At the end of a long week, you’ll put your feet up and turn on the TV and wonder, “where did the week go?” Busy lives mean time flies and with that, you might never get the chance to stop and take time in the present. That’s what yoga and meditation are all about; taking time to live in the present. It is so difficult to take time out because everything we do takes up all of our time. Here’s a reminder of why yoga and meditation are so important, how they go hand in hand, and how you can find the time, even if you think you don’t have any…
Why you should do yoga
The benefits of yoga are many and varied but the one thing that remains constant is that yoga can benefit absolutely everyone. Here’s a concise list of the main benefits of yoga:
– Reduces the physical effects of the stress hormone (cortisol) and realigns your body from general wear and tear.
– Encourages relaxation and slows down the heart rate which lowers blood pressure.
– Calms down your physical and mental stimulation meaning you will get a better night’s sleep.
– Helps relieve aches and pains from old injuries or bad posture throughout the day.
– It is a full-body workout. Many people don’t think of yoga as exercise but it uses all your core muscles and improves breathing and lung capacity.
Why you should do meditation
Self-healing through meditation is one of the best ways to take care of yourself, body and mind. Being mindful through meditation will make you more aware of your thoughts and actions which can be really beneficial to your daily life. Here’s a concise list of the main benefits of meditation:
– You will be able to observe your thoughts rationally. Whatever you’re thinking or feeling, you can address and solve to give you peace of mind.
– You will get to know yourself. When you regularly meditate, you’ll be able to understand what makes you the way you are. Common feelings will crop up from certain situations and you will understand how you tend to react to things.
– It allows you to live in the present. Meditation is all about focusing on the now as we spend so much of our thoughts dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
– You will gain more control over your emotions and therefore make better life choices. Understanding the way your own mind works will ensure that when you’re making decisions, you’ll know why you’re making them.
Making time for yoga
– If you choose to practice yoga in a class at a studio, a gym or a home session, they will often understand that a hard commitment twice a week or so can end up feeling like another appointment to add to your weekly stress. For this reason, a lot of yoga studios allow you to buy a class subscription of a few classes a month to be taken at a time that suits you. Start off with a commitment of one class a week to see how you get on and then build up your yoga sessions if you make it more of a priority.
– Any yoga teacher will tell you that breathing is 90% of the practice. This means that yoga doesn’t have to be an hour session in a studio or gym. To maintain your practice even when things get busy, remember you can practice pranayama at any time. This means taking control of your situation and redirecting it to how you want. Breathing is an excellent way to practice this. Whether you only have 5 minutes or during your commute, inhaling and exhaling mindfully is still practicing yoga.
– All you need is a mat and a YouTube video. Virtual yoga classes are a great way to take an hour out at a time that suits you. Get up an hour earlier or use the hour before you sleep to take a restorative yoga class from YouTube or a yoga app. All you will need is a quiet space and a mat. Being alone in your practice may also help with getting in the zone for a good session.
Making time for meditation
– The great thing about meditation is that it can be practiced anywhere. It might help to integrate your meditation practice into something you do every single day. The two minutes it takes to brush your teeth can be a practice of mindfulness and meditation. Try to empty your thoughts and focus on the motion of brushing and take the time to find gratitude for the day ahead or the day you’ve just spent.
– To get the most out of your meditation session, the key is to be forgiving with your own practice. There is no such thing as a bad session. If you can’t focus one day, take that as a lesson that you were distracted. Wrtie down your feelings and learn for next time.
– There are few excuses for why you can’t meditate for just 5 minutes every day. If one day you decide not to, give yourself a solid reason and write it down in your Gratitude Journal or even just the notes in your smartphone. This in itself is a good way to remind yourself of the present until it becomes second-nature to you.