Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Ancient practices like meditation and yoga have gained traction as well as loyal following over recent years. Many people are now enjoying the various health benefits that come with these two ancient practices. Yoga postures and meditation are effective at improving one’s overall balance while promoting several healthy perks.
But, with all the hype, separating these two interconnected concepts can be confusing. Today, we will talk about the relationship between these practices and hopefully remove any confusion you might have.
What Is Yoga?
Many people associate yoga with thin individuals in spandex contouring their bodies into peculiar poses on a form mats while displaying peaceful facial expressions. However, yoga can be anything you want it to look like. Yoga is simply a practice for establishing wellness in areas of life, that is, physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. This practice uses physical movements to connect with your inner self while uniting your mind, spirit, and body. As such, it can include certain poses as well as movements. However, narrowing it down, whenever a person twists or turns their body such that it makes them feel connected with themselves, that is yoga.
What Is Meditation?
Like yoga, meditation also focuses on one being present with themself and their emotions at that moment. It can center on breathing focus to help you connect your body by blocking any distractions coming from the world. When you master how to meditate, you’ll not worry about the future or the past. Your focus will be on the present moment that’s not filled with judgment. Most people see meditation as something that’s done with people sitting on top of mountains or taking vows in silence. But the truth is a person can meditate anywhere for any length of time. When you close your eyes, take one intentional breath, in and out, even for a minute, that’s meditation.
The Link between Meditation and Yoga
Meditation and yoga share a close relationship. Yoga comes from the meditational practices of Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist practitioners. While many people today use yoga as a holistic exercise, those who combine with meditation cite that it’s an excellent way to relieve stress and build strength as well as muscles.
They both employ breathwork which involves someone focusing on their breath and its relation to their body. During these exercises, one tries to control their breath to develop a breathing pattern. An intense yoga workout consists of concentrated breathwork accompanied by unique poses that require much focus on the body and mind. When combined, these practices can become an excellent spiritual discipline.
Now from the descriptions we’ve given, you may have already seen some similarities between these two practices. That’s because they’re inextricably connected. They both get a person to be tuned in to their emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs at the moment. Yoga if done routinely can be a form of meditation. You’ll be focusing on your breath as a constant that unites your body and mind while letting go of any outside worries. In both practices, individuals focus on eliminating the distractions of the world while concentrating on what their mind, body, spirit, and emotions are telling them. As a result, one can live a happier life.
A common misconception about these two practices is that they’re a religion unto themselves. This isn’t true. Yoga and meditation are part of an individual’s religious life. But neither of them is a religion by itself. Those practicing these exercises are a diverse group of persons from different backgrounds and some don’t even have ties with religion in any way.
What Benefits Do Meditation and Yoga Have?
Meditation and yoga postures are recommended for people with anxiety. In most cases, people get anxious because of worrying about their past or future. This worry can cause a spiritual panic which may be out of control for a person. These ancient practices help one to let go of their worries and concentrate on their present emotional state. They teach people to focus on their breath as well as the constant grounds of their lives. As such, even if anxious thoughts occur when not meditating or doing yoga, you’ll have the necessary tools to let go of the anxiety.
Better Emotional Health
Many people have difficulties maintaining their emotional health. Understanding what you’re feeling and processing those emotions isn’t as easy as it sounds. Therefore, you need to concentrate on your current emotions and sit with them with no judgment. Both yoga and meditation give one a guided and dedicated space to process these emotions. Taking time every day to focus on the emotions you’ve been ignoring or tamping down can help you design a way to manage them.
Yoga can improve your overall health. Postures help individuals to be more flexible while lowering their blood pressure and helping one to lose weight. Not only will you have a better heart, but also strength and breath control. Now, incorporating meditation into this practice can also help improve your health. Individuals practicing meditation and yoga claim to be more aware of how their body feels, plus what they eat. They make healthier meals which leads to numerous health benefits.
If you find yourself forcing your brain to shut down so that you can sleep, then these exercises are what you need. Stress is among the common causes of insomnia. But, since yoga and meditation help reduce stress, then you can sleep easily at night. Letting go of disturbing thoughts will help avoid nights of trying to force the brain to calm down.
Other benefits of meditation and yoga are more self-esteem, improved attention span, better focus, more self-awareness, etc.
So How Do I Start a Routine?
You don’t have to take a lot of time to do these practices. You can have a simple ten-minute practice either in the morning or evening. One can even meditate while waiting to be served at their local café. But, we recommend that you get involved in a yoga studio. This will give you a better introduction to how to go about your routine.
Meditation and yoga are inextricably connected with the physical yoga movements feeding into the mental focus of meditation and vice versa. Start practicing these practices today and see the difference they’ll make in your life.