Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan, a petite Indian woman wrapped in a bright fuchsia sari, has a soft voice but a big presence. She holds the rapt attention of some 100 people who have come to learn how to meditate at the Art of Living Center in the District of Columbia. The type of meditation she teaches is called Sahaj, Sanskrit for effortless. It’s a mantra-based meditation she advises doing twice a day for 20 minutes — before eating. “Mental hygiene,” Narasimhan calls it. Sahaj is just one type of meditation. Others are based on compassion, mindfulness, yoga and transcendentalism, among others. While their aims are different, they share com\mon benefits.

Here are eight of those.
1. Meditation reduces stress
2. It improves concentration
3. It encourage a healthy lifestyle
4. The practice increase self-awareness
5. It increases happiness
6. Meditation increases acceptance
7. It slows aging
8. The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health.