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Might a centuries-old meditation technique eliminate stress and anxiety, protect your brain and lessen pain?
Words: Kathryn Blundell. Photograph Getty

Our love of Asian meditation is well established, and beeja (or bija) is the newest-oldest tradition to re-enter our psyche thanks to a new book The Efortless Mind (Simon & Schuster, £14.99), by meditation teacher Will Williams. Transcendental meditation (TM) is the most popular style of meditation globally and most of us will have had a go at it at some time. TM has its roots in beeja and its family of ‘sounds meditation’, which are also used in yoga traditions such as hatha and kundalini. The Sanskrit beeja translates as ‘seed’ and refers to mantras used during meditation to maintain focus. Beeja participants are given a personal mantra by their teacher (usually a word or group of words) and practitioners claim the sounds made by the mantras interact with your nervous system – or, if you want to get proper, vibrate diferent chakras – to create equilibrium, improving creativity, focus and sleep. According to Williams, his beeja techniques may get better results than mindfulness in terms of stress reduction, as beeja can help release thoughts.

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Introducing the brand new healthy! We’ve got a fresh new look and have spruced up our content, including challenging new franchises, a dedicated vegan section and inspiring real life stories. Our central theme this issue is mental wellbeing – a challenge that doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, even as we are getting better at talking about it. Hopefully our ‘safe space’ is just that – somewhere you can explore and develop your own mental health. We’ve also investigated the gender disparity in football, explored the growing (though illegal) trend of microdosing, and chatted to chef turned wellness advocate Lorraine Pascale about her own mental wellbeing journey. Plus, we’ve brought in an expert panel to review all our content, ensuring you’re getting the very best and latest health, fitness, food, beauty and wellness advice. Find all this and more in the new issue of healthy