Yoga and meditation are two practices that have been used for thousands of years to aid health and at Amchara we are all too familiar with the benefits which is why they are included as part of our programs.
But what do both of these practices entail and why are they good for us?
In this article we explore both, give you information on how to get started at home as well as explaining the benefits of each.
We hope that you enjoy the article, and would love to have your feedback and comments in the comments box or on the Amchara Facebook page.
Yoga – What Is It?
Yoga is a discipline that derived from the Hindu religion in India and it has been around for over 5,000 years.
Yoga is generally practiced to aid relaxation and improve health, and the discipline incorporates many activities such as breathing control and meditation, whilst adopting various postures using the body, known as asanas.
The word ‘yoga’ is a Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) word and the translation means a union between body, mind and soul.
The overall aim is to help relieve stress and release tension, improve energy flow throughout the body, aid circulation and generally improve health.
Most of us in the Western world look outside of ourselves to find fulfilment in life, and from a young age we are conditioned to believe that it is what we attain in life that gives us happiness, but for many it is clear from personal experience that attaining material things and status doesn’t fulfil the need and yearning for that something special or something more, but it is believed by those who practice it that yoga and meditation are two practices that gives us that still, reflective time of calm that gives us a higher sense of fulfilment in life.
Yoga helps our bodies to relax and allows us to become more grounded emotionally.
In a sense, it is a form of meditation in itself.
It helps to balance our emotions, clear our minds and improve our health which in turn gives us fulfilment and pleasure.
In today’s world, many of us become stressed easily due to the fast pace of life and all of the responsibilities that weigh us down, yoga helps us to relieve this tension and become more grounded, thus in the long run helping us to make the right decisions in our eating habits, health choices and so on.
What Are The Benefits Of Yoga
There are lots and lots of health benefits of yoga, and so we can’t list every single one, but we can list the main and most important benefits of yoga to help you understand why it is so widely practised and why we adopt it here at Amchara in our retreat programs.
First of all, something that we feel passionate here at Amchara is assisting those with type 2 diabetes to improve their condition and in some cases help them to revert to a stage where they do not have to rely on medication to control their condition.
Yoga is a practice that can help people with diabetes as certain asanas (yoga postures) can help to lower blood sugar levels.
Women who suffer from hot flashes during the menopause can benefit from yoga too, according to a study by the University of California.
Those who did restorative yoga over a two week period saw a significant (30%) decrease in hot flashes.
Another study also showed that menopausal women who took longer classes for a longer period also had other symptoms reduced, including less mood swings, better energy levels, less stress and a better libido.
If you suffer from stress or anxiety, or if you need help to relax a little, yoga is also a brilliant activity for all these things.
When we become stressed, our entire bodies go into overdrive and we have a quicker heartbeat, strained and tense muscles, faster breathing, higher blood pressure and even elevated sugar levels, of course none of these things are good for us, and so it is important to be able to relax when we are stressed.
Being stressed on a regular basis can lead to heart diseases and problems, strokes, as well as premature ageing, brain problems and more.
In various studies over the years, it has been proven that yoga helps to regulate breathing, blood sugar levels and blood pressure as well as reducing heart rate and relaxing the muscles.
Just by doing 30 minutes to an hour of yoga twice a week can sufficiently reduce stress levels to improve health.
The breathing control learned by doing yoga can help to reduce the severity and regularity of asthma attacks in asthma sufferers too.
Breathing control is taught as part of yoga, and this can help sufferers to regain control of breathing more quickly during an asthma attack, or even to prevent one from happening by controlled thing breathing before an attack is in full sway.
Detoxification of the body is also achievable by doing certain yoga asanas.
There are specific asanas that help to cleanse the body and improve the body’s ability to remove toxins, including free radicals which are linked to cancer.
Meditation – What Is It?
Meditation is all about training your mind to reach a new consciousness, it is about forgetting the past and future and living in the present.
It is a deep state of inner peace, calm and relaxation that helps to cleanse the body and rid yourself of ill feeling, and in some cases physical illness.
Historically, meditation has been shown to be a tradition for much of Asia, including India, Japan, China and surrounding countries.
Throughout history, meditation has appeared in a wide variety of religions and cultures in many forms.
Meditation has been around in Indiafor 10,000 – 15,000 years and the purpose was to try to learn about and understand the conscious mind.
It is believed that this is where the practice originated, however in the modern world, meditation is most well known in relation to Buddhism as the practice is widely adopted by the Buddhist religion
What Are The Benefits Of Meditation
Meditation is a powerful tool when it comes to health, because it is a very good way to train your mind to make the right choices when it comes to food and health choices.
This is one of the reasons that we adopt the practice here at Amchara.
Meditation helps to relax the body, and bring about a sense of inner peace that helps to reduce stress and thus decrease the risk of stress related illness including hypertension, heart disease and so on. It is also shown as an effective tool to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other brain and mind illnesses such as dementia.
When meditation and yoga are used together, the benefits are amazing, and it can be just the thing that you need to help you adopt and keep to a healthier way of living for a longer and more fruitful life.
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