Yoga meditation is simply the combination of yoga and meditation.
People practice yoga not just for physical exercise like that which is performed at a typical gym or health club workout, but for mental exercise as well.
Practicing yoga brings about awareness to one’s body. Another way to bring awareness to one’s body is with meditation. It is no wonder that yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Practicing yoga meditation strengthens the mind-body connection that yoga is known for.
In order to live a healthy and happy life, we need to keep our bodies and our minds in the best condition possible. ABC News reported that studies have shown that yoga and meditation benefit both the brain and the body. So let us explore the benefits can we get from a daily practice that includes both yoga and meditation.
The Benefits of Yoga:
According to About.com, these are some of the benefits that can be gained from practicing yoga:
- Muscle Tone
- Joint Health
- Pain Prevention
- Better Breathing
- Mental Calmness
- Stress Reduction
- Body Awareness
Yoga for Beginners:
You can practice yoga at home by watching a video or following along with one of the many yoga apps available. You can also find a yoga studio and learn with a trained yoga professional. Check out your local gym. Many of them now offer yoga classes to paid members. Even a search on your local Meet-up may point you to a yoga group in our area. The video below by PsycheTruth is yoga for complete beginners.
The Benefits of Meditation:
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as benefits of meditation:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
The The Mayo Clinic also list the following types of meditation, Guided Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, and Qi Gong, among others.
Mindfulness Meditation is when you focus on what your are experiencing during your meditation, with out judgment. This type of meditation can be done by focusing on your breath. Focus on each breath as it goes in, and as it goes out. If thoughts come into your mind, you simply let them be, and bring your attention back to your breath. This type of meditation fits right in with yoga.
When you participate n a guided meditation, you are listening to someone talk you through the meditation. This can be done in person, by audio, or by video. Guided meditations are great for beginners because you don’t have to worry about putting effort into the process, you just listen and follow along. If you prefer the sound of your own voice to others, you can record a script and guide your self through the meditation. Here is an example of a guided meditation script that you can use for relaxation:
- Get into a comfortable position, in a place where you will not be disturbed.
- Close your eyes and slowly take in a deep breath
- Now exhale
- Take another deep breath in
- And exhale again
- One last deep breath in
- And this time when you exhale, let the tension flow out of your body
- Allow yourself to focus only on my voice
- Let any thoughts that come into your mind simply flow back out again
- I am going to count from 1-10 and you will become more relaxed with every number
- 1-2-3 relax your mind
- 4-5-6 relax you body
- 7-8-9 more and more relaxed
- 10 your mind is crystal clear
- Imagine a white light hovering just above your head
This is a calming white light that will completely relax your body as it passes through
Allow the white light to enter into the top of your head relaxing your eyes, your ears and your face. Your neck relaxes as the light flows through you. As the light travels down your arms you find that you body is more relaxed than it has been in a while. The white light now enters you upper body and you fall deeper into relaxation as the muscles in your back begin to feel like melting butter. The light is now in your hips, and it travels down your legs leaving behind a deep calm. The light now travels out of your feet and wraps around you. Your entire body is surrounded in the calming relaxing white light. Sit for a while a bask in the relaxation that the white light has bought to you. (pause for 30 seconds)
Know that you can feel this level of relaxation any time you desire by going to a quiet place and imagining the calming white light flowing through your body.
It is time now to return to your normal state of awareness, bringing with you a feeling of calm relaxation.
- coming back to a state of full awareness
- move your arms, legs, fingers and toes
- open your eyes
You are now back to your normal state of awareness
In a Mantra Meditation a word or phrase is repeated silently or out loud, as an object of concentration.
You can pick any word or phrase that you like, and simply repeat it over and over. Some people believe that there are a specific number of times that you should repeat your mantra. Others just repeat it until the meditation session is over. Do what feels right for you. Click here to go to Deepak Chopra’s website for more information on mantra meditations.
Tying Yoga and Meditation Together
By simply beginning your yoga session with meditation, you become more grounded and create a greater mind-body connection. Some people find meditation tricky to do, as they believe that you must completely remove all thoughts from your mind. You may find that you are never able to do that, and that’s OK, because the reality is that all you need to do is learn to resist the temptation to react to the thoughts that pop into your head. By focusing on your breath during a yoga session, you are in fact meditating.
When you are just starting out, it is important not to burn yourself out. Start small, try to meditate daily for at least five minutes. Try to do yoga 3 times per week. Once you are comfortable, add more time to your meditations, and add an extra day of yoga. Remember, you are doing this for the benefits yoga and meditation provide to your health and mental well being. Invest in yourself, and have fun.