Why you Should start Yoga and Meditation

Why You Should Start Yoga and Meditation

Laurie Larson


The benefits of yoga and meditation go beyond simply “feeling better”. Not only can they provide you with instant gratification both mentally and physically, they offer the opportunity for lasting transformation. Both yoga and meditation offers users the opportunity to improve their mental and physical capacity quickly while also preparing them for long-term health improvement. 


Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert in these practices to reap the benefits. Here are some scientifically-based reasons to start yoga and meditation to improve your overall health and well-being.


Benefits of Yoga


Improves Emotional Health


It’s commonly known that all forms of exercise can improve your mental state, and research proves that yoga practice is no exception. One studyconducted by scientists at Duke University Medical Center showed that yoga improved symptoms in those living with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. This is due to yoga increasing the production of oxytocin and serotonin, “feel good” hormones associated with love and bonding, and happiness. 


Promotes Quality Sleep


Yoga can contribute to better sleep in more ways than one. It calms your body and mind to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, for example, but that’s not all. Due to a strong connection between sleep and mental health, yoga also promotes sleep by improving symptoms of mental health disorders. In turn, improved sleep promotes emotional well-being. A National Health Interview Surveyrevealed that more than 55% of people who practiced yoga found that it increased their ability to fall asleep and improved sleep quality. 


Reduces Pain and Inflammation


Multiple studies have shown yoga to be more effective in treating chronic pain than certain forms of more “traditional” medical care alone. One studypublished in Annals of Internal Medicineshowed that those suffering from chronic back pain reported having better mobility and back function after several months of practicing yoga. In another study, participants showed greater flexibility and less disability after only one week of yoga practice. Even if you aren’t living with chronic pain, yoga improves spinal flexibility, which can help prevent injury and reduce the likelihood of pain in the future.


Benefits of Meditation


Reduces Stress and Anxiety


There are several ways that meditation reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety. When practicing meditation, your breathing and heart rate slow and your blood pressure lowers. Also, meditation increases your body’s ability to utilize oxygen efficiently, clearing your mind and making it less difficult to perform daily activities. Probably the most prominent reason meditation reduces anxiety and stress, however, is because it decreases your body’s production of its primary stress hormone, cortisol.  Because your body is functioning on a less-stressed level, you’re able to cope with life’s stressors more calmly, improving your work and family relationships as well as your overall emotional well-being.


Increases Mindfulness and Self-Awareness


The essence of meditation is training yourself to focus on the present moment. In doing so, you allow yourself to let go of the past and decrease rumination about the uncertainty of the future. This means that you can put what is actually within your control in perspective and avoid worrying over what is not, becoming progressively more aware of how you can change things for the better and letting go of the things you cannot change. This aspect of meditation is known as mindfulnessand involves not only awareness of self, but also of the sights, sounds, and energy around you. 


Yoga and meditation, when practiced regularly, can improve your overall health and well-being for the long-term. They allow you to reduce stress and anxiety, sleep more restfully, and help you to understand yourself better, all of which improve your quality of life.

Lisa KanneComment