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Nefertemic

Meditation for Muscle Growth

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23724462

Meditating for 30 minutes before bed clears most cortisol from the system, which is a catabolic stress hormone: this allows for much more anabolic sleep. But most bodybuilders don't know about this free technique.

If you have any meditation music, experience or helpful tips to share about meditating for stress relief and bodybuilding, please share!

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The watered-down version of a confessionally Buddhist method (which is what mindfulness is) doesn't fit everyone, but calming meditation (found in several religions, including Buddhism) is more easily used for a non-religious or neutral purpose.

If stress relief is the goal, it could be worth trying to sit on a Japanese zafu (a rather hard and high pillow) or a very low meditation bench. Most westerners don't have the agility often found among South Asians and the Japanese, but any of those two aids, will make it easier to sit in the diamond pose. The diamond pose (if you use a sitting aid) will allow your low back to avoid arching, and it will make breathing effortless.

The trick with calming meditation is, to not try to achieve a meditative state, because a focus on what you want to achieve will fill your mind with mental chatter. Your inner mental chatter will calm down, if you observe the presence of mental chatter in a dispassionate way, and then return your focus on your own breathing. Don't feel guilt because mental chatter occur. Don't cling to the breathing either. As soon as attention to your breathing has helped you to return to a calm state, allow your focus on the breathing to wane, too. Most people need a few trial sessions with this method until something happens, but most people are able to go into a serene, calm state after 10 minutes, after a few tries. Most westerners need a slow meditative walk after about 15-20 minutes, in order to avoid their feet to go numb, and then return to their sitting aid for another 15-20 minutes of meditation.

Bodybuilders face a dilemma, when it comes to meditation and the diamond pose. If your calf training is very successful, you might become unable to use a meditation bench, but then try the use of a zafu instead. 

Calming meditation is not the same thing as visualizing meditation. Both methods have their own particular benefits, but the two methods don't serve the same purpose.

And last, not a warning as such, but a pointer: Prolonged use of calming meditation might cause forgotten, more or less traumatic, memories to re-surface. If you have a shrink to talk with about such things, this is something good, indeed, but do not expect all effects of calming meditation to be happy-go-lucky.

It is often a bad idea to try calming meditation (or any meditation) while on psychotropic medication. 

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Awesome feedback, thank you! Can you link to any online resources that you recommend/use for meditation? Including music, methodology, clinical evidence.

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1 hour ago, Nefertemic said:

Awesome feedback, thank you! Can you link to any online resources that you recommend/use for meditation? Including music, methodology, clinical evidence.

English is not my native tongue. I hope Anglophones knowledgeable in different meditation methods will help you with that.

The method I describe, and which is the one I have best experiences of, do not use music as an aid. That doesn't hinder you to invent another method with music, if your experience tell you that it is useful. Just let us call a spade a spade, and not mix up apples and oranges. Without a qualifier, the word 'meditation' might mean anything. Relaxing music may help some people, unused to meditation, to reach a state which is more relaxed than their everyday state of mind, which is good for them, but to fill your mind with music is still to force stimuli on your consciousness. If you are able to switch from music-induced relaxation into silent calming meditation after a while, it could be worth a try. 

Mindfulness (that related, but distinctly other, method mentioned in the report above) is not a miracle cure of everything. Some studies have found that it alleviates mild depression, but other studies have found that it might cause more severe cases of depression to become worse. One has to discern its usefulness from case to case. I think that the present hype about watered-down mindfulness cause less skilful instructors to carelessly guide persons who perhaps should stay away from meditation. Meditation is for many persons, but not for everyone, at least not at all times.

Mindfulness and calming meditation begin very similarly, but go in different directions after a while, at least the original Buddhist (not watered-down) version of mindfulness. It turns into analysis of transience, death and other somber subjects, which is fine if your aim is to practice Buddhism, but not necessarily fine if you want to explore health benefits of any meditation method, regardless of which one.

Focus on breath is more approachable for meditators of any worldview. I think that some practicioners of mindfulness use that one, too, but for preparatory purposes, not as a method in itself.

Oh. And I might add: The taller anyone is, the higher meditation bench (s)he needs. Don't buy (or put together) a meditation bench not suited for your height. The wrong height of bench might cause problem with your spine (short person on high bench) or pain in your quads (tall person on low bench).

Edited by Hialmar
size of bench, positive side and drawbacks of music
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Another addition. Sitting in diamond pose (modified with a sitting aid) is useful for most persons from the age of 18 upwards, and might be useful from the age of 16 or thereabout, but with some noticeable exceptions.

People with painful knee joints (often elderly people) shall not use this sitting position. A chair with a hard pillow sloping forward on the seat (formed like a square wedge) will function better for a person in this situation. The forward-sloping hard pillow will cause the low back to not arch, and that will make breathing easier.

Youngsters in the 14-20 range might be too restless to sit on a zafu or a meditation bench. The same might be true about some persons with ADHD, but remember that we are all individuals. If anyone is facing the problem of restlessness, it is better to sacrifice any benefits for breathing a diamond pose might have brought, and simply recline on a (hard) bed, a yoga mat or sleeping pad instead. 

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