In today’s environment, many people are suffering with the stress and anxiety of day to day living and are finding themselves unable to cope with life’s little emergencies. Prescription drugs are on the rise due to the increasing need for people to deal with their stress and anxiety. However, many people are searching for ways to be less stressed and live a happy and healthy life without drugs. If stress and anxiety are getting the best of you, then think about grabbing a mat and giving yoga and meditation a spin. With that in mind, this paper will take a look at the benefits of yoga and meditation to create a more peaceful and healthy lifestyle.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a centuries-old Eastern philosophy but what does a person normally think of when the word “yoga” is mentioned? Many will say they immediately think of uncompromising poses that only a young and nubile person could possibly achieve. Others may say that it is a practice that takes years of discipline and patience to acquire. While there may be a bit of truth in both these explanations, Shane Bance wrote an article on the definition of yoga and he defines it this way:
Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that dates back more than 500 years ago. The word "Yoga" came from the Sanskrit word "yuj" which means "to unite or integrate." Yoga then is about the union of a person's own consciousness and the universal consciousness. (Bance, 2012)
Yoga is a blend of postures and breathing techniques that are combined to reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation, at the same time, is also beneficial to relieving stress and creating balance in one’s life.
What is Meditation?
While a meditative state is a natural outcome of practicing yoga, meditation as defined by The Free Dictionary ” is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth” (Farlex, 2013). Although meditation is normally perceived as a spiritual practice, like yoga, it also offers many health benefits.
The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga combines physical exertion along with mental discipline to achieve a balance between mind and body. There are many benefits to practicing yoga such as improving one’s flexibility, toning muscles and reducing stress. Yoga is even getting the green light from many physicians as an alternative method for their patients suffering from a number of disorders and sports injuries. These disorders range from depression, heart disease, breast cancer, menopause, chronic back pain and even weight loss. Being physically fit, which yoga can accomplish, is as important as being mentally fit by including meditation to a daily routine.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a technique used by many as a way to relax mentally and detach from their everyday thoughts and emotions. Many sports enthusiasts and athletes are including meditation as part of their workout to improve concentration. Even though meditation has normally been recognized as a spiritual practice, there are also many health benefits one can enjoy. Health benefits of practicing meditation can include “lower heart rate, lowered levels of cortisol and lactate - two chemicals associated with stress, decreased anxiety and depression, decreased irritability and moodiness and improved learning ability and memory” (Merrifield, 2012). People who practice meditation on a consistent basis claim to sleep better at night and suffer from insomnia less frequently. Consider meditation as a time-out for adults!
Yoga and Meditation: A Perfect Union
Combining yoga and meditation or yoga meditation, is a beautiful way to relax and de-stress after a long day. The positions of yoga gently stretch the body and then allow your muscles to relax while meditation helps to alleviate the...