In the past few decades, most parts of the world have caught on to the benefits of yoga and meditation. However, these two practices are not just trends made popular in recent times by social media influencers. They have both been intertwined and in existence for centuries, even though studies and findings on their benefits have been relatively recent.
These studies have proven and highlighted the benefits of the two ancient practices and have caused them to soar in fame. Although many still see yoga as just a practice or physical exercise that is beneficial to the body, it is a lot more than that. Yoga, just like meditation, has a meditative and spiritual grounding.
In this article, we’ll look at these two popular stress reduction practices, how they intertwine, and some of their benefits.
Meditation and Yoga: The Relationship
If you’ve ever confused one for the other, it is because they are interrelated. Meditation and yoga go hand in hand, working together to connect our small self to our much higher soul self. We must first be aware of our bodies in order to forget about it and go deeper into meditation.
When we practice yoga and meditation, we raise our consciousness. This is because yoga helps us to bring the body to a state of calm by dissipating the restless energy we carry around. When this happens, we are prepared to become completely immersed in deep concentration for better meditation.
Put simply, yoga and meditation can be likened to sisters – each different in her own unique way, but at the same time, both are rooted in spirituality and their benefits on both the mind and the body.
Differences Between Yoga and Meditation
Despite their interrelated nature, there are some differences between yoga and mindfulness meditation. One major difference between the two is the physical aspect (asana) of yoga. It is basically a form of mindfulness that encourages the connection with present moment experience as the individual moves from one pose to the next or during extended poses.
Additionally, yoga’s physical element can help the individual work through pain, muscle tension, and stiffness. For individuals who may be unable to practice the usual sitting meditation techniques due to intense psychological and physical challenges, their pathway to less misery can be found through a physical asana practice that may integrate mindfulness techniques.
Often practiced to prepare the mind and body for maximum concentration and meditation, yoga postures come in several forms. The poses range from sun salutations, arm balances to calming, and relaxing poses. These poses are usually practiced at the beginning of a class to stimulate the nerves. To activate the parasympathetic response for more calm and peace, the poses mentioned above can be followed by poses such the supported or forward bends. In the end, the physical practice with an emphasis on mindfulness and movement becomes the path through emotional and physical tension as the body is prepared for a sitting meditation session.
That said, yoga poses are not only rejuvenating for the body, also stimulating for the brain. Yoga’s unique poses were designed to gradually prepare the body to meditate even though the link is not often mentioned.
Some Yoga and Meditation Benefits
Below are some several benefits of yoga
Back Pain Relief
Practicing yoga once or twice a week can help if you always have to deal with back pain. The stretching yoga poses and exercises can improve flexibility, unknot knotted muscle, and lessen the persistent pain.
Better Heart Health
Because the poses in yoga help with stimulating blood circulation around the body to arterial plaque elimination, yoga can help your heart rate stay regular, strong, and healthier. Plus, it is relaxing, lowers blood pressure, and decreases stress levels.
Helps in Curing Hangovers
Certain yoga poses, including the “bow”, “plow” and shoulder can help activate the thyroid gland, and this stimulates your metabolism, ridding your body of toxins. Because yoga helps blood circulation, your body and mind are refreshed by practicing some of the poses.
One of the most beneficial effects of meditation, it is famous for its ability to help stressed-out individuals cope better. When you meditate regularly, you reduce the stress response in the brain throughout the day.
Our body’s natural inflammatory responses become better trained to react in a calmer and more relaxed manner. This, therefore, means that the more you meditate, the more peaceful and more relaxed you become, and the better you become at handling stress. And in turn, elevated blood pressure is reduced, and it lessens your risk of developing cardiovascular issues.
Improved Emotional Health
Another well-known benefit of meditation is the improved mental focus and a general feeling of better emotional wellbeing from the deep relaxation. During most meditation sessions, you’re encouraged to focus on the good things in your life consciously. A brief but intense meditation session will have you feeling more positive, upbeat, and gives you an emotional boost.
Depression and Anxiety Management
Studies have repeatedly shown meditation to aid in the management of anxiety and depression disorders – a much-needed remedy in our world today. Mindful meditation, when practiced regularly, can reduce negative and critical thoughts, which has been linked to harmful or dysfunctional beliefs.
Meditation also helps in the management of anxiety and in a world where we are frequently faced with several external pressures – school, work, debt, bills, and so many others, the relaxing effects of meditation are essential for coping better.
Meditation has also been shown to boost the concentration of grey matter in the brain. When this happens, you’re better prepared to regulate and process emotions effectively. Improved grey matter concentration also means improved learning ability, awareness, and memory–all the qualities of a sharp mind.
There you go; yoga and meditation – two wellness practices that have been shown to influence our response to mental and physical health issues. Practicing both regularly will eventually lead to less suffering, worries, and attachment to life’s outcomes beyond our control.