We had heard that meditation is good for your health not only mentally but also for physical health. How does meditation improve our health? How is meditation good for health? In what facts? These are the main facts I want to share with you in this article.
As scientifically proven by over 3,000 studies on the benefits of meditation, there are many emotional, mental and physical advantages for health.
Meditation can reduce undesirable emotions such as anxiety, stress, fear, worry, depression and loneliness. In one study, about 400 students practicing in-class meditation program reported that they significantly felt reduction in depression, anxiety and stress. There is another conclusion that meditation may be effective to treat depression to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy.
A study also indicates that the practice of Open Monitoring Meditation such as Vipassana reduces the grey-matter density, which is related with anxiety and stress, of the brain. You can also get emotional benefits such as resistance against pain, optimism, relaxation and positive mood etc. It can also prevent you from emotional eating and smoking.
Meditation can make you to have better cognitive skill, creative thinking, decision making and problem solving. In addition, it can also help in increasing mental strength, focus, memory retention and recall.
Physically, meditation can improve health by promoting immune system, breathing and heart rates. It can also reduce heart and brain problems and blood pressure. Reduction in inflammatory disorders, asthma, premenstrual and menopausal syndrome can also be achieved.
Staying in a meditation centre
There are many methods of meditation. Among these, Open Monitoring Meditation such as Vipassana becomes the most popular. As Myanmar is being known as a country of Buddhists, at least one Vipassana Meditation Centre can be found in every town over the whole country. Some are small, some are medium and some are great. There are also many types of course for meditation such as short-term (about 3-7 days), medium-term (about 10 days – 1 month) and long-term (more than 1 month).
During courses, every meditation centre manages to have meditation schedule, eating schedule and standby doctors or healthcare workers and drugs. These centers are mostly led and founded by respectful Buddhist monks and composed with many experienced instructors, teachers and volunteers.
During a stay in a meditation centre, health conditions of meditators will be monitored and given treatment accordingly. You have to follow at least Eight Percepts of Buddhists as the ones who are observing Sabbath and can follow Nine or Ten if you wish. Therefore, you are not allowed to eat solid foods beyond noon. Fruit juices or something similar are arranged for all participants in the evening or night. So, your worries can be leave outside if you are a diabetics or having gastric diseases. Almost all the meditation centres in Myanmar have the same schedules. Every participant has to get up at 3:00 am. Breakfast is at 6:00 am and lunch is at 10:30 am. Time to sleep is 9:00 pm.
As emotional, mental and physical benefits can be achieved by meditation, meditation in a centre with experienced teachers is more likely to get those benefits.
Meditation Centres in Yangon
Here I want to introduce a few interesting meditation centres in Yangon:
Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre
It is located in No. 55-A, Kabaraye Pagoda Road, Yangon. Tradition is Vipassana using the Mahasi Sayardaw Method.
Dhamma Joti Vipassana Centre
It is located in Wingaba Yele Kyaung, Ngar Htat Kyi Pagoda Road, Bahan Township, Yangon. Tradition is Sayargyi U Ba Khin Method.
International Theravada Buddhist University
It is also a popular meditation centre in Yangon located at Dhammapala Hill, Mayangone Township, Yangon.
Panditarama Meditation Centre
It is another meditation centre with tradition of Vipassana using Mahasi Sayardaw Method. Teacher is Sayardaw U Pandita and located in No. 80-A, Thanlwin Road, Bahan Township, Yangon. There is a forest branch of this meditation centre specifically for Westerners.
Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha Meditation Centre (Buddha Sasana Nuggaha Organisation)
Its location is No. 16, Sasana Yeiktha Road, Yangon and tradition is Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation.