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Yoga and Meditation

Posted on December 28 2018

 

If you’re interested in practicing yoga, then you may want to learn a bit more about meditation as well, since it is one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  Meditation is a practice of being in the now: the present moment.  It’s a constant observation of the mind that requires a stillness in order to perceive the true self.

I recently read a physician’s observation that “meditation” is only one letter off from the word “medication,” and yet the two approaches couldn’t be more different.  For example, if someone suffers from an unquiet mind – troubling thoughts, negative self-talk and so on – traditional medicine, as it’s often practiced today, might offer a prescription antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication as a solution.  This solution treats the symptom rather than the problem.

Meditation, on the other hand, serves to get at the problem (an unquiet mind), through practicing stillness.

What is meditation?

According to Dr. Joan Borysenko, a pioneer in the field of mind/body medicine, meditation is anything that brings us to the present and keeps us there. This makes meditation easy for us to incorporate into our lives. 

How do yoga and meditation go together?

Meditation is one of the Five Principles of Yoga.  It is the practice by which there is a constant observation of the mind. It requires you to focus your mind at one point and make your mind still in order to perceive the 'self'. Through the practice of Meditation, you will achieve a greater sense of purpose and strength of will.  It also helps you achieve a clearer mind, improve your concentration, and discover the wisdom and tranquility within you. 


In light of the holidays and the seduction of excess they can bring, this would be a wonderful time to move your focus inward.  Find a quiet space to just be.  Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and settle into a relaxed state of being. Release the "To Do" lists, expectations, and stress from your space with each breath.  Now recall forgiveness, love, and peace into your body, aura, and Chakras.

No need to put too much "thinking" into this -- just know your intention is allowing the energy to move, not effort.  :)  Sit with this for 5 - 20min and feel refreshed, revived, and present.  Your body, soul, and spirit will thank you for it!

 

Here are three poses that will aid in your meditation practice:

 

 

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Benefits: This is the great calming pose.  The pose that everyone looks forward to at the end of yoga class.  It calms and quiets the mind, relieves stress, and relaxes you. 

How it's done:

  • You may want to put on socks, or a sweater to stay warm 
  • Lie flat on your back
  • Hands at your sides, palms up facing the sky, in a comfortable position
  • Your shoulders are pulled back and under
  • Legs are straight, open, and relaxed
  • Close your eyes
  • The focus is on your breathing and relaxing all the muscles of your body.
  • You may rest your head on a blanket, and/or cover your eyes with a lavender infused mask if you wish

 

Shirshasana I (Headstand Pose)

Benefits: As with many of the inversion poses, when your brain needs to find peace, this is a pose to take away mind-fog, relieves stress, and boost your energy. It strengthens your arms, lungs, and core. 

How it's done:

  • Kneel down
  • Interlace your hands, bend down and place them on the mat in front of you.  Your hands will cup your head.  Tuck pinky if you tend to roll on it, or it makes your pose unsteady
  • Position your elbows so they are shoulder-width apart.
  • Come up to your toes and walk up into a dolphin-like pose.  Go up to your tippy toes. 
  • You can bring one knee, or both into your chest.  Find your balance. 
  • Slowly raise legs one at a time, or both together up to the sky. 
  • Your ankles should be over your knees, your knees over your hips, and your hips over your shoulders. 

 

Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Benefits: This pose stretches your thighs, hips, ankles, and knees.  This posture is very nice to open tight hips.

Please perform this pose with caution if you have knee issues. 

How it's done:

  • Seated in Half Lotus Position, bring your bottom ankle up and place it on the opposite thigh.  Both ankles should now be on your thighs.  
  • Place your hands in the meditative position on top of your knees. 
  • Back straight
  • Shoulders and arms relaxed 

 



“You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”

 

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