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The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

The aim of yoga is to live with awareness and equanimity, steadiness, and ease irrespective of our condition. Generally, people only refer to the asanas or postures, i.e., the physical part of yoga; however, yoga is so much more. Without going into the yoga philosophy, I just want to draw your attention to some other aspects e.g.:

  • Breathing

  • Chanting

  • Meditating

  • Intension Setting and Affirmations

  • Asanas/Postures

The 3-part yoga breath is one of the many breathing practices in yoga. The first part of the breath, deep belly breath, is a very grounding breath, use it any time you are feeling anxious or worried. It also creates pressure changes so the lymph will flow from the abdomen into the thorax and back into the circulatory system. –

In yoga it is related to the quality of self-empowerment (Manipura {Solar Plexus} 3rd Chakra) It spins in the area around the abdomen above the belly button up to the breastbone)

The second part of the breath into the middle ribs will gently move any scar tissue you have in this area and help to use some of the secondary muscles of breathing that may have been affected by surgery. It can be felt as a nurturing breath - In yoga it is the area of Anahata {heart} or 4th chakra, associated with joy, hope, positivity and confidence.

The third part of the breath into the area of your collar bone, changes your stress response. This part of the breath helps to clear the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, chest and upper back. - In yoga this is the area of Vishuddha {Throat} or 5th chakra, associated with discernment, judgement, and expression.

The Benefits of Chanting

Some of us may even feel awkward chanting, however; it has been scientifically proven that chanting has many benefits. You may ask why? Sound is energy, it is vibration. The sound resonates in different parts of the body and mind. Some of the benefits are: It:

  • calms the nervous system and boosts immunity.

  • improves concentration.

  • reduces anxiety and depression.

  • clears the lymphatic system.

The Benefits of Intention Setting and Mantras/ positive affirmations

The effects of mantras are quite extraordinary for the mind body and spirit.

  • Self-affirmations have been shown to decrease health-deteriorating stress (Sherman et al.,2009; Critcher & Dunning, 2015)

  • Self-affirmations have been used effectively in interventions that led people to increase their physical behaviour (Cooke et al.,2014)

  • They may help us to perceive otherwise “threatening” messages with less resistance, including interventions (Logel & Cohen, 2012) to name a few.

The Benefits of Meditation

Neuroscience research has revealed and continues to show the wide-ranging health benefits of meditation. These benefits range from lower inflammation in the body to emotional resilience to increased compassion. A small investment of time daily, just 10-20 minutes, can yield many returns on effectiveness in multiple areas of one’s life. There are many apps around that can help you to get started, e.g insight timer. My favourite is 'The Meaning of Life Experiment' App. It includes 30 meditations and how to videos.

The Benefits of Yoga Asanas/Postures

Although there are many Apps, YOU TUBE videos and group classes giving you many options and styles of yoga, it can be risky to follow those as there is nobody to correct you, the program does not address your range of motion. Also, the duration may be inappropriate for your circumstances.

There are contraindications if you suffer from Arthritis, COPD, Diabetes, Hypertension, Osteopenia/Osteoporosis and or Peripheral Neuropathy. You can still practice Yoga; you just need to take certain precautions. Some of the conditions, may not allow you to hold poses for a long time, or weight bearing poses will make you uncomfortable. A great option in these scenarios is to practice Yoga for Healthy Ageing. I currently offer this class which is very inclusive. You can practice on your mat, using a chair as a prop to support you getting up from the floor or in balancing poses; or you can practice some poses on the chair, to support you in weight bearing poses. If you are interested, find out more on my website https://movesforabetteryou or call me on 0413 423 742.


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