5 Reasons To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Yoga Practice
Meditation – it’s not just that boring bit at the end or beginning of the class!
There are some very persuasive reasons to incorporate it into your yoga practice.
SEE ALSO: How To Detoxify And Open Your Third Eye
1. The Eight Limbs of Yoga
If you honestly think yoga is all about physical movement, think again!
Over 1,500 years ago Patanjali told us that the physical practice, or asana, was just one of the 8 limbs of yoga.
Arguably the mind is involved in at least 3 of the limbs, with meditation specifically mentioned as Dhyana.
If anything, the postures help us open the hips to be able to sit longer in meditation.
Ask yourself what you do to relax. Most people are over-stimulated and under-relaxed.
We know meditation induces relaxation and has a powerful effect on the central nervous system.
By slowing down and regulating the breath, meditation changes our autonomic state.
We shift from reliance on the sympathetic nervous system – fight or flight response – to a better state – the parasympathetic nervous system – rest and digest.
3. Scientific Research
Don’t take my word for it, but science keeps telling us that meditation is good for the brain.
One of my favorite studies shows that meditation actually causes the gray matter in the brain to grow.
Gray matter is mostly found in the left hand side of the brain and is associated with positive emotions and experiences and relaxation.
Numerous other research tells us that meditation is anti-aging, beneficial in treating depression and other mental illnesses and proven to combat high blood pressure.
By engaging in the art of non-doing you are forced to befriend yourself.
As thoughts come and go you may recognize recurring thought patterns – you may begin to understand what drives these thoughts.
The idea is really to put space between your thoughts and put your mind into neutral.
As we may think up to 60,000 thoughts a day, just regulating what passes through our mind for 10 minutes may be both beneficial and revealing.
Perhaps those ancient yogis weren’t wrong when they referred to the mind as a chattering monkey.
5. Route Into Mindfulness And Breath Work
Sure it’s the buzzword, but what does mindfulness actually mean?
If you hear the phrases “being in the present” or “living in the moment” but are unsure of what they mean, meditation will take you there. Meditation will make you just sit and focus on the here and now – no analysis, no judgment.
And just working with and returning to the breath during meditation facilitates that presence.
So many yoga students neglect the transformational power of breathing, but meditation will lead you back there.
Some meditators even engage in breathing exercises to get into the zone first.
And once you are in the zone your breath will guide and anchor you.
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