Yoga meditation is a physical and spiritual practice that brings many health benefits, including stress reduction.
While there are many types of yoga practices, the most common type focuses on physical poses to improve flexibility and strength while also strengthening the mind through meditation. If you're new to yoga or have never tried meditation before, here's some information on how you can use yoga meditation as part of your practice.
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What is Yoga Meditation?
Many people think that yoga is the same as meditation. While they are related, they have different origins and goals.
Yoga originated in India and uses breathing techniques, physical poses, and meditative postures to achieve oneness with the universe. The word yoga means union in Sanskrit. Some people call yoga moving meditation, as it allows to focus on breathing while doing an exercise, such as stretching.
Yoga meditation is a form of yoga that helps you relax after an exercise session. It gives the body and mind time to rest, which helps with the transition from an active to a more relaxed state. It can also improve mental clarity and physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Benefits of Yoga Meditation
Yoga, with its emphasis on breathing and stretching, and meditation, with its focus on concentration and body awareness, can complement each other. By combining them into one session, you get the benefits of both practices and may discover a deeper sense of calm.
Here are some benefits of yoga meditation:
1) Improves Mental Health
Yoga meditation is associated with an improved mood and greater mindfulness. In one study, people who practiced yoga and yoga meditation were found to have better mental health, more spiritual well-being, and fewer depressive symptoms than people who didn’t.
2) Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Yoga meditation also increases the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can help lower anxiety and depression. Brain scans show that the parts of the brain that produce GABA become more active in people who meditate regularly.
One particular type of yoga meditation, the Kundalini method, increases activity in parts of the brain responsible for producing GABA. A neurotransmitter called GABA is linked to feelings of relaxation and well-being.
3) Boost Brain Power
Meditation and yoga can change the brain's neural pathways, helping you to maintain good brain health. By slowing down your brain waves and breathing, meditation can help you focus better and become more aware of yourself.
Studies have shown that yoga meditation can increase the size of parts of the brain that help you reason, make decisions, and develop willpower.
4) Easy to do
For those who have a difficult time focusing or find it difficult to slow down, yoga meditation can help. It’s much easier to let go and relax after working out the body. If you’re unsure about meditating, yoga meditation can be a good place to start.
5) Calms mind
Yoga and meditation are both good for reducing stress. Yoga helps by promoting physical relaxation, while meditation does so by calming the mind.
When you’re relaxed, you activate a part of the nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system. That leads to lower heart rate, blood pressure, stress hormone levels and inflammation.
How to Do Yoga Meditation?
When you practice yoga meditation, you concentrate on your breathing and quieten the mind. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, with your eyes closed and palms facing upward.
Yoga meditation is often practiced in a class or with a teacher instructing you. Some people may find that they can practice yoga meditation on their own once they're familiar with it. Others use YouTube or online videos for guided yoga meditation.
You might feel your body tingle or shake during yoga meditation. A typical yoga meditation lasts around five minutes, but some may last longer.
Tips and Techniques for Yoga Meditation
If you're interested in beginning a yoga practice, there are many forms of yoga. Some may be more appropriate for you than others. These are some of the major styles of yoga:
- Hatha yoga is the most common style of yoga. It uses a variety of poses and breathing techniques, which are usually done in a group setting.
- Restorative yoga uses props like blankets and blocks help you hold poses for longer periods.
- Bikram or hot yoga involves doing poses in an artificially heated room.
- Vinyasa yoga uses fluid movements that flow from one pose to another.
Depending on the yoga style you choose, an instructor will guide you to notice how the body moves during the poses.
You may see that you feel stronger on one side of the body, or that you can hold your balance better on one leg. These observations are an important part of the mindful self awareness developed in yoga.
Yoga meditation can be very beneficial to your mind and well-being. You don’t have to join a yoga class or go to a yoga studio.
You can start with some simple techniques, such as focusing on your breathing and quieting the body anywhere in just a few minutes.
Q. Have you tried yoga meditation?