Yoga and Meditation: Why It's important and How to Get Started
Yoga and Meditation: Why it's Important and How to Get Started
Yoga and meditation are two practices that have been around for centuries. Yoga has gained popularity in recent years as it is a proven way to strengthen the body, reduce stress levels, and improve overall well-being. It's also an effective workout without the strenuous exercise required by other forms of physical fitness! Meditation is another form of "mindfulness" that can help calm your mind and center you during stressful times. It's important to consider yoga as being helpful not only to your physical self but also to your brain development.
In this article, we will talk about why yoga & meditation are essential for our health and how to practice both!
For starters: What IS yoga anyway? Yoga--the word means "union"-is a spiritual science that has its roots in ancient India but now finds enthusiasts worldwide who are turning it into an international pastime. Yoga includes many different styles and philosophies practiced by individuals from various walks of life seeking wisdom and peace through stillness or activity; what they share is a common thread towards a balance between mind body spirit.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where individual trains him/herself to focus his mind entirely on one thing while ignoring outside distractions like thoughts about other tasks they need to do and worries about past events. It also includes techniques like yoga and breathing exercises.
Meditation aims to achieve a clear state of mind free from worry, fear, anger, or other negative emotions that can be debilitating in our day-to-day lives. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels by up to 65%.
There are many types of meditation as it cannot be defined simply through one technique but instead have different combinations depending on the individual's needs such as their culture, spiritual beliefs, age and physical health. Some popular methods include Transcendental Meditation (TM), Zen Buddhist mediation & Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs). What's important though is that your find the process enjoyable, when fun and education are combined is when the very best results take place.
How does Yoga Fit into this?
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that originated over 6000 years ago. It is an exercise system that combines postures or asanas, breathing techniques and mindfulness. Yoga improves the body's range of motion through stretching, strengthens muscles with resistance exercises and offers mental clarity from mindful meditation.
In addition to these benefits, yoga can also help your health in other ways:
- Strengthens the immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps with chronic pain relief like arthritis & fibromyalgia
Yoga Fit into Daily Routine: You don't need much time to practice yoga--you can get started doing just ten minutes per day! Remember to pay attention to how you're feeling during each session, so it becomes easier over time. The more you do it, the better your physical and mental stages.
Types of Yoga - Introduction
There are many different yoga types, depending on the skill level and what you're looking to get. There's yoga for beginners known as "Gentle Yoga" or "Nidra." This type is suitable if you have never done any exercise before and want a slow introduction to how it works. You can also find more advanced forms such as power yoga (with poses that require great strength) or hot vinyasa, which moves with much faster transitions between positions.
Hatha Yoga - This style focuses on breathing and poses to help you build strength and flexibility. It can be done at any time during your day! You can practice it while sitting in traffic or before dinner with some deep breaths for relaxation.
Vinyasa Yoga - Vsnyasis yoga typically involves alignment postures such as sun salutations (a series of exercises where we move our spine from side to side) and "standing" postures (posture involving standing). The word vinyasa means movement so this type of yoga is very fluid, which creates an active mind resulting in the development of both physical and mental health.
Ashtanga Yoga- Ashtanga yoga is a style of yoga that uses sequences to help you build strength and flexibility. It can be done by using blocks, belts or chairs for support.
Yin Yoga - This type of practice focuses on holding poses to allow the body's tension to release and will often include restorative postures such as seated forward bends or fully reclined "savasana."
Restorative Yoga- This is an easy flow class where we breathe deeply while lying down-- typically supported with props like bolsters, blankets and straps.
Power Yoga- This type of yoga has a fast-paced, athletic quality to it. Power Yoga is more challenging than other yoga styles, but it can be a great way to develop strength and endurance.
Restorative Yoga- Restorative yoga is a form of yoga that is very slow and gentle. It's most often practiced while lying down on the mat for a more relaxing experience.
Vinyasa Yoga- Vinyasa means "breath-synchronized movement," which in this case refers to an energetic style of yoga where you move from one pose to the next with fluidity and intention; vinyasa sequences are typically designed so that there will be no pauses between poses or breaks in the flow.
The benefits of yoga and meditation are wide-ranging. It can help to improve physical strength and flexibility, increase focus in the present moment, promote healthier emotional responses to challenges or stresses, increase disease resistance, reduce stress hormones like cortisol which contribute to a feeling of being overwhelmed by life's events. It's also something that can be fitted into those spare five minutes during the day.
"Yoga is union," says Beryl Bender Birch in her book on Yoga and spirituality for Women. "It is bringing together mind, body spirit." This idea-- that both inner waves of peace through stillness and joyous activity come from balance-- has been around since ancient times. Today many people find themselves striving towards this balance with yoga classes making a great way to socialize with friends or at home practice (or even just trying out some new poses), but the challenge they all share is gaining the knowledge and skills to start.
So what is yoga? As a whole, it's an ancient practice of exercise and meditation that has grown to include many disciplines, including Hatha Yoga. It may seem like the perfect regimen for people who want to get in shape and find balance--but without instruction or guidance, practicing this form can be as daunting as any new physical activity would be.