Meditation exercises are effective means of reducing stress and teaching your body and mind to relax. Not only that, such exercises can also help build self-confidence and self-esteem. And most importantly, just like any other exercise, it can help you maintain your good health and keep you in great shape.
There are many types of meditation exercises that you can do. It would depend in their ability to make you feel relaxed and relieve you of stress. One that you can try out is the ‘Walking Meditation’. It is a form of meditation that monks do as a habit in monasteries. What they do is walk on a quiet area for a time while contemplating or meditating on something. It can be so easy that you can do it too.
In doing the Walking Meditation, you need to find yourself a set path. It can be a circular track, a sports field, or even a large garden good enough for walking on. Start by walking the path in order to get to know the route. Once you have got used to it, begin taking in breaths in a slow and deep breath and then let it out slowly.
As you do this, try to be conscious of your body. Feel or sense your entire body and be aware of its every parts. Try to walk slowly. As you are walking try to mentally be aware of how your body is functioning as it moves. Do not attempt to criticize every function or movement. Just try to be aware of how your body moves or works as it walks.
At first it might come off as silly for some people. But just like any other forms of meditation, it is not something that you should rush. You need to get comfortable with it. Sometimes distractions may come and they usually do. It is normal, especially on the initial days that a thought comes into your head like: "This is silly" or, "I have to do the dishes". When they do, just try to push them gently away, and continue on with your walking. You can do this for 10 or 15 minutes, take a bit of rest, and then get on with your normal routine in life.
Another simple meditation exercise that you can do is what is known as the ‘Step Inside a Painting’ technique. You can start by finding a painting or picture that you enjoy looking at. Place it a few feet away from you and at a comfortable visual distance. Find a comfortable place to sit on, preferably some area in your home where you will not be disturbed.
When you already have your painting and quite area ready, try to close your eyes. Be aware of how you breathe. Just be attentive to how your body functions as it is breathing in and breathing out. Try to keep everything as they are and try not to change anything, even the timing of your breathing. After a couple of minutes, you will notice your body beginning to slow down.
At this point, you can open your eyes and look at the chosen painting. Simply gaze at the picture. Be aware of the scenery, the lines, and the colours of the painting before you. Try to set the picture in your mind. Once you have it captured in your mind, close your eyes once again. Create the picture mentally and imagine yourself walking into the picture. Have yourself stand inside the picture in your mind. Take a look through the frame and to the place where you are sitting. Allow your mind to take you into the picture. Explore and be aware of your surroundings as you are inside the painting. It can be quite an adventure trying to learn some of these meditation exercises.
Many undesirable ailments affect parts of our physical, endocrinal and nervous systems. However, the subsequent results can be improved with the help of yoga. Regular practice has proven to be an effective relief for various conditions. Below are just some of the benefits of regular yoga practice:
Yoga increases flexibility. Yoga postures stimulate joints, including those inflexible ones that have not been exercised for some time. Yoga poses also increase the lubrication of joints, muscles and tendons. A person that started doing yoga as an inflexible student, will soon experience improvement in flexibility, even in those parts of the body that have not been consciously worked on.
Yoga massages all organs of the body as the exercise method that can work on your internal organs, including those that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a natural way on the various body parts. This massage of the organs helps us by keeping away disease, and providing a sensation at the first possible instance of a likely onset of the problem.
Yoga offers a total detoxification of the body. It gently stretches the muscles and joints while massaging the various organs. Yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to various parts of the body.
Yoga helps in the clearing out of toxins from every part of your body, while keeping nourishment. That can lead to benefits such as delayed ageing, energy and enthusiasm for life.
Yoga is an excellent way to tone your muscles. Muscles that have been weak are stimulated repeatedly to shed excess fats and softness. Consequently, this creates a positive outlook that generates more energy.
Those physical benefits are a fraction of what yoga practice has to offer.
Partner yoga is a physical practice of strengthening trust, comfort and good communication. If you are looking to do something special with your partner, try partner yoga – something to remember! Partner yoga is a great way to share an experience with a good friend or loved one.
Essentially, every partner yoga class differs, but they are all vigorous, playful and fun. If you are confident with your partner, you will get close to and adjust him or her. You could have moments of supporting each other, or you may fall together. Your partner should focus on your safety and help you settle deeper into poses with less effort. The poses are not very complicated. However, working as a team could inevitably create some confusion, but it is all in good fun.
While choosing your yoga partner, make sure that there is trust and comfort between you. Best to choose someone you have a good connection with, are willing to get physically close to, and whom you can communicate clearly with. Your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend is usually great, and someone you care about. If you are interested in partner yoga, go with a close friend and have a great time. Try not to pick a random person, and keep in mind that your partner will be in your personal space for the whole class.
Make sure you are ready to move around freely, stretch and dress comfortably. Bring your yoga mat, towel and a water bottle - anything you would bring to a regular yoga class.
If you need yoga equipment, most yoga studios provide you with everything you need. Apart from the yoga gear, you need a partner who is a good match for you, and has a positive personality.
Partner yoga is a great opportunity to:
Biofeedback is a kind of feedback that a person can obtain from special equipment in real time, to make him or her aware of the bodily processes such as blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature, sweating, and muscle tension, in order to develop the ability to consciuosly control the related physiological activities.
Biofeedback systems have been known in India for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes.
Some yogis are able to do that without the use of equipment, but biofeedback training allows users, through outward visual or audio signals, to gain control over physical processes previously considered automatic. It helps survive in extreme or hazardous situations, and it also is beneficial in treating certain ailments, such as stress, migraine, tension headaches, high blood pressure, heart trouble, insomnia, muscular tics, and anxiety.
Some types of biofeedback instrumentation include:
Electromyogram (EMG) - the most common form of biofeedback measurement. An EMG uses electrodes or other types of sensors to measure muscle tension alerting you to muscle tension so you can learn to recognize the feeling early on and try to control the tension right away. EMG is mainly used as a relaxation technique to help ease tension in those muscles involved in backaches, headaches, neck pain and grinding your teeth.
Galvanic skin response training - sensors measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin alerting you to anxiety. This information can be useful in treating emotional disorders such as phobias, anxiety and stuttering.
Electroencephalography (EEG) - monitors the activity of brain waves linked to different mental states, such as wakefulness, relaxation, calmness, light sleep and deep sleep. The user learns when he or she is producing the alpha waves also produced in meditation.
Biofeedback opens possibilities of self-healing, however it should not be taken beyond relaxation without a doctor, to avoid damaging the vital organs.
Even though yoga practice leads to a union of body and mind, some yoga practitioners don’t always appreciate that the emotional benefits of yoga are just as powerful as the physical ones. What draws you to yoga the most? What does yoga teach you? Do you follow its guidance, and recognise the effect on you? Have you experienced some of the emotional benefits?
Let’s have a look at some.
Present Moment Awareness
Focusing on the present - letting the past and the future fade away - might be a challenge. However, when you practise being in the moment regularly, you stop dwelling on the issues from the past and worrying about the future. You are more positive about yourself, handling calmly whatever happens, and you become free of the negative thoughts that you don’t need. Your awareness will largely improve your mental wellbeing.
Many practices of yoga can help you reduce your stress level. An example of that is Pranayama – breathing technics. Practising attentive breathing has contributed to reducing cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Also, while practicing yoga postures endorphins are released. This group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system, has a number of physiological functions. For instance, they can improve your disposition, and help you manage stress better.
Through its simple methods, yoga teaches us how to be in the present moment and approach problems with calm, balance, and mental comfort.
"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life." Eckhart Tolle
Every physical action puts tension in the muscles, but we also spend energy unnecessarily, without active muscular movement. We tense our muscles as a result of thoughts and emotions, especially the negative ones, such as worries, sorrow, anxieties, anger or greed.
A sudden outburst of anger produces a shock wave in the nervous system, all muscles are tensed, blood pressure increases, and breathing becomes irregular. After the anger subsides, there is still mental fatigue or tension that also consumes energy.
If any of these negative emotions become a habit, they can have a dangerous effect on our body and mind. More of our energy is spent on keeping the muscles ready for work than the actual task done. Since even during sleep muscles are often tensed, only through the regular practice of conscious physical, mental and spiritual relaxation, we can help them relax completely, and we can bring the body and mind to the neutral, peaceful state.
All yogic practices help achieve relaxation and tranquility. Pranayama, Asana and Dyana all have a relaxing effect on the practitioner. Even those who practise these methods of yoga separately, report harmony and relaxation.
In order to achieve perfect relaxation, the following three main methods are used by yogis:
Physical Relaxation – with the use of autosuggestion, you relax the muscles and internal organs, from the toes upwards to the face and the crown of the head; then slowly spreading internally to the main organs.
Mental Relaxation – by concentrating on slow and rhythmic breathing for a few minutes, you allow the mind to become quiet.
Spiritual Relaxation - a natural consequence of the above methods, the most complete method in which a Yogi removes himself from the physical body notion, and relinquishes the ego. During this practice, a Yogi recognizes the pure consciousness within himself. This realization completes relaxation.
Learning how to relax is one of the most important yoga lessons.