Yoga and meditation

The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

In recent times, meditation has attracted widespread interest throughout the western world. To find meditation books we no longer have to go to an esoteric bookstore, every airport bookshop sells them, and a growing list of prominent public figures – Tiger Woods, Al Gore, Julia Roberts, Steve Jobs, Sting, Jennifer Lopez, John Cleese, Heather Graham, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and many more – make no secret of their meditation practice.

Modern life is full of stress. Although we have reached a high level of material wealth and development, we encounter in our hectic pace of life increasing tension and worry. Despite the achievements of modern society, many people feel restless and unhappy, our lives seem to be out of balance. This often leads to psychological complications such as anxiety, emotional ups and downs and depression.

If we don’t want to suffer from these kinds of problems, we need to bring our bodies and mind back into balance. Yogic practices are an effective method of doing this.

The benefits of yoga and meditation go way beyond stress relief. They include:

  • Mental peace
  • Relief from tension and fatigue
  • More balanced emotions
  • Increased creativity
  • Better concentration
  • Improved memory
  • Stronger will power
  • Heightened self-confidence
  • A sense of empathy with others
  • Greater happiness

How does this work?

Yoga postures improve flexibility and tone up the whole body in a very gentle way. In particular they maintain the health of the nervous system and the glands, balancing hormonal secretions. Hormones play a vital role in both our physical and our emotional well-being. Almost all physical and mental diseases can be linked to improper functioning of the glandular system.

Meditation, which is simply a kind of concentrated thinking, also has profound physiological effects. The body’s response to meditation is just the opposite of its reaction to stress. Meditation calms the central nervous system as well as our breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

The regular practice of meditation expands the mind, helping you to develop a keener sense of intuition and a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

People who meditate typically experience a state of deep inner peace and harmony, which in turn leads to more intense and lasting feelings of happiness and fulfilment.

Is Yoga a Religion?

No. Yoga is primarily practical – it is something you do, rather than something you believe in. People from many religions practice yoga, and many religions have their own traditions of meditation, most of which can be traced back to some sort of influence from yoga. It is very misleading to think of yoga as a religion.

Yoga philosophy

One of the things that attract many people to yoga is the philosophy behind it – it is a kind of rational spirituality. It answers many important questions about life and its purpose, but the emphasis is always on personal realisation of the truth, not on accepting ideas simply because they are written in a book.

How to learn?

If you want to experience the benefits of yoga and meditation for yourself, it is not difficult to learn. We always start out with easy postures, and as the students’ flexibility improves they can comfortably progress to more advanced techniques. In our courses we also introduce meditation as this is an important part of yoga practice.

We are starting a new introductory course in focusing on yoga postures, meditation and philosophy. Click here to find out about the course.

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