Monthly Archives: February 2018

Health Benefits Of Yoga

Both yoga and meditation have been around for thousands of years. To understand their connection, it helps to understand what each one is individually.

Yoga is a spiritual Hindu practice that incorporates breath, a simple form of meditation and physical incorporation of the body to bring the mind and body together, creating harmony. First introduced to the west in the early 1900’s, by mid century, yoga has grown exponentially in popularity and has continued to grow over the last few decades.

Meditation is best described as a training of the mind to reach different levels of consciousness and awareness. These levels of consciousness can include access to parts of the brain that control imagination, creativity, memory and more. Through meditation, these characteristics can be explored and possibly enhanced through practice.

The health benefits of yoga and meditation seem to go hand in hand, but let’s break the two down, anyway.

Health benefits of meditation

    • Blood pressure- Studies have shown the ability of meditation to lower blood pressure and in some cases, reverse the effects of heart disease.
    • Pain management- Meditation has been used to treat chronic and substance abuse withdrawal pains effectively. The results have been impressive; patients report feeling less discomfort when meditation has been introduced.
    • Stress and anxiety- If anyone has ever gotten overwhelmed with stress, took a moment, stopped and took a deep breath to recollect has witnessed the ability of meditation to reduce stress. Meditations number one benefit is the ability to relax, fighting off stress and anxiety.
  • Sleep- Meditation continues to be explored and implemented for its effectiveness for insomnia. Many times insomnia is caused by our inability to slow the mind down, whereas meditations greatest gift is the ability to do so.

Health benefits of yoga

Not only can yoga help with high blood pressure, pain management, stress, anxiety and sleep, but can also benefit the body more directly:

    • Core strength- Yoga can develop and nurture a strong core strength through its poses and stamina required to maintain those poses.
    • Posture- The simple act of lifting your chin when walking can have profound effects on posture. The poses present in yoga are embedded with improvements for posture, while developing the core strength can help maintain good posture out of the classroom.
  • Balance- The very nature of yoga and its form of exercise helps develop and maintain physical balance, but also fosters an emotional balance for the mind.

The benefits of meditation almost seem inherent to that of yoga, considering meditation is an integral part of the yoga practice. Some benefits are exclusive to yoga because of the physical qualities involved, but both are highly effective in bettering our health.

How Science Proves The Effectiveness of Meditation

When people hear the term meditation, they instantly connect it with archaic spiritual and pseudoscientific practices,but the truth remains that not only meditation has immense scientifically proved benefits but it also based on the principles of science. Contrary to the common belief that meditation is all about sitting still, there are actually numerous ways to meditate even on the go.

A lot of the methods involve meditation in some sort of motion, but does this really have a scientific base or are we just romanticizing a concept based on more of a placebo effect? While some continue to negate the link, here’s taking a look at how science proves the healing power of meditation.

Effect of Meditation on Brain Waves, and consequently on the state of the mind– It is already established that brain uses electromagnetic waves to function. There are different types of brain waves- the Beta Wave that are responsible for logical thinking, awareness, the Alpha Wave concerned with meditation, relaxation, the Theta wave concerned with an out-of-the body experience or daydreaming. A study testing the efficacy of Sahaja Yoga confirmed that during the test phase the meditators experienced pre-dominant Alpha waves.

Meditation Increases Concentration Span– Well this is actually no rocket science. In today’s era where the maximum attention span is of 6 seconds, it is very difficult to concentrate on anything for long. A study published in PLOS Biology suggests that three months of consistent meditation can train the brain to increase the attention span. The director of the Center for Mind and Brain at the California University spoke in context of the study and called it neuroscience evidence’ that changes the working of the brain through meditation.

Meditation can help lower blood pressure– In a study conducted on 200 heart patients, it was found that patients who meditated on a regular scale had over the time shown a decrease in the blood pressure. It is to be noted that all of these patients had heart conditions. Those who meditated were also disease free comparatively than those who did not meditate. It was also found that meditation helps to reduce the systolic blood pressure by an average of five millimeters of mercury.

Meditation increases the reasoning power-¬†When a person meditates, their minds are in a state of calm. The basic principle of meditation is to induce calm by getting rid of the random thoughts that charge throughout the mind, and one which makes reasoning difficult by clouding it with other unrelated thoughts. A research conducted at UCLA using MRI showed that among the group of subjects, certain areas of the brain of those who meditated regularly were larger. Basically these areas were the ones associated with emotions, which is why meditation is also recommended to those with emotionally triggered disorders. Since meditation gives the power to control the emotions, it indirectly also makes a person’s ability to reason out better.

Meditation builds up a healthier brain– Ask someone who meditates on a regular basis and have been doing so for years, they will tell you how they do not need a lot of sleep or tons of caffeine to charge their minds and bodies. Those who meditate condition their brains over a period of time to become healthier. Getting rid of negative thoughts, improving concentration power and attention span, and the ability to think and reason out better are all important requirements of a healthy brain and hence a healthy body. And studies conducted on a group of meditators proved that meditation does indeed help in improving the overall health of the brain.

Meditation reduces anxiety, stress, and depression- Probably a no-brainer since meditation is highly recommended for anyone going through or has stress and depression issues. According to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 2009, the effects of meditation on stress and depression was calculated and it was established that meditation does indeed help to both reduce the level of stress and anxiety, and help with depression while at the same time it empowers the meditator to fight against these, thus working as a preventive measure as well.

The concept is still in its infancy and every day a number of studies and researches are being conducted to understand the link better and to scientifically quantify or deny meditation which has a therapeutic effect. Having said that, meditation does indeed work wonders for our overall mental and physical health, from attaining peace of mind to control over emotions.

While we are yet to prove the concept of meditation through scientific laws and formulas, it is safe to say that the benefits of meditation have already been established as per studies and experiments. For anyone looking to overcome emotional problems and mental disorders, meditation does make it a lot easier, and this is why even doctors strongly recommend this.

Four Significant Benefits of Meditation

Often related to spiritual purposes, meditation offers several health benefits. There are even a number of researches which scientifically proved that it is a safe way to balance one’s physical, emotional, and mental state. In fact, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years already. Today, meditation for health has been prescribed by several doctors to cure stress-related illnesses such as anxiety, trauma and insomnia. However, there are several health benefits of meditation that you may not be aware of. Here are some of them:

Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease

According to a particular research, meditation may help reduce the risk of heart disease. As researcher Vernon Barnes, MD, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia, stated in a news release, “Our blood vessels are not rigid pipes. They need to dilate and constrict, according to the needs of the body.” Based on his study conducted on a group of black adolescents with high blood pressure, meditation significantly improved the ability of the blood vessel lining, known as the endothelium, to expand and contract. The dysfunction in the ability of the endothelium to dilate is an initial of heart disease. With this, meditation also helps lower blood pressure.

A Way to Relieve Stress

One of the common reasons why meditation is gaining popularity all over the world these days is that it can wipe away the day’s stress, resulting to inner peace. By spending a few minutes doing meditation, it can restore your calm and inner peace. It is regarded as a type of mind and body complementary medicine. During the state of meditation, you are focusing your attention and eliminate those jumbled thoughts that may cause you worries and stress. As a result, it enhances your physical and emotional well-being.

As an Anti-Aging Medicine

Based on the study by Harvard instructor Dr. Sara W. Lazar, meditation has shown to help reduce the effects of aging in the brain. Her study provided showed some strong physical evidence that there are some long-term physical effects of meditation. Through practice, the mind can increase the thickness of the prefrontal cortex. This thickening of the cortex is the opposite of what usually happens as the brain ages and it has been concluded that the meditation was responsible for it. Thus, meditation is considered as one of the weapons in the arsenal of fighting aging of the brain.

Helps Lose Weight

When we think of losing weight, we typically think of physical activities and changing our dietary habits. While we may not be aware of it, the first step to losing weight is within the mind. Once you practice meditation, you will feel more balanced and calm. With this, it enables you to be in the right mood to exercise. We may have already seen a lot of individuals who often fail to lose weight by dieting. This is because it does not help them commit to a lifestyle change. With meditation, it can help you to stay determined in your weight-loss goal.

Health Benefits of Meditation

There are many health benefits of meditation. Simply by meditating on a regular basis you can improve your physical and mental health.

It sounds too easy to be true. So what’s the catch? Can anyone gain the health and physical benefits of meditation?

Quite simply, meditating on a regular basis helps you to quiet your mind. You’ll know when you reach this quiet spot as everything takes on a calmness that isn’t necessarily there in your day to day life.

You can use your meditation sessions to concentrate on one particular part of your body. When you concentrate your mind, you will start to feel the health benefits of meditation work their way through into whichever part of your body you are concentrating on. Amazing as it may sound, simply concentrating on one part of your body will increase the flow of blood (and therefore oxygen and other vital nutrients) to that body part. This factor alone helps to explain why there are medical benefits of meditation, although mainstream Western medicine doesn’t always acknowledge these benefits.

By helping to calm your mind you are also strengthening your mind. Like any muscle, your mind needs exercise. Meditation is one way that you can satisfy this need.

Amongst the physical benefits of meditation, it has been found that athletes who meditate on a regular basis will also perform better in their sport.

Some of the health benefits of meditation are:

  • Lower oxygen consumption
  • Decreased breathing rate
  • Increased blood flow
  • Lower heart rate, which can help reduce blood pressure
  • Generally more relaxed
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Decreased muscle tension and headaches

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Helpful Information on the Medical Health

Information on the medical health benefits of meditation shows that meditation is a safe and simple way to balance your physical, mental and emotional states. It has been in practice for thousands of years. It has been shown to work particularly well for those experiencing stress. In fact, more and more doctors are prescribing meditation to cure many stress related illnesses including anxiety, trauma and insomnia.

Most people experience stress everyday. Be it at work or at home, there are situations that put us in fear or anxiety which triggers stress. It could be at the workplace where you are faced with something that you have never done before, or it could be at home if a emergency were to happen.

Stress is sometimes good because it causes one to take action to respond to the situation at hand. However, stress also happens during traffic jams, or when someone raises their voice or work is not done the way you like. If allowed to run its course, people could be in a continuous state of stress which is unhealthy.

Information on the medical health benefits of meditation shows that meditation releases stress from our bodies. Regular practice leads you to a deeper state of relaxation. Meditation is an excellent way to be relieved of stress and pressure and live a life that is peaceful, calm, relaxed and happy.

Stress is not the only problem that can be relieved through meditation. There are also sources of information on the medical health benefits of meditation, that say that it leads to reduction in pain, even in such cases like cancer and heart problems. It has been reported that people have even experienced improved eyesight as well as hearing.

Aside from the effects that meditation has on the body, it also positively effects the mind. Improvement in memory and intelligence are also reported in information on the medical health benefits of meditation. Increased concentration and awareness are a couple of other benefits.

It is the psychological effects that are quite significant. There is an increased feeling of identity and people demonstrate greater self reliance. People who meditate also have a stronger sense of self because of the positive experience that they feel.

They also show an increased empathy and therefore openness when dealing with other people. That is not all. They also better appreciate other people and the good things that they get in life. Often we see people who complain and grumble despite having a good life.

What is really nice is that your creativity improves through increased intuition and inspiration. Fear reduces.

In fact, there are also reductions in addictions and other bad habits as well as improvements in dealing with depression and hyperactivity.

Based on information on the medical health benefits of meditation, it is apparent that regular practice of meditation will help you feel much calmer and in control. You improve your ability to concentrate. Instead of being stressed, you can be more peaceful and relaxed. Just go with the flow of things and live and enjoy life.