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Move over peanut butter and jelly, because there is a new dynamic duo that can help you to create new and healthy habits: YOGA AND MEDITATION. While yoga and meditation may not be as tasty as peanut butter and jelly (or peanut butter and chocolate…really peanut butter and anything for that matter), we can utilize these two practices to help us identify and implement new healthy habits into our lives! These two traditional eastern practices compliment each other nicely as their foundations root within inner reflection and personal betterment.
Yoga: Meditation in Motion
What yoga is and what it can do varies vastly all based on the individual. To some it can simply be a form of exercise/a way to get a good workout, to some it’s a lifestyle, to others it can be a way to hang out with friends (the list goes on and on). Personally, throughout my own yogi career, I have often heard yoga as being referred to as “meditation in motion”. To me, (and please note, what yoga is to me, may not be what it is to you!) yoga is a way to connect movement with my breath, to increase my strength and flexibility, and a way to focus solely on myself for a predetermined amount of time. This being said, yoga traditionally is described as doing various poses with your body that have originated from ancient India. These poses are held to develop strength and flexibility, while also strengthening the mind as well. For me, it is almost impossible to describe yoga without also mentioning meditation.
Meditation: Exploring the Self
As we went over above, it is possible that you may have experienced a meditative state in yoga, but meditation is also something that you can do separately outside of your yoga practice.
But what is meditation, how do we use it, and what good does it do?
Meditation is somewhat synonymous with self-reflection, or turning our gaze inwards helping us to transform our mind (I almost think of it as exercise for our brain). Through controlled breathing, visualization, and clearing of the mind we gain all sorts of insight as to who we are. Increased self-awareness, concentration, and mental clarity are all benefits we typically see with consistent (this is the part I know I always struggle with) meditation practice. By simply being in the space and body that we are, we not only help ourselves to better understanding our self, but our behaviors as well (this includes the habits we may practice).
Bringing Yoga and Meditation Together
Yoga and meditation have fit together over hundreds of years, helping people stay both physically and cognitively fit. By bringing these two practices together, we become better informed and in tune with our bodies and mind – ultimately it connects us with ourselves, helping us to become a more well-rounded individual. Through bringing these two aspects of ourselves together we see greater success with developing and maintaining healthy habits over time.
Still not convinced? Below are 3 reasons why meditation and yoga should be on your daily schedule if they aren’t already:
- Delve Deeper into your Self
Both yoga and meditation require us to have a better understanding as to who we are. These two techniques and lifestyle choices turn one’s gaze inward. By doing this self-reflection, we can better understand what our bodies need and therefore create and carry-out healthy habits better. Self-reflection has long been utilized to develop our own understanding as to who we are and why we are the way we are. Through this, personal growth and development is achieved.
- Stop Destructive Thoughts and Patterns
Within yoga and meditation, we often touch upon the concept of samskaras. These are essentially habits, or patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and actions that we repeat throughout our daily lives. Just as though we use yoga and meditation to create new and healthy habits, we can also use these two reflective processes to quit/avoid negative and detrimental habits. Through gaining a better understanding as to how our thoughts and behaviors manifest, we gain true insight into who we are as a person and how we can become both happier and healthier.
- Develop Self-Control and Discipline
Let me start off by saying I envy people who have self-control and discipline, plain and simple these are two traits that are definitely not my strengths. Through consistent yoga and meditation practice we are making and strengthening neural connections between what we’re doing and how we feel. This being said, it is thought as we continue our practice on a consistent basis it becomes easier and easier to practice as we are associating both of the practices with the outcomes (how we feel). Simply speaking, the more we practice, the better in tune we are with our body and mind, the better we feel, and the more we practice (a beautiful yogi cycle).
Putting all the Pieces Together
As we start out this new year, talks regarding healthy habits and how to maintain these lifestyle changes long term are everywhere! With the utilization of yoga and meditation you can be better prepared to brainstorm what habits to implement and to help you stick with these new changes in your life long term.
New Year’s habits (and most new habits in general), are difficult to maintain, but with yoga and meditation you can better understand what your barriers are to implementing/maintaining these changes, how you feel when you do participate in these healthy habits, and how you can improve for the future.
All of these benefits that we outlined above are reasons why you should try (try being the operative word, you can surely succeed with habits without yoga and meditation) combining yoga and mediation into your daily schedule. These two concepts are simply two tools you can put in your toolbox to help you live a healthier and happier life!
How do all of you use yoga and meditation? Do you find yourself favoring one over the other? Do your yoga and meditation practices help you create new and healthy habits? What tools do you use to stay on track with healthy habits?
Thinking up, and sticking with healthy habits can be tricky for a lot of people (myself included!), so I can’t wait to hear all about your personal techniques to make healthy ideas into habits!
Thanks for reading, I hope each and every one of you has a beautiful day.
Occupational Therapy student Mandy Fabry always had a passion for yoga. Trading in her traditional role as a student to begin her journey as an instructor and blogger. She projects an air on lightness and celebrates each body, breath, and movement. Her background not only nourishes the physical body, but restores the soul as well. Appreciating the body as a whole is Mandy’s main focus, and will bring awareness and balance to all aspects of your life. She is excited to take this next step with you, and hopes that the benefits and lifestyle of yoga can be accessed by all.