Potent Duo: Yoga and Meditation

October 17, 2008 by  
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In meditation, the practitioner is usually required to sit still in a quiet place where he or she can contemplate in peace and solitude for a specific period of time. The time needed for complete meditation varies according to the experience they gained over the years. Beginners may have a hard time just sitting still for longer than 5 minutes, while the more experienced can remain in one pose for up to a whole day. Because meditation requires such activity, it is important to think about the position that you would be most comfortable with when attempting to meditate. Yoga can help people who have trouble finding their most comfortable position by stretching and relaxing the muscles, thus preventing the possibility of having cramps and discontinuing the meditation process.

The practice of yoga has also incorporated techniques that are meant to calm the mind and the body so that it will be more prepared for the meditation process. The twentieth century has indeed brought many stressors and worries. As the saying goes, the more money there is, the more problems there can be. People are always worrying about work, bills, family matters, budgets, or general dissatisfaction with life. The relaxed and peaceful mind and body offers numerous benefits, including the very real advantage of preventing chronic diseases. A vast number of illnesses can be caused by stress-related bodily reactions. The more stressed you are, the more likely you are to get sick.

Yoga is widely practiced in India, and it has often been incorporated in numerous religions, whether old or new. Gurus, or the mentors in yoga, know that combining yoga and meditation can reduce anxiety and stress on the body. They also believe that in these practices, the mind can exude more positive vibrations to the universe, thus it can help in creating a more peaceful and stable society.

Health and happiness can be the direct results of yoga, and through masterful contemplation about life and relationships with others, we can become more aware of ourselves and what we give and take from the universe. This highly spiritual perception has given yoga and meditation their appeal. True enough, long-time yoga practitioners frequently have lesser problems and they tend to be more optimistic about life and the society.

Negative emotions and bad habits can really solidify and pose danger to oneself in terms of mental and physical health. Through yoga and meditation, you can influence positive changes to happen in your life, and you become healthier, happier and more at peace with the world.

Physical Fitness and Power Yoga

August 24, 2008 by  
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Many people have the misconception that yoga only involved stress relief by simply sitting quietly in one corner and meditating while striking up impossibly complex poses. Yoga is usually not associated with core fitness, or the utilization of yoga to exercise all the central muscles in the body. This requires intensive fitness discipline, similar to engaging in a martial arts or self-defense class. If you have had prior experience in karate classes or tae kwon do workouts, you may have an inkling of what it is like to do engage in power yoga. This type of yoga requires commitment from you, especially if you want to see and feel the results after hours of hard training.

The usual exercise routines sometimes only focus on the muscles of the arms and legs. In power yoga, you are given a total body workout so that all the important muscles of the body are exercised. Your muscles all put to work simultaneously. While this can be tiring especially for those who are not used to such intense workout, but it is an excellent way to develop and tone the muscles.

Power yoga involves balance, stretching, and concentration so that the circulatory system can work more effectively. In addition, due to the breathing techniques incorporated in almost all types of yoga, you can pump more oxygen into your system. Power yoga is highly physical, but it is a good way to stay in shape and prevent the effects of aging to manifest on the body. The body is taught to age gracefully while preventing tell-tale signs such as slowness of reflexes, sagging skin, and lower endurance, to name a few.

Like other fitness programs or forms of martial arts, you need to be devoted in fulfilling the practices and motions of power yoga in order to reap its many benefits. Short-term interest won’t do either; you will have to practice yoga regularly even after you have learned the techniques. Similar to engaging in sports or martial arts, you will quickly grow out of shape if you stop practicing for a long time.

Power yoga may be tiring, but you need to persevere and follow the regimen it brings even if you are very much tempted to give up. There are many temptations that could distract you from practicing power yoga religiously, and you may cave in very easily if you don’t exercise discipline over your body.

Countless Benefits Of Yoga To The Body

July 15, 2008 by  
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It is arguable whether the many practitioners of yoga caused scientists to research its health benefits, or the positive results of these studies influenced more people to adopt yoga. Either way, the studies have shown that yoga really can cause improvement in terms of the physical, psychological, and biochemical aspects of the body.

At yoga’s core is the concept of union. The practice aims to unify the spirit, mind, and body through regular physical and breathing exercises. It is debatable whether yoga practitioners actually achieve this state of union because it’s not something that science can test so readily.

Yoga has been in existence for thousands of years, mainly in India and Asia and, more recently, in western countries. Many people have experienced the benefits of yoga which include self-healing, serenity, and harmony with all living things.

Because of the apparent health benefits of yoga especially in terms of healing and restoration of the nervous system, many doctors have recommended the practice of yoga for treatment. The benefits of yoga in the physical aspect include: better circulation and heart rate; improvement of respiratory conditions; blood pressure problems; stability of the nervous system; improved function of the gastrointestinal and endocrine systems; protection and healing of the joints to promote movement; better endurance; higher energy levels; a stronger immune system, thus rendering a person immune to most stress-related diseases; improved motor function, particularly hand-eye coordination, dexterity, reaction time; and better sleeping patterns.

In terms of mental health, the benefits include: enhanced awareness of the self and the environment; improved self-esteem and self-acceptance; the opportunity for self-actualization; improved social skills; better concentration, memory and attention; increased capacity for knowledge and wisdom; and improved mood.

The biochemical make-up of the body is also greatly improved by increased levels of sodium, glucose, vitamin C, cholesterol, serum protein, white blood cell count, and hemoglobin.

The poses and physical exercises of yoga has also been shown to be effective in improving the flexibility, lubrication, and strength of the joints, tendons, and ligaments. Another interesting, and no doubt beneficial, aspect of yoga is its capability to massage the glands and internal organs, including those which receive little or no stimulation such as the prostate gland. This improves the condition of the organs and their systems.

Yoga techniques have also been used for detoxification. The constant flexing and contracting of the muscles to assume yogic positions increases blood circulation to every part of the body. Because of this, toxins are eliminated more effectively and the effects of aging are postponed for a long period of time.

Healing Power Of Yoga

June 16, 2008 by  
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Yoga is one of the best exercises for physical and emotional healing. Its benefits are numerous, and it can be practiced by anyone who is interested in it. It can be used to de-stress. Stress has been known to cause chronic diseases such as reproductive problems, heart problems, immune system problems, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Because yoga also helps in healing the mind, the healthy mind can influence a much healthier body.

Yoga’s effects on the body are tremendous as well. Your muscles are exercised by gentle stretching and relaxing. Your breathing and blood circulation improves as well. You will develop stronger muscles, thus, a stronger body, which is an effective tool against illnesses whether viral or stress-related in nature.

Relaxation is brought about by yoga through breathing techniques and strong but gentle poses. The poses target the parasympathetic nervous system, a useful component of the autonomic nervous system that deals with the rest-and-repose mechanism of the body. Thus, optimal function of this component would ensure that the damage sustained from too much stress is contained. Stress can manifest through sudden heart rate increase, shallow breathing, excessive sweating, and muscle tension. While these are normal reactions of the body, sometimes, stress can be too much. So much so that the normal coping mechanisms of the body through the parasympathetic nervous system are arrested, and we succumb to illnesses. Yoga is an effective guard against this overload. It restores our body to its natural balance.

Stress is also the reason behind increased cortisol levels throughout the body. This leads to immune system suppression, which in turn will lead chronic diseases such as those mentioned above as well as sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, and loss of sex drive. In addition, wear and tear on our organs can be attributed to stress.

Yoga’s relaxation techniques can counteract against the physical manifestation of stress. In addition, it can improve the performance of the circulatory, digestive, reproductive, immune, and glandular systems, to name a few.

The asanas, or physical poses, in yoga enhances the circulation of blood and fluids to different parts of the body. Its breathing exercises improve the function of the lungs, as well as restore our peace of mind. Many people who have tried practicing yoga regularly become less dependent on medication and other forms of treatment. While this may be appealing, remember that the positive effects of yoga do not happen overnight. The therapeutic effects of yoga are felt in the long run, but if you are patient and continue practicing yoga, you will begin to feel healthier than you have ever felt before.