‘Tiny drops of water make a mighty ocean’ – is a saying we have all known since time immemorial. How spiritual practices improve the quality of your life lies on the lines of this saying. There are, as per general statistics, about 4000+ religions worldwide. There must be millions of different spiritual practices belonging to all these religions. To narrow things down, let us look at the most popular practices that are spiritual, that can help you lead a fulfilling life. By the end of this article, you will be able to learn various ways to know the real YOU.
1. Nature/ Travel:
Becoming One with nature is a way of becoming One with self. Let me back this up a little. There are always two aspects to ourselves – our body and our soul. When spiritual practices start to take an effect on you, you start becoming One with self. It’s almost like your body and soul are one and the same. There is no easy way to explain this connection in words, but let me give it my best shot. There are some religions in Asia that encourage their followers to go on pilgrimages, for days ranging from two to even a month. This is done with a goal to make them get in better touch with their spiritual practices.
2. Positive Thinking:
At the outset, this may come as a practice that is more psychological in nature, than spiritual. But deeper analysis will make us realize that the way to improve the quality of our life is to improve the quality of our thoughts. Positive thinking can change your life in ways that are unimaginable. Optimism always brings out the best in you, helps you focus better and mainly, gives you a clarity on what you must do next. Always try to see the better in every situation. Removal of negativity makes you realize your goal with a greater sense of attainability.
There are many inspiring works by various scholars and Gurus that we may get our hands on. Reading plays a major part in guiding us and helping us connect with the universe. It improves concentration. You may even kick start your day by reading a few pages of a motivational book. This way, you can begin your day with lots of positivity. Ending your day by reading a book can also be helpful. This way you get rid of a lot of negative thoughts and forget all the stress you’ve had during the day.
This popular method is used by millions worldwide to achieve mental peace. Achieving mental peace is the first step to improve your spiritual health. There are many types of meditation as prescribed by different religions, so we have to find out what’s the right type for us. We will see about the major types of meditation further in this article.
This is also one of the popular methods, to attain inner peace, next to meditation. This method is particularly useful as it improves both your physical and mental fitness. Of course, the physical effects that yoga would bring in your body are well-known. But there’s more to that than mere physical well-being. As I mentioned earlier, it brings out harmony in your body and spirit alike. There are many types of yoga, each with its own set of benefits. Based on what your needs are at the time, choose what’s the ideal yoga for you. We will also look at different types of yoga as we proceed.
First, let’s take a deeper look into meditation, what it is, what are its types and how it influences your spiritual health.
What is meditation?
It is an ancient practice, followed by various religions, which improves mental congruence. It involves techniques to calm your mind and stabilize your thoughts, and in turn reduce your stress. Meditation is all about changing your inner screams into inner peace. These days, with increase in digital dependency and increased stress, meditation is gaining popularity among people irrespective of their age or faith.
One important fact about meditation is that there is no wrong or right way to meditate. You go with the flow and do what works best for you. Although there are some twenty popular types of meditation, we will only look at six major categories in this article.
1. Mindfulness Meditation:
This is an ancient Buddhist technique and highly popular. This method involves observing your thoughts as they occur in your mind. You may note down any patterns in your thoughts as they may appear. This meditation is primarily done with an aim to improve your concentration. As you observe your thoughts, you may even follow your breath, or turn the focus of your thoughts to a single object to further improve your concentration. This method is particularly helpful to individuals who do not have a teacher (or Guru) to guide them, as it is a very simple process to learn.
2. Spiritual Meditation:
This meditation is common among major religions like Hinduism, Christianity and Taoism. This is, in simple terms, sitting in silence and trying to establish a connection with God. For better results, practitioners may even improve the fragrance of the place using incenses or essential oils. This is said to improve the depth of their prayer. This meditation is particularly effective when practiced indoors.
3. Focused Meditation:
By this time, it must have been pretty clear that all meditation involves concentration. As the name itself is self-explanatory, this meditation is particularly useful to people who seek better motivation in their lives. This type requires the practitioner to focus on one specific object or activity, like your breath, a candle flame, or even the vibrations of a gong.
4. Movement Meditation:
This is more of an active form of meditation, as the other types involves sitting in a place, while this involves movement. Gentle forms of motion like walking through a garden, taking care of plants, and even slow dancing come under this category. You won’t need a teacher or Guru for this type as well, as your guide will be your own movements.
5. Mantra Meditation:
It is a world-known fact that the primary meditation mantra is “Om.” The word has a much deeper power to it, than one may realize. This meditation is prominent among Hindus and Buddhists. Repeated chanting of this mantra is said to bring profound changes in one’s spiritual health.
6. Transcendental Meditation:
This is the most popular category of all and it is the only type that has gone through a series of scientific testing as well. This is similar to mantra meditation, but differs in the way that each practitioner gets his own mantra. These work better in the presence of a Guru. The results this meditation brings in your life is unfathomable.
These are the different categories of meditation. Next, let’s look at yoga, its purpose, types and benefits.
Yoga is an ancient Indian technique that connects the mind, body and soul of an individual. Its history may be traced back to a Pre-Vedic period in India. There are also multiple references of Yoga in the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata. There are 13 different types of yoga. Some major types are Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Ashtanga Yoga. The various benefits that one may attain from practicing yoga on a regular basis is highlighted below.
1. Balance your blood pressure levels.
2. Decrease insomnia.
3. Increase flexibility of the body.
4. Strengthen your muscles.
5. Improved breathing.
6. Improve energy.
7. Remove unwanted body fat.
8. Improve cardio health.
9. Improve blood circulation.
And these are sheer physical benefits that one may attain, in addition to the abundant mental benefits. A person who performs yoga on a regular basis is said to have a calmer mind, become less worried, and have a higher problem-solving capacity. The ultimate purpose of practicing yoga is to attain liberation.
There are many spiritual practices that help us lead a better life. One of the most underrated technique is, to everyone’s surprise, walking. Walking has its own benefits, let alone maintain physical fitness. It allows you to live in the moment, and forget everything else. Some people may prefer early morning walks, breathing in the fresh air and watching the birds begin their day. Another underrated technique is to clear your space. Your physical and mental space is often contaminated by your own thoughts or the auras of people around you. It is important to perform a cleanse from time to time by lighting incense or using essential oils. When the atmosphere of your living space improves, your spiritual health improves.
Apart from all these techniques, a digital detox is also required to grow spiritually. We are always consumed by technology that we fail to appreciate the much greater things in life. Technology is addictive and distracting. It is important to maintain a balanced dependency on gizmos, so it doesn’t affect your spiritual growth.