My thoughts on meditation

MEDITATION, Not just for Monks on a Mountain top…

The age old practise of Meditation is a scientific and well validated practise to help us look after our physical, mental and spiritual bodies … and it’s not just for monks on a mountain top.

Meditation is one of the parts (or limbs) of Yoga.

We in the West know Yoga to be postures on the mat, however Yoga is an 8 fold path to life. The other parts have to do with ethical and moral behaviour, Mind, Breathwork and Meditation which is a mental form of Yoga. 

Meditation takes us beyond the noisy chatter of the mind to a place where we can experience the stillness and silence. It is here we become acquainted with the true self, the silent witness and an alignment with the ground state of being with its infinite possibilities.

According to Yoga, we suffer because we are ignorant to our true nature beyond the physical and mental, and to the witnessing consciousness that is ever present. We can further understand this ‘witnessing consciousness’ by looking at Shankara’s map of the multi dimensional self.  

According to this Shankara, one of the great revivalists of ancient scientific thought, there are 3 primary layers of life:

Physical Body, Subtle Body and the Causal Body with each containing secondary layers.



Layers of life model given to Meditation Instructors, courtesy of The Chopra Centre


The layers within this Physical body is The environment, Personal body and Energy.

The layers within this Subtle body is The Mind, Ego and Intellect

The layers within this Causal body is The Personal, Collective and Universal Soul.

Learn more about this Layers of life model during the Primordial Sound Meditation Course.

We tend to think of these levels as separate, but they are not rigid as each layer is pervaded by the deeper layers. Meditation is key in helping us to freely traverse all these different layers to achieve a state of balance and integration. 


The Antidote to Stress

Anytime we encounter resistance to the fulfillment  of our needs and desires we lose balance, we experience activation of the Mindbody system. I will always refer to our Mind and our Body as MindBody or BodyMind to indicate that they are in reflections of the same consciousness. Chemical non synaptic communication forms the largest part of life regulating processes in the body, the mind is really spread throughout the body.

Our experience of threats to our safety, happiness or self esteem can cause a cascade of physical and psychological reactions such as increased heart, respiration, perspiration, stress hormones, reduction of anti ageing hormones, {sticky blood clotting cells} where the sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for Fight/Flight/Freeze. 

This cascade of physiological reactions developed right from the time our ancestors were facing environmental threats such as an attack from a sabre tooth tiger and was intended as a short term protection mechanism for survival and adaption to acute situations. 

In modern times, however, many of us are dealing with daily {psychosocial} stressors such as traffic jams, delivering work reports on time, caring for kids and elderly parents many of these ongoing states of chronic stress.

It’s this chronic state that is the issue as it perpetuates an inflammatory response in the body causing many health problems, such as Autoimmune illnesses.  Some kinds of cancer ,Migraine headaches, Depression and anxiety, Diabetes ,Obesity  and Memory loss according to Dr Chopra. Dr Kelly Brogan, Holistic Psychiatrist in her book a Mind of your own outlines how Depression is really a disorder of inflammation and not a neurotransmitter deficiency.

Mindfulness practises such as Meditation are key in mitigating stress induced responses. The restful awareness response brought on by Meditation has shown to be the antithesis of the Fight/Flight response.


Stress Response vs Restful Awareness

Fight /Flight/Freeze

Restful Awareness Response During Meditation

Increased heart rate

  Decreased heart rate

Increased blood pressure

  Decreased blood pressure

Increased perspiration

  Decreased perspiration

Increase stress hormones

  Decreased stress hormones

increase respiration

  Decreased respiration

Increased Platelet stickiness

  Reduced Platelet stickiness

Reduced anti ageing hormones     

  Increased anti ageing hormones

Weakened immunity

  Strengthened immunity


Slow Ageing

Elizabeth Blackburn a nobel winning scientist for her discovery of Telomeres. Telomeres are protective tips on our chromosomes, think of the tip on the end of a shoelace. As we age and during stress they tend to wear down and shorten. To be able to lengthen them or stop them shortening it involves improving lifestyle and managing chronic stress with better lifestyle choices such as with Food, Sleep, Movement, Breath work and practises such as Meditation.



Telomeres sit in an enzyme called Telomerase which protects and lengthens Telomeres.  Meditation has shown to increase the levels of Telomerase. Studies have shown that there are profound benefits after just a few daily practises of Meditation including increasing Telomerase, increase in genes responsible for self regulation and homeostasis which are essential for longevity.


Thoughts and Feelings matter

We are essentially an Electro-magnetic field of energy based on our thoughts and feelings. Most of what we think and feel are repetitive and locked in patterns of thinking developed from our early years. 

According to Vedic tradition every action (Karma) you perform creates a Memory (Sanskara) and every memory Creates a desire (Vasana). This is our Software for the Soul. 

Meditation can help us break this cycle by increasing our awareness of the choices we are making and connecting us to our body’s wisdom so we can ask how we are feeling about the choices we are making.


Primordial Sound Meditation

The Meditation I teach ,I learnt At the Chopra Centre some years ago at a time where I was yearning for something deeper. 

Primordial Sound Meditation is based on primordial sounds, the most basic sounds or vibrations of nature. There are 108 Primordial Sound mantras, derived from the work of ancient sages who recorded the vibrations of the universe in relation to the position of the moon. When you learn Primordial Sound Meditation, the personal mantra you receive is the sound that the universe was making at the time and place of your birth. It is a sacred and ancient form of Meditation, founded in the Vedic wisdom tradition of India and revived by The Chopra Centre.

Meditation has made an enormous impact on my life and on many of my client’s lives. As a therapist I have witnessed all of the benefits now demonstrated scientifically in the very clients I have taught to meditate.  Just as predicted by the science, within weeks of daily meditation my clients experience decreased anxiety and greater feelings of calm, and able to make conscious choices based on their deeper desires rather than their conditioned patterns. Of course the clients I see are learning to deal with mood issues and life’s challenges with a multi modal approach that involves diet and hydration, mindful movement, breath work, social support, sleep, and so on but never the less the evidence for Meditation is ample.

According to the Yoga sutras, Patanjali’s work, Yoga is the transformation into the divine presence with Meditation being key to moving us to greater and greater levels of awareness. 

I have found this age old practise to be healing and a way for me to journey into silence where I can rest in being. Our essential self is beyond thoughts which change every 3 seconds and beyond feelings. In between each thought is a field of silence which hold infinite possibility because we have the potential to choose any thought we consciously want to.


Starting a practise

There are many ways in which we can meditate and many ways in which we can learn to Meditate. Yoga or meditation classes are a good place to start or using guided meditations on apps or online videos, learning from a friend or by just sitting in silence…all of it is practise, consistent practise.

In essence Meditation is a key tool for life.

Learn Primordial Sound Meditation Online course BUTTON

Learn Primordial Sound Meditation with Avanti BUTTON


References and recommended reading

  • Acevedo, B.P., Pospos, S., & Lavretsky, H. (2016). The neural mechanisms of meditative practices: novel approaches for healthy aging. Current Behavior Neuroscience Reports, 3(4), 328-339.
  • Blackburn E., Epel E , 2017, The Telomere effect,Orion Publishing, UK
  • Chopra D., Simon D, 2004, Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, John Wiley and Sons, USA
  • Chopra D, 2008, Ageless Body Timeless Mind, Rider, UK
  • Chopra D, Tanzi R 2008, The Healing Self, Rider, UK
  • Chu, I.H., Wu, W.L., Lin, I.M., Chang, Y.K, Lin, Y.J., & Yang, P.C. (2017). Effects of yoga on heart rate variability and depressive symptoms in women: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1089/acm. 2016.0135.
  • Epel E, et al. 2016, Meditation and vacation effects have an impact on disease-associated molecular phenotypes, Transl Psychiatry 2016, e880; doi:10.1038/tp.2016.164 
  • Field, T. (2011). Yoga clinical research review. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 17(1), 1-8.
  • Lipton B, 2015, Biology of Belief, Hayhouse, US
  • Pert Candace, 1997, Molecules of Emotion, Simon and Schuster, USA
  • Prabhavananda Swami, Isherwood C,  1975, Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination Vedanta Press, USA

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed sapien quam. Sed dapibus est id enim facilisis, at posuere turpis adipiscing. Quisque sit amet dui dui.

Call To Action

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.