The Physiological and Psychological Benefits of Yogic Meditation
Learn to clear your mind with the benefits of Yogic Meditation. Find out how combining yoga and meditation can help relieve stress, improve immune function and augment self confidence and happiness.
The following article is a guest post written by Maria Rainier. Please take a moment to welcome her and leave a comment.
The Physiological and Psychological Benefits
of Yogic Meditation
Guest post by Maria Rainier
I have tried both isolated meditation and meditation in combination with yoga, and like many others, I have found the latter to be more effective. There’s something about the interaction between the physical aspects of yoga and the mental characteristics of meditation that provides a host of holistic health benefits.
I begin and end every yoga session with pranayama, or breath meditation, which helps me associate physical tension with mental stress so that it can be completely dissolved. Getting rid of just physical or only mental stress doesn’t work, but combining them allows me to uproot them simultaneously.
The basic principle of pranayama is simple: sit with your legs crossed and your hands folded on your belly, thumbs gently touching. Breathe in deeply through your nose and hold your breath for a few seconds, then inhale again to completely fill your lungs. Expel this air through your mouth and repeat the exercise several times before starting to breathe normally.
Focus on the sensation of air flowing into and out of your body, meditating on the healing power of your own breath.This process can both prepare your body for yoga and help you maintain a relaxed state after a session, so it’s also useful at any time when you feel stress encroaching on your life.
The following are a list of benefits associated with the combination of yoga and meditation.
The concept is simple and accessible, but the myriad benefits may surprise you. There’s nothing to lose but stress and tension, so if any of these benefits appeal to you, try starting a yoga and meditation regimen to see how your physiological and psychological health can improve.
Deepened State of Rest
By combining yoga with meditation, you can significantly lower the following bodily function rates:
- Breathing – slower, deeper breaths will relax you and improve air flow, allowing your body to enter a deeper state of rest.
- Heart rate – the work load on your heart decreases.
- Metabolic rate – the amount of energy you expend while at rest decreases.
Improved Immune Function
Yogic meditation also helps you improve your immune function with these benefits:
- Skin resistance – by decreasing the amount of stressful chemicals in your body, this practice increases your body’s ability to prevent infection through the skin.
- Free radicals – yogic meditation reduces these, preventing potential tissue damage.
- Cellular resistance – meditation increases the number of cells in your body that naturally fight bacteria and cancer cells.
Reduction of Stress-Inducing Chemicals
Meditation and yoga reduce the amount of:
- Cortisol – the “fight-or-flight” hormone, which is associated with stress.
- Lactate – also referred to as lactic acid, it can indicate an impaired flow of oxygen and blood throughout the body.
Augmented Self-Confidence & Happiness
In addition to improving your mood by reducing stress, yoga and meditation can increase the following:
- Happiness and emotional stability – the increase in serotonin can reduce the likelihood of depression, obesity, insomnia, and headaches.
- Creativity – when your mind and body no longer have to deal with a high load of stress and tension, they naturally put more energy toward whatever you love to do.
- Vitality and rejuvenation – less stress means more energy, which will help you feel more alive.
- Self-confidence and self-actualization – without focusing on stress and other problems, you can dedicate your thoughts to further improving your quality of life by fully embracing your own body, mind, and spirit.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie.
She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online schools, and the future of online degrees.
In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
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