How Yoga and Meditation Balance Your Mind and Body
Yoga and meditation are both great activities for bringing your mind and body into harmony with one another. They work to keep you calm and centered and may even help shield you from disorders of the mind and body–especially anxiety and panic disorders.
Yoga and meditation can be practiced either separately or together, although in order to fully gain the benefits of a yoga practice, you’d technically be meditating while you’re centered on your yoga breathing. So the meditation aspect will come a little more naturally as a result.
Good for Both the Mind and the Body
The mind and body are often seen as separate entities, but they’re definitely intertwined. It’s impossible to separate the functions of one from the other.
For example, if you struggle with anxiety, you know what happens in your mind. Your thoughts race and you tend to become a bit irrational with endless “what ifs.” At the same time, anxiety also has a profound effect on your body. Your heart beats faster, your muscles tighten, you may begin to sweat, etc.
Yoga and meditation allow you to focus on being centered on your breath so you can breathe deeply and relax, helping both body and mind. Both practices require some a little practice in order to reap the benefits. However, when you stick with it and make both practices a part of your everyday routine, you’ll enjoy the serenity of a balanced mind and body. Ahhhh.
Let’s Talk Yoga
We already know yoga is an ancient practice where you assume certain postures while you concentrate and relax. Yoga helps you gain flexibility as well as clarity in your thinking. When you practice yoga consistently, you may even find that you bounce back after illness and injuries because your mind and body are in such a healthy state.
If you’ve never tried yoga before, you may want to start with a beginner’s class online or perhaps a DVD. There are also countless Yoga routines available free on YouTube. For best results, start slow and ease your way into a regular practice. Remember that yoga is mostly about your breathing and state of mind. With concentration, the yoga postures will be easier for you to get into and then maintain. Don’t expect to reach the status of pro yogi immediately!
Meditation doesn’t focus as much on the body, but it’s still important to maintain good posture whether you’re practicing sitting or walking meditation. Your main focus with meditation is again on the breath, but more specifically on being mindful of the present moment.
When you begin a meditation practice, you’ll first want to find a time and place where you know you won’t be distracted. The time period immediately after waking or just before you go to bed usually works well.
It’s best to start by sitting in an upright posture with your shoulders back. This will ensure that your chest is out and in a good position for deep breathing. Focus on your breath and brush away stray thoughts that cloud your thinking. If your mind wanders–and it will wander–just return your focus back to your breathing. This relaxation can prepare your body for deeper meditation as well.
Strengthen Your Practice
Once you’ve begun yoga and meditation practices, you can continue to strengthen them by practicing every day. Persistence pays off, especially in the beginning while you’re still forming this healthy habit.
When you practice yoga and meditation consistently, you’ll notice the harmony forming between your mind and body. You’ll also look forward to your daily relaxation sessions because they make you feel so good!
In the end, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to give them a try!
Are you creating a new yoga or meditation habit? Have some tips that help you stay motivated to stick with it? Share them in the comments below!