My mind is really busy. Will Vedic Meditation work for me?
It sure will. Vedic Meditation is not about silencing the mind, controlling the body, observing our emotions, or creating a perfect state of stillness. In fact, it's designed for people with busy minds (and lives!), and thoughts are a completely natural and expected part of the process. During the 4-day course, we receive a mantra, which is a specific and personal sound, and we learn how to use it in a way that naturally draws the mind inward to deeper and subtler states of awareness. With proper instruction, the whole process is quite easy, automatic, and enjoyable -- no effort, concentration, or focus involved.
My schedule is really busy. What if I don't have time to meditate?
This is always a little bit of a tough one to answer, especially because the fuller our schedules become, the more likely we are to feel the incredible benefits of a practice that allows us to rest and recover and to be more efficient and productive with the time that we feel we have. But, I get it. I truly do.
So, here's my short (and tough) answer: if you're not ready to prioritize the time to meditate each day, then don't learn how to meditate yet. It really is as simple as that.
Longer answer? Wait until you feel committed to having a daily practice, because when we do prioritize meditation for 20 minutes, twice a day, and the body experiences regular and consistent deep rest, that 3% allocation of time has a profoundly life-changing impact on the remaining 97% of our day. Plus, when you take the 4-day course, it's part of my job to help you figure out how to fit meditation into your life, whether the bulk of your time is spent in a boardroom or breastfeeding. So, if you're committed to learning Vedic Meditation but you're simply worried about how to fit it into your busy schedule, come and take the course, and we'll figure out the logistical details together.
How is Vedic Meditation different from other meditation techniques?
There are many different styles of meditation, and it's helpful to understand that they differ -- in practice, in outcome, and in how they're learned -- before choosing which style is best to incorporate into your life.
Vedic Meditation is a "transcending technique" that triggers the mind to naturally settle down and, as a result, allows the body to also settle down and experience profound levels of rest. Most other styles of meditation, on the other hand, require us to focus and control the mind through effort (concentration) or to think about the meaning of something (contemplation), both of which keep the mind and body in highly active states.
Another difference is that concentrative and contemplative techniques often stem from monastic traditions, whereas Vedic Meditation originates from a householder tradition and is designed to be practiced by active people who have families, jobs, and hobbies.
Finally, Vedic Meditation was born out of an oral tradition and is only ever taught in person, over four consecutive days, with a qualified teacher who performs a traditional gratitude ceremony just prior to you receiving a personal mantra on the first day. This is a nod to the wellspring of the tradition from which this meditation style came, and it's quite a sweet experience. Many other styles of meditation are taught in person, but often without the inclusion of this gratitude ceremony, and many of them can also be learned online, via apps, or from reading books.
I've heard that I can learn online or via an app, so why do I need a meditation teacher?
Online courses and apps can be a wonderful starting point for learning how to meditate, but I've yet to come across one that can answer things like "my big toe gets all tingly when I meditate in the morning, what's going on?" or "I am about to go on vacation with my family and I'm not quite sure how to fit in my meditations while I'm away -- any advice?"
You see, no two people have the same experience when it comes to their meditation journey -- even if they're practicing the exact same technique -- and having a qualified and experienced teacher to support and guide us through is truly invaluable. Learning in-person with a teacher lends itself to a richer and more enjoyable experience, and it also tends to lead to a more integrated, consistent, and sustainable daily practice.
Do I need to change my beliefs, values, lifestyle, or religion in order to practice Vedic Meditation?
Not at all. One of the great things about Vedic Meditation is that it is a practice-based technique, not a belief-based or lifestyle-based technique. This means that, regardless of our values, belief system, culture, diet and caffeine habit, fashion choices, spiritual practices, and religious or non-religious background, the only thing we need to do in order to enjoy the many benefits of Vedic Meditation is to actually sit down each day, close our eyes, and practice the technique exactly as we learned to in the 4-day course.
Will Vedic Meditation conflict with my other daily activities and practices?
Definitely not. Vedic Meditation is a simple mental technique that, when practiced properly, often enhances the other activities in our daily life. There's no need to suspend other practices, and we'll work together to figure out how to integrate Vedic Meditation comfortably into your current program of activities.
Do I have to sit in a strange cross-legged position or chant out loud?
Nope. When practicing Vedic Meditation, we sit silently with the eyes closed, always ensuring that our back is supported and that we're feeling comfortable. And, because this is an effortless mental technique, there's no chanting or loud breathing involved. To anyone watching, it looks as though we are simply resting.
*unless you want to try and twist your body like a pretzel, in which case...have at it! Though I don't recommend it ;-)
Is it safe to practice Vedic Meditation while pregnant?
Not only is it safe, but it's highly beneficial for both mother and baby. I absolutely recommend (and even encourage) pregnant women to learn Vedic Meditation. The body is very busy and active during pregnancy, and enjoying a daily meditation practice is a great way to get extra high-quality rest during this precious time. In addition to helping the body maintain optimum health, Vedic Meditation produces a yummy cocktail of bliss chemistry that not only feels good throughout the day for Mama, but it also permeates the placental barrier and has an incredibly positive effect on the development of your growing bub.
Will it take years for me to master?
Not at all. We'll get you meditating during our very first session, and, by the end of the 4-day course, you will be completely self-sufficient and able to meditate on your own. Anytime. Anywhere.
And, should you want a little company or some extra support to help you stay on track with your practice, you are always welcome to join us for weekly group meditation and knowledge sessions.
How long until I feel the benefits?
Many people report feeling calmer, sleeping better, and having a greater sense of physical energy and mental clarity within the first few weeks of meditating, and some even feel a difference in their mind and body during their first experience of meditating. Sometimes these shifts feel dramatic and other times they may feel more gradual over time, depending on how much stress is in our system. The more stress and fatigue in the body when we learn to meditate, the more dramatic and easily recognizable the benefits and shifts will be in the early days. And even though this contrast provides a heightened awareness of the benefits, the truth is that the benefits begin from our very first meditation and are cumulative over time, increasing exponentially as we practice daily, even if we can't identify them right away.
What is the relationship between Vedic Meditation and “Transcendental Meditation,” as taught and promoted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi?
My teacher, Thom Knoles, was trained as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation (“TM”) by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ("Maharishi"), a revered spiritual teacher from the Shankaracharya lineage in India. Thom taught TM for over 25 years with organizations affiliated with Maharishi, and since 1997, Thom has continued to teach meditation as he learned it from Maharishi, but under the name "Vedic Meditation," and has done so independently and separately from the TM organizations.
Thom trained me to teach meditation in the same way that Maharishi trained him to teach meditation, and I continue to teach exactly as Thom trained me to. I teach Vedic Meditation and am not affiliated with the TM organizations or their current services and programs in any way. However, if you have learned Transcendental Meditation and are interested in connecting with Vedic Meditators in your area, please feel welcome tocontact me about joining group meditations, advanced courses, knowledge meetings, workshops, events, and retreats within the global Vedic Meditation community.
What does the scientific research say about this form of meditation?
The form of meditation that Thom Knoles taught for over 25 years with the TM organizations, referred to as “Transcendental Meditation," has been the subject of hundreds of scientific studies showing a wide range of benefits from regular practice. These studies, which refer to this form of meditation using the name “Transcendental Meditation” or “TM,” support the benefits obtainable from regular practice of Vedic Meditation. These benefits include:
- Relief from depression and anxiety
- Reduction in stress
- Improved response to stress
- Decreased insomnia
- Increased energy levels
- Higher levels of brain functioning
- Improved intelligence and creativity
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Improved academics, learning ability, and school behavior
- Benefits for special and remedial education
- Improved integration of personality and increased self esteem
- Improved experience of relating with others
- Faster reaction times and improved sports performance
- Improved immunity
- Normalization of weight
- Stabilization of blood pressure
- Stabilization of cholesterol levels
- Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and pre-diabetes
- Reduction in pain
- Decreased free radicals
- Decreased health care costs and utilization
- Increased longevity and reversal of aging
- Effective criminal rehabilitation
- Reduced use of alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances
Rachel Gross teaches Vedic Meditation and was trained to do so by Thom Knoles, who also teaches Vedic Meditation. Thom was trained as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation (“TM”) by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (“Maharishi”) and taught it for over 25 years with organizations affiliated with Maharishi. Since 1997, Thom has continued to teach meditation as he learned it from Maharishi and has done so independently and separately from the TM organizations. Rachel Gross is also an independent meditation teacher. She is not affiliated in any way with the Maharishi Foundation USA, or with any trademark, program, service, or organization that is affiliated with, or a licensee of, the Maharishi Foundation USA.
Vedic Meditation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical conditions you may be experiencing.
We value your privacy, which is why no personal data is EVER shared. With anyone. For any reason. Period.