What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness can mean one of two things.
As a state of being, it is to be conscious or aware of something. Continuous present moment awareness sums it up best.
As a practice, it can refer to any one of a number of different methodologies stemming from the Buddhist tradition, which are aimed at developing the quality of mindfulness in the practitioner. Often, the practices are informed by something called The Five-Aggregate Model, a psychological model of the mind that informs all Buddhist philosophy and practise.
The context of the word mindfulness as a methodology derives from the practice of sati, a term from the language of Pali, most often associated with Theravada Buddhism, and an essential component of practices such as satipatthana, anapanasati and vipassana.
I've been a spiritual seeker for many years, and although everything I tried made a difference, it is Vedic meditation that caused the most profound shift in my life- at all levels and in a very short amount of time.
Dejana, Life Coach, London
How are mindfulness courses practised?
Mindfulness meditation courses are practiced while sitting with eyes closed, in a cross-legged position, either on the floor or on a cushion, with the back fully erect and straight. One’s attention is generally then placed on the naval or on the nostrils, and you allow your awareness to monitor any thought patterns or emotions as they come and go. In other methodologies, a process of counting numbers is used.
In many schools, if you lose your attention in thought, then you start again, until you’re able to complete your allotted time frame, at which time you may wish to extend the amount of time you do your practice for.
I had bought all the books, CDs and iPhone Apps out there on relaxation and mindfulness. None of them worked as well as Vedic meditation.
Alan, IT Manager, London
How does Vedic meditation compare with mindfulness classes?
It’s so easy
Whatever you’re looking for, it is likely that Vedic meditation will be at least as effective as mindfulness methodologies, if not more so. But rather than getting too consumed in the detail of which one gives you more, by far the biggest differentiator is Vedic meditation’s ease of practise.
Most meditations, including mindfulness, attempt to train the mind through thinking. In Vedic meditation, the idea is to go beyond thought and allow your brain to relax into a powerful state of awareness. This is achieved by virtue of a personalised mantra, a sound that will effortlessly transport you beyond thought into a space of restful awareness.
At times within the meditation, thought forms will appear, and unlike mindfulness, where you may have to start again, in this instance you simply repeat the mantra a few times gently within the mind and you return to that effortless state of transcendent awareness.
In Vedic meditation, there is less room for self-recrimination. There’s no need to beat yourself up because you ‘failed’ to stay focused on the breath, you roll with all outcomes and all you need to do is return to the mantra when your mind wanders. It’s so simple, everyone can do it, and everyone we’ve ever taught has been able to meditate successfully on his or her very first go.
Mindfulness is often regarded as being quite tricky, and is one of the reasons why meditation is reputed to be hard. Vedic meditation by contrast, is really, really easy. And if you find it easy to do and enjoyable, you will find it easy to sustain your practice into the long term.
Enjoy the experience
Another key aspect of Vedic meditation, which many people are very thankful for, is the fact that there is no need to sit with crossed legs or with a straight back. You simply sit comfortably, in whichever position you feel most at ease, and allow yourself to relax into a deep meditative state. It is actually much more effective to meditate this way and much more enjoyable!
It also means you can meditate easily wherever you are: on public transport to and from work, in a coffee shop between meetings, on a park bench with the sun on your face, and in every manner of places. You are free to meditate anywhere.
Easy to learn
Having your own customised sound also means Vedic meditation is quicker to master. On average, it takes about two months for the brainwave patterns of new meditators to match those of very advanced meditators. Thereafter, it’s simply a case of how much of that advanced programming you integrate into your day. Your brain will become ever more advanced in its programming when out in the world living your life.
It’s also very liberating to not be reliant on any person or electronic device to guide you. You can become totally self-sufficient in your practice in an 8-hour course spanning three consecutive days. This allows you to progress much faster than standard mindfulness courses.
Another aspect that people seem to really enjoy is the fact that there is one technique that serves all purposes. Vedic meditation gives us a tool that enables to go into this deepest possible state within. Our mind and body’s natural intelligence can then begin healing and developing themselves in an efficient and organic manner. In this way, Vedic meditation is much more simple to practise and it takes the anxiety out of having to choose which technique to apply at which time.
What’s the benefit?
Vedic meditation has also been shown, scientifically and anecdotally, to deliver a more holistic set of benefits and positive outcomes. It improves sleep, with a 42% reduction in sleep disorders . It has been shown to be 250% more effective at reducing anxiety than all other techniques, including mindfulness . And, most importantly of all, for those looking to be more present moment aware and mindful, multiple research studies have demonstrated that Vedic meditation is three to four times more effective at delivering improved present moment awareness compared with mindfulness.
This is also borne out by the more than 200 people we’ve taught who’ve done both Vedic meditation and mindfulness. Every single one of them has reported that this seems to give them more. Indeed, our students participated in a recent study on working memory and Vedic meditators significantly outperformed those doing mindfulness.
Many people who have done both also report Vedic meditation delivers a much more interesting level of experience that feels much more engaging and enjoyable. Breath work can be effective, but it can also be quite dull.
One of the reasons for this is that it is customised to each individual for optimal results. Each person gets their own unique sound, which will resonate particularly well with their nervous system. This helps you dive quickly into a deep meditative state, where the body can rest deeply and the mind enters a profound state of coherence which facilitates improved cognitive function and present moment awareness.
We are on hand to give you follow up support anytime you need and have 24 FREE group meditations a month and check in sessions which you are welcome to make use of for the rest of your life. This often proves to be very useful for people in helping them establish and master their practise. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some really interesting and cool people along the way.
Speed of progress
Vedic meditation also offers you more of an obvious pathway for progression if you wish to take your practice further. You can accelerate your development with ease.
Ultimately, there are many paths to wisdom and knowledge, it’s simply a case of finding the practice which most resonates with you.
Find out more
We hope you’ve found this useful. If you wish to explore Vedic meditation further, why not come along to a talk, or check out our courses to see if they resonate. Good luck in your journey.
I'm really loving having the meditation practice. I've realised now why what I was doing before wasn't working so well because every time I sat to meditate I had to make a choice about what I was doing which kept me in my conscious mind whereas now there is no choice to be made. I sit down and just practice the technique and I don't have to think about it.
Norah, Therapist, Devon