A lot of my friends aren’t really clear on the differences when I talk about meditation and yoga. I also often hear people say “I’m meditating” or “I’m doing yoga.” Sometimes they are intending to suggest the same thing while other times they may be talking about completely different things.
Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga has become popular as a form of physical exercise based upon asanas (physical poses) to promote improved control of mind and body and to enhance well-being.
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Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, movement, the breath or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, promote relaxation, and reduce stress. In meditation, no exercises or physical movements are included. You just sit over a specific place and focus on the flow line of energies in the body.
Basically, meditation is considered as a part of yoga, which is mainly performed after the practice of yoga. After yoga, the body is usually full with vibrations, in order to reduce those vibrations and to get a stable condition in both mind and body, meditations are highly preferred. Meditation may help in enhancing the self realization and improved the overall breathing system.
When you meditate, your mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. You are awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the actions taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so your mind is silent. When this happen and there are no distractions, meditation deepens.
“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” – Confucius
In the beginning you need to sit straight in the easy posture on the floor, keeping your head, neck, and trunk straight. If you cannot sit on the floor, you can sit on a chair with your hands on your knees. Slowly close your eyes and systematically survey your body from head to toe. Your mind will tell you which part of your body has some strain.
You may find there is some physical tension which is related to your mind or your emotions. Keep surveying and relaxing every part of the body systematically, going down to the toes and then coming up to the crown of your head.
Attend to your breath and push in your abdomen as you exhale, which helps your diaphragm to expel the carbon dioxide, the used up gas. When you exhale, feel as though you are exhaling all your problems, worries, and pains.
When you inhale, inhale as though you are receiving energy from the atmosphere. And then do not think of breath and mind, go beyond, and watch your thinking process. A thought comes and goes away. Let it go. Learn to inspect, this is introspection.
Be vigilant. This way you will find that thoughts which are coming from the basement of your mind, the unconscious part of your mind, where you have stored many impressions from your daily life are not affecting you. You are being a witness.
During that time your mind, nervous system, fine set of muscles, all the tissues and cells will get perfect rest.
Of course meditation is a technique that leads you beyond this witnessing of your thoughts. Even if you cannot go beyond, it’s very healthy to sit still. Any method of meditation is helpful, healthy and very, very useful. Learn to sit quietly and teach your children to do so as well.
Yoga is a technology that uses the knowledge on the functions of the mind and body to create harmony, health, and spiritual connection. Almost every gym and fitness center nowadays offers at least one class in yoga, a workout that involves performing a series of flexibility- and strength-building poses.
“Happiness is not something you postpone for a future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn
But Yoga is more than just an exercise. It’s practice combines breath exercises (pranayama), Yoga positions (asanas), Bhandas (body locks), Mudras (hand positions) and meditation.
Yoga has many benefits especially if you have physical, and health related issues. And if you are overweighted and want to lose some weight, Yoga is a perfect exercise to start as it’s easy enough for almost anyone to learn the basics.
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When you get started with yoga, you’ll want to be sure to find a place with plenty of space to move. You’ll also want to make sure you remove any distractions, just create a peaceful space only for yourself. Wearing comfortable exercise clothes will also help you relax and focus. Very important especially if you are a beginner is to have a proper yoga mat so you feel comfortable in each position and do not slip when sweating.
As you begin to stretch into basic yoga poses, only stretch as far as your body will comfortably allow. Go slow. Yoga is not supposed to hurt, so don’t worry if it takes you some time to build up your flexibility to the point where you can easily assume the poses.
Most popular types of Yoga
Hatha yoga – a generic term for any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. When a class is labeled as “hatha,” it is usually a gentle introduction to the basic yoga postures.
Power yoga – an active and athletic style of yoga adapted from the traditional ashtanga system in the late 1980s.
Bikram yoga – held in artificially heated rooms at temperatures of nearly 105 degrees and 40% humidity, Bikram is a series of 26 poses and sequence of two breathing exercises.
Ashtanga yoga – based on ancient yoga teachings but popularized in the 1970s, each of the six established sequences of postures rapidly link every movement to breath.
Prenatal yoga – yoga postures carefully adapted for people who are pregnant. Prenatal yoga is tailored to help people in all stages of pregnancy and can support people in getting back into shape after pregnancy.
So give Yoga a Chance And Yoga Will Change Your Life Forever
Your body will change, Your mind will change. And you will change. Yoga can change your way of thinking and gives you a purpose. A powerful way to begin a daily practice is by setting an intention for your day.
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By doing this, you prime yourself to live with a sense of meaning and purpose. Your intention can be as simple as the intention to be present with each breath, each movement, and each thought. So get your first Yoga Mat, enjoy your yoga session and leave comment if you liked it.
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