June 28, 2009
Why 15 minutes of meditation or yoga can save your life.
Yoga is known as a great de-stressor. Most gyms offer yoga classes, focusing mainly on the physical benefits that it offers, including increasing flexibility, toning of muscles, and lubricating the joints, ligaments, and tendons.
As the owner of a yoga studio, I think of the physical benefits merely as a bonus. The most important benefits are those that happen within. Yoga restores your spirit. Yoga reconnects you with your breath. Yoga means "to yoke" and it's this union of breath and body that renews you and brings harmony and peace of mind.
Yoga is beneficial for all body types and ages. You don't have to be flexible to do yoga, you just need to find the right class. So, search for a welcoming place that acknowledges that there are as many types of bodies as there are trees. Yoga looks different on every body. Acknowledge and love that fact! The benefits are the same – a more healthful and stress–less you.
We are pulled in so many directions and have so much information to process on a daily basis that we often feel overwhelmed and uneasy. Meditation can be defined in many ways, but for me, it is returning to myself – coming back to my center and feeling at home there. This feeling of restoration comes with meditation.
Meditation has countless benefits. It can help you stop truly harmful behaviors like smoking and overeating. It can lower your cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, cure infertility and migraines. Meditation can help you rid yourself of phobias, build self–confidence, increase creativity and productivity. There are no negative side effects from meditation – only benefits.
Ancient yogis created the "asanas" or yogic poses to bring their bodies to a place where they could sit for hours and meditate in their quest for enlightenment. But don't worry – you don't have to sit in lotus position for three hours in order to meditate! The hardest part about meditating is taking the time to do it. Don't be hard on yourself. Even 15 minutes a day is beneficial.
Give yourself a gift by finding a meditation workshop or group. Or you can even purchase a guided meditation CD to get you started. Be gentle with yourself. There are many styles of meditation practice. Find one that feels comfortable to you and you will be sure to continue the practice of meditation and experience its many benefits.
At our studio, we offer a movement class called Nia. Fusing simple dance, martial arts and the healing arts, Nia offers a total body-mind-spirit workout. Nia can be very gentle since it is a no-impact exercise, perfect for someone just looking to get moving. And yet, it is high-cardio and can satisfy even the most eager athlete's need for sweat. It is joyful and exhilarating and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to step out into your next adventure. Nia is truly the "Love Your Body Workout" and it's the most fun you will have sweating.
Maria owns Shine, a Louisville, Ky., studio devoted to helping people find their inner light through music, movement, and massage therapy.