Both yoga and meditation have been around for thousands of years. To understand their connection, it helps to understand what each one is individually.
Yoga is a spiritual Hindu practice that incorporates breath, a simple form of meditation and physical incorporation of the body to bring the mind and body together, creating harmony. First introduced to the west in the early 1900′s, by mid century, yoga has grown exponentially in popularity and has continued to grow over the last few decades.
Meditation is best described as a training of the mind to reach different levels of consciousness and awareness. These levels of consciousness can include access to parts of the brain that control imagination, creativity, memory and more. Through meditation, these characteristics can be explored and possibly enhanced through practice.
The health benefits of yoga and meditation seem to go hand in hand, but let’s break the two down, anyway.
Health benefits of meditation
Blood pressure- Studies have shown the ability of meditation to lower blood pressure and in some cases, reverse the effects of heart disease.
Pain management- Meditation has been used to treat chronic and substance abuse withdrawal pains effectively. The results have been impressive; patients report feeling less discomfort when meditation has been introduced.
Stress and anxiety- If anyone has ever gotten overwhelmed with stress, took a moment, stopped and took a deep breath to recollect has witnessed the ability of meditation to reduce stress. Meditations number one benefit is the ability to relax, fighting off stress and anxiety.
Sleep- Meditation continues to be explored and implemented for its effectiveness for insomnia. Many times insomnia is caused by our inability to slow the mind down, whereas meditations greatest gift is the ability to do so.
Health benefits of yoga
Not only can yoga help with high blood pressure, pain management, stress, anxiety and sleep, but can also benefit the body more directly:
Core strength- Yoga can develop and nurture a strong core strength through its poses and stamina required to maintain those poses.
Posture- The simple act of lifting your chin when walking can have profound effects on posture. The poses present in yoga are embedded with improvements for posture, while developing the core strength can help maintain good posture out of the classroom.
Balance- The very nature of yoga and its form of exercise helps develop and maintain physical balance, but also fosters an emotional balance for the mind.
The benefits of meditation almost seem inherent to that of yoga, considering meditation is an integral part of the yoga practice. Some benefits are exclusive to yoga because of the physical qualities involved, but both are highly effective in bettering our health.
These are just a few health benefits of yoga an