meditation is fairly straightforward because it uses the object of our breath to focus attention, to anchor the mind and maintain awareness. Notice your mind starting to wander? Simply return to the breath.
  • Body scan. Often, our body is doing one thing while our mind is elsewhere. This technique is designed to sync body and mind by performing a mental scan, from the top of the head to the end of your toes. Imagine a photocopier light slowly moving over your body, bringing attention to any discomfort, sensations, tensions, or aches that exist.
  • Noting. Whether you are focusing on the breath or simply sitting in quiet, this technique involves specifically “noting” what’s distracting the mind, to the extent that we are so caught up in a thought or emotion that we’ve lost our awareness of the breath (or whatever the object of focus is). We “note” the thought or feeling to restore awareness, create a bit of space, as a way of letting go, and to learn more about our thought patterns, tendencies, and conditioning.
  • Visualization. This type of meditation invites you to picture something or someone in your mind — we are essentially replacing the breath with a mental image as the object of focus. It can feel challenging to some, but it’s really no different than vividly recalling the face of an old friend naturally, without effort. And so it is with meditation. By conjuring a specific visualization, we not only get to observe the mind, but we also get to focus on any physical sensations.
  • Loving kindness. Focusing on the image of different people — it doesn’t matter if we know them or not, if we like them or not — is integral to this technique. We direct positive energy and goodwill first to ourselves, and then, as a ripple effect, to others, which helps us let go of unhappy feelings we may be experiencing. Below is a video with more instruction on how to use the loving kindness meditation technique.
  • Skillful compassion. Similar to the loving kindness meditation technique, this one involves focusing on a person you know or love and paying attention to the sensations arising from the heart. By opening our hearts and minds for the benefit of other people, we have the opportunity to foster a feeling of happiness in our own mind.
  • Resting awareness. Rather than focusing on the breath or a visualization, this technique involves letting the mind truly rest; thoughts may enter, but instead of distracting you and pulling you away from the present moment, they simply drift away.
  • Reflection. This technique invites you to ask yourself a question: perhaps something such as, “What are you most grateful for?” (Note that asking yourself a question using the second person — you — will discourage the intellectual mind from trying to answer it rationally.) Be aware of the feelings, not the thoughts, that arise when you focus on the question.

Some other types of meditation

The above list of meditation styles is far from exhaustive. Here are some other forms of this ancient practice that you may want to explore. (Note: Many of the following techniques should be learned with an experienced — and in some cases certified — teacher to be most effective.)

  • Zen meditation. This ancient Buddhist tradition involves sitting upright and following the breath, particularly the way it moves in and out of the belly, and letting the mind “just be.” Its aim is to foster a sense of presence and alertness.
  • Mantra meditation. This technique is similar to focused attention meditation, although instead of focusing on the breath to quiet the mind, you focus on a mantra (which could be a syllable, word, or phrase). The idea here is that the subtle vibrations associated with the repeated mantra can encourage positive change — maybe a boost in self-confidence or increased compassion for others — and help you enter an even deeper state of meditation.
  • Transcendental meditation. The meditation techniques and exercises in the Headspace app are not the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) program, nor is the Headspace app endorsed by Maharishi Foundation USA, Inc., which teaches the Transcendental Meditation program. If you are interested in the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) program you can visit the Maharishi Foundation’s website. The Transcendental Meditation® program is taught one-on-one by instructors trained and licensed by Maharishi Foundation in a personalized and individual manner. The practice involves sitting comfortably with one’s eyes closed for 20 minutes twice per day and engaging in the effortless practice as instructed. Students are encouraged to practice twice a day, which often includes morning meditation, and the a second session is in the mid-afternoon or early evening.
  • Yoga meditation. Just as there are many different types of meditation, so too exist many styles of yoga — particularly Kundalini yoga — that are aimed at strengthening the nervous system, so we are better able to cope with everyday stress and problems. However, in order to integrate the intramuscular changes that happen during yoga and gain the greatest benefit from the practice, we must take time for savasana or Shavasana, known as corpse or relaxation pose, to relax the body and relieve tension.
  • Vipassana meditation. Another ancient tradition, this one invites you to use your concentration to intensely examine certain aspects of your existence with the intention of eventual transformation. Vipassana pushes us to find “insight into the true nature of reality,” via contemplation of several key areas of human existence: “suffering, unsatisfactorily,” “impermanence,” “non-self,” and “emptiness.”
  • Chakra meditation. This meditation technique is aimed at keeping the body’s core chakras — centers of energy — open, aligned, and fluid. Blocked or imbalanced chakras can result in uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms, but chakra meditation can help to bring all of them back into balance.
  • Ongoing meditation. This is an ancient and powerful Chinese practice that involves harnessing energy in the body by allowing energy pathways — called “meridians” — to be open and fluid. Sending this energy inward during meditation is thought to help the body heal and function; sending the energy outward can help to heal another person.
  • Sound bath meditation. This form uses bowls, gongs, and other instruments to create sound vibrations that help focus the mind and bring it into a more relaxed state.

Did one or more of these meditation techniques speak to you? Remember, ultimately it doesn’t matter which technique you choose. What does matter, however, is that you choose a style that allows you to integrate the qualities you experience during meditation practice — calm, empathy, mindfulness — into the rest of your day.

If you’re looking for an introduction to different types of meditation, check out the 10-day beginner’s course on the essentials of meditation — available for free in the Headspace app. From there, once you gain more experience and confidence, you can explore the whole library of content, covering everything from sleep, compassion, and sports to anger, stress, focus, and more. Get started today!

How to Do Transcendental Meditation: Meditation for Busy Minds

By now, what may have once been considered something for the hippy set in American culture is mainstream. From wellness enthusiasts to high-performance athletes and everyone in between, the ancient practice of meditation is “in.” Unlike most passing trends, however, there is a growing body of science to bolster its positive health benefits and therefore increasing interest of a regular meditation practice. These benefits can help change the way we approach life and handle day-to-day challenges, which is something ancient cultures have known long before Americans folded the practice into our own wellness routines.

According to Time magazine, the practice has “religious ties in ancient Egypt and China, as well as Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and, of course, Buddhism.”

Types of Meditation Techniques

At least by modern American practices, meditation is widely used as a relaxation tool, like a massage for the mind. And just like there are many ways to compose a kale salad, meditation comes with a variety of techniques. For example, meditation app Headspace outlines 16 different kinds and includes techniques like focused attention, visualization, and one particular type called Transcendental Meditation (TM), which has captured the interest of celebrities since The Beatles got into it in the 1960’s, according to GQ magazine. The Transcendental Meditation website makes a point to state that TM is “not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle.” Instead, it is a method for achieving a greater sense of peace and calm into daily life, not to mention the benefit of being present (which, it seems, is harder to do these days.) Whether you’re searching for greater meaning, seeking relief from anxiety, or hoping to slow down rapid thoughts, meditation may help.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) may seem intimidating—especially when newbies hear that TM asks practitioners to sit and meditate for 20 minutes—though Shel Pink, founder of Spa Ritual and author of “Slow Beauty,” says it’s surprisingly accessible. “Anyone can practice TM. … [it] is an effortless and evidence-based meditation practice,” she tells MyDomaine. Pink has practiced TM for 19 years as part of her holistic lifestyle.

Transcendental Meditation is Mantra Meditation

The main difference between Transcendental Meditation and other forms of meditation is the mantra you’re asked to repeat during a meditation session. “In TM, the mantra, used as the vehicle to help the mind settle down, is a meaningless sound versus other types of meditation that use words, phrases, or visualizations during the meditation practice,” says Pink. By focusing exclusively on your mantra, you aim to achieve a state of perfect stillness and consciousness.

While some meditation practices encourage emptying the mind of all thoughts, TM encourages thoughts to come and go, like the passive activity of watching a cloud float by. According to Pink, this is an incredible strategy to manage daily anxieties created by worrisome thinking. “It teaches you how to create a space between you and your thoughts and become an observer.”Decor & Trends

How to Do Transcendental Meditation

The journey of Transcendental Meditation begins by finding a certified TM teacher and taking courses to learn the practice. Teachers are certified by Maharishi Foundation USA, a federally-recognized non-profit organization. As an experienced practitioner, Pink meditates twice-daily for 20 minutes. Here’s what a typical practice looks like, according to Pink:

1. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the ground and hands in your lap. Leave your legs and arms uncrossed.

2. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to relax the body.

3. Open your eyes, and then close them again. Your eyes will remain closed during the 20-minute practice.

4. Repeat a mantra in your mind. This is typically a Sanskrit sound learned from a TM teacher.

5. When you recognize you’re having a thought, simply return to the mantra.

6. After 20 minutes, begin to move your fingers and toes to ease yourself back to the world.

7. Open your eyes.

8. Sit for a few more minutes until you feel ready to continue with your day.

More Benefits of Meditation

“When I practice TM, I feel the stress melting away from my body. I feel a sense of calm, and when I’m done, I have more energy and feel more focused and productive. I am more peaceful, proactive, and less reactive to situations beyond my control,” says Pink. According to the Cleveland Clinic, while research on the benefits of meditation are ongoing, existing research indicates a regular meditation practice can help “improve sleep, improve pain management… improve self-esteem, improve concentration,” and even “decrease menopausal symptoms, and reduce the severity of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.”

Says Pink, “It is a tool to help people achieve a positive state of mind and a deep sense of inner peace for optimal health.”

Transcendental Meditation

Introduction

A spiritual guru named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced the Western world to Transcendental Meditation® (TM) in the late 1950s. This type of meditation has become quite popular – according to the Transcendental Meditation® Movement, there are now well over six million people practicing this type of Meditation. 

It’s quite unusual for a meditation method to be legally protected in this way, and there are those who criticize the TM® movement for being so corporate in their mentality.

Make no mistake, the Transcendental Meditation® movement is a business, not a charity. Their course fees are quite steep, but they do take a very professional and thorough approach to teaching meditation.

The complete TM® technique is taught in a seven-step course that consists of introductory lectures, personal interviews and a number of instruction sessions. Personal instruction sessions conclude with each student being given a mantra which they then use for their meditation. Long term support is also provided to students of the TM program. 

But what exactly is Transcendental Meditation®?

Speaking broadly, the TM technique is usually described as a form of mantra meditation.

According to Maharishi Maharishi yogi, any meaningless sound can be used as a mantra for the purpose of training the mind to become sharp, but in the TM course, “special” mantras are selected because they have the “efficacy of producing vibrations whose effects are found to be congenial to our way of life. This is the scientific reason why we do not select any words at random. For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods.”

The exact nature of these mantras and the details of the TM® training program are closely guarded secrets (yet another symptom of their corporate approach to meditation teaching), which is why free lessons on transcendental meditation® are all but impossible to come by. According to the official TM web sites, the TM® technique can only be taught by authorized teachers, and the terms “Transcendental Meditation” and “TM” are trademarks that are owned by Maharishi Foundation Ltd. 

What is “transcendence”?

Transcendental awareness is usually described as the “fourth major state of awareness”. The three states you are probably most familiar with are the waking state, the dreaming state, and the state of deep dreamless sleep. A state of transcendence is said to be achieved when the mind relaxes and a state of “restful alertness” is accomplished.

During transcendental meditation, the mind gradually becomes quieter until it is no longer entertaining any thoughts or perceptions, but instead experiences an awareness of pure consciousness…a state of “amness” or “pure being”.

Transcendental awareness is the essential goal of many types of meditation, not just TM®. So even though the the term “Transcendental Meditation” has been trademarked, the actual experience of transcendence can never be. The experience of transcendental awareness is your right as a human being, and many types of meditation can help you achieve this blissful state. 

Why is Transcendental Meditation so Popular?

Firstly, there’s no denying that TM® is an effective type of meditation, and that it is taught by professionals who are well trained in what they do.

Secondly, a vast amount of research into the physiological and psychological effects of transcendental meditation® has been undertaken during recent decades, providing ample evidence of the benefits of this form of meditation.

Thirdly, TM® was one of the first types of meditation to be taught in the west and it blossomed during the spiritual revolution of the 1960’s.

It must also be said that the TM® movement has been marketed particularly well throughout the years, and many would argue that the mystique and secrecy surrounding TM® teachings have actually added to the appeal of the TM® movement. It has become a highly commercialized organization that declares that its teachings yield results that are superior to other types of meditation. Whether or not this is a truth or another form of marketing hype is anyone’s guess. 

What’s YOUR favorite type of meditation?

Do you have a favorite type of meditation? Or is there a type of meditation that you just can’t stand? Have you ever had any special experiences while practicing a certain type of meditation, or do you have a success story to share?

The Transcendental Meditation technique, (or TM technique), is a form of mantra meditation introduced in India in 1955 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

It is reported to be the most widely researched and one of the most widely practiced meditation techniques.

Taught in a standardized seven-step course by certified teachers, the technique involves the use of a sound or mantra and is practiced, while sitting comfortably, for 15-20 minutes, twice per day.’

The Transcendental Meditation Technique


During the initial personal instruction session the student is given a specific sound, called a mantra. The sound given has no meaning assigned to it and is utilized as a thought in the meditation process. Use of this thought allows the individual’s attention to be directed naturally from an active style of functioning to a less active or quieter style of mental activity.

According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, as the mind quiets down the practitioner can become aware that the thought itself is transcended, and can have the experience of what Maharishi calls the ‘source of the thought’, ‘pure awareness’ or ‘transcendental Being’.

One important distinction between TM and other practices involving mantras is the way the sound is used. In Transcendental Meditation the mantra has no associations and is not chanted – either verbally or mentally. It is a vehicle on which the attention rests

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