Learning how to still your body and calm your mind has all kinds of benefits. See which kind of meditation might prove useful for you.
: Always consult a physician before attempting to do any exercise or exercise plan.
Step 1: Lose weight Teach yourself to eat less by practicing mindfulness meditation, which encourages acute awareness of what you're feeling in the moment, without passing judgment. A group of binge eaters who applied mindfulness to their eating habits cut down on their food binges by more than half.
Step 2: Lower stress Lower your stress levels -- especially after a traumatic event -- with guided meditation. American soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder were helped by yoga nidra, a form of guided meditation that brings about deep relaxation.
Step 3: Treat chronic pain Get relief from chronic pain with qigong, which combines slow movements with breathing techniques and meditation.
Step 4: Reduce your heart attack risk Lower your risk of having a coronary or stroke. People at high risk for heart disease who practiced transcendental meditation -- sitting quietly and focusing on a mantra -- had fewer heart attacks and strokes than those who didn't, thanks to significant drops in blood pressure.
Step 5: Sleep better Sleep better by taking up tai chi, which has helped some insomnia sufferers. Tai chi has also been found to help diabetics control their glucose levels and osteoarthritis sufferers manage their pain.
TIP: Elderly people who practiced tai chi regularly had better results on a hand-eye coordination test than those who didn't.
Step 6: Relieve your aching back Get relief from chronic lower back pain by taking up Iyengar yoga, which ensures precise alignment during poses by encouraging the use of blankets, blocks, benches, and belts. Yoga done without props can be effective in reducing migraine pain and preventing the weight gain that often creeps up in middle age. Downward facing dog, anyone?
FACT: One study found people who meditate have more gray matter in the areas of the brain that regulate emotions, compared with people who don't meditate.