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Benefits Of Yoga And Meditation
Many people today are turning to yoga and meditation to alleviate the growing stress of everyday life. The purpose of yoga is to enable a person to control the mind and body. It is an ancient spiritual practice that originated in India thousands of years ago, and it remains a vibrant tradition to this day.
Yoga is much more than just body poses. It also unifies the mind and body through breathing exercises, bringing harmony to one’s soul and making life calmer, happier and more fulfilling.
There are many benefits from practicing yoga. Some of those benefits may include weight loss, a strong and flexible body, glowing beautiful skin and a peaceful mind.
Studies have shown that yoga can help you reach and maintain an all-around fitness goal, where you are truly physically fit and are mentally and emotionally balanced. Both yoga and meditation can actually be called “brain exercise” by engaging in breathing, movement, postures, chanting, visualization and concentration. These exercises can help the brain be stimulated and form new connections.
While there may be no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia, yoga and meditation have been proven to be therapeutic. Research has also shown that yoga and meditation may help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and their caregivers socialize and feel better.
Meditation has further been proven to actually change the structure of the brain. According to tests taken using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, Eileen Luders, a researcher in the Department of Neurology at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, found evidence that meditation changes the physical structure of the brain. Luders found that there are several differences between the brains of meditators and non-meditators.
In a study published in the journal Neurolmage in 2009, Luders and her colleagues compared the brains of 22 meditators and 22 age-matched non-meditators and found that the meditators (who practiced a wide range of traditions and had between 5 and 46 years of meditation experience) had more gray matter in regions of the brain that are important for attention, emotion regulation and mental flexibility. Increased gray matter typically makes an area of the brain more efficient or powerful at processing information. In addition, Luders believes that the increased gray matter in the meditators’ brains should make them better at controlling their attention, managing their emotions and making mindful choices.
A few minutes of yoga during the day has also proven to be a great way to get rid of stress. Yoga postures and meditation are effective techniques to release stress from the mind and body. In fact, nothing is quite as satisfying as a yoga exercise that’s filled with movement, whether it’s an intense workout or a gentle practice.
Research in the past ten years has also shown that if you practice focusing your attention on your breathing and repeated prayer or meditation (mantra), the brain will restructure itself to make concentration easier. If you practice calm acceptance during meditation, you will develop a brain that is more resilient to stress. Further studies have also proven that if you meditate while cultivating feelings of love and compassion, your brain will develop in such a way that you spontaneously feel more connected to others.
It has also been discovered that meditation during yoga exercise can improve your ability to concentrate in a couple of different ways. One way that meditation can help you is in its ability to allow for more focus and less distractions. Meditation can help you be more aware of what is happening around you, giving you a fuller perspective on the present moment.
Keep in mind that it is never too late to start the practice of yoga and meditation. You can start small and make it a regular habit. All you need to begin is the willingness and desire to make a positive change in your life by focusing your mind and body on breathing, meditation and exercising at a pace that is comfortable to you.
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