About Guided Meditation
By:Evelyn Block

Guided meditation involves listening to instructions that are designed to bring your body and mind into a state of complete relaxation. The instructions can be live (given by another person), or a tape, DVD, download or CD that guides you through the process.

The Place
It is suggested that you find a comfortable place and that you follow your guided meditation in the same place each time. It can be lying down on the floor or sitting up in a chair or on a stool. In yoga classes, the guided meditation concludes the class and the participants are asked to lie on their mats with their eyes closed. In your own home, a comfortable armchair or stool is ideal. You don't want to make it so comfortable that you fall asleep, therefore a bed is less than ideal for most people unless meditation is part of their bedtime routine.

The Time
Meditation is easy to learn and therefore does not require a large time commitment. It can be fit in to almost anyone's schedule because it can be done almost anywhere. Many people choose to start their day with a guided meditation, while others like to do it before going to sleep at night. It can be performed any time of day and is often used as a relaxation break from routine at work or home.

What Happens During Meditation
If you are carefully attending to your guided meditation, your respiration will slow down, as will your heart rate. Your body should begin to relax as well and you will feel calmer and less anxious. Excess energy and tension should begin to dissipate.

A Typical Guided Meditation
You can think of a guided meditation as a story being told to you by someone. The guide is reading a story to you and you are listening carefully. Usually, you are first asked to pay attention to your breathing and watch as it slows and deepens. Sometimes the guide will take you through the parts of your body, one at a time, asking you to relax each part, starting from your head and working all the way down to your feet. Then a trip through your imagination will begin. Your mind follows the words and paints a picture of what you hear in your mind's eye. Images of the sea, lakes, mountains and other quiet, natural places are often used in guided imagery. The story continues as you relax and concludes with the intent of leaving you with a sense of calmness, balance and integrity.

Benefits of Meditation
During meditation, the body and mind have an opportunity to thoroughly relax. Your mind and thoughts are less scattered and you are able to focus better. It appears to help balance brain chemistry. You become more alert and aware of your surroundings and more energetic. Practitioners believe that calming the mind enhances the well-being of the body.