Feeling stressed lately? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Despite the conveniences of the modern age, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that an incredible 40 million people suffer from some form of anxiety disorder (and that’s just in the U.S.).
Folks suffering from anxiety feel stressed out almost five times as much as the average person, and all that worrying can take a toll on your health. However, there is a simple method that many people use to keep all that stress away: yoga meditation.
What is Yoga Meditation?
Simply put, yoga meditation is the mental health side of yoga. Yoga is a holistic form of fitness, which means it engages the mind along with the body. While a beginning yogi may simply strike the poses (an excellent way to stretch your muscles and work your core), she will not reap the full benefit of yoga until she’s learned how to meditate.
There are many tips and tricks for mastering yoga meditation. Some people suggest you focus on your breathing as you practice. Others say you should focus on an object, like a candle or a spot on the wall. In truth, yoga meditation is like physical yoga--there are general guidelines for everyone, but you should practice the method that suits you best.
How Can it Help Me?
According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, mindful meditation--like the kind you engage in during a yoga practice--has a noticeable effect on anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. Regular meditation can not only help lower anxiety and stress levels, but it can also help people handle high-pressure situations more easily. With yoga meditation, you can be happier and less stressed everyday!
How Can it Help Others?
Once you incorporate yoga meditation into your daily routine, you’ll be amazed at how it transforms your life. By taking time to center yourself each day, you allow your mind to let go of the anxiety that keeps you wound up. With this skill handy, you’ll be better-equipped to tackle everything life throws at you - and it won’t even feel as stressful.
In fact, you might enjoy yoga meditation so much that you want to get the whole family involved! This is a great idea, particularly if you have an anxious child; studies on the benefits of yoga for children have found that regular practice can help little ones overcome anxiety. Before you know it, you’ll have a happier and much more peaceful household.
A Few Yoga Meditation Methods
So, you want to practice yoga meditation, but don’t know where to begin? Here are a few meditation styles you can try out right here, right now:
For Calmness: Sit with your legs crossed (criss-cross applesauce). Cross your arms and tuck your hands under your armpits with palms open and towards the body. Raise your shoulders to your ears. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply until you feel calm.
For Security: Begin in the same seated posture. Hold your hands 4-6 inches in front of your body, and make fists with thumbs extended (thumbs up sign). Put one hand above the other. Focus on holding this position as you breathe.
To Banish Worry: From your seated pose, place the back of your left hand into the palm of your right hand. Wrap your hands around each other, bring them to your heart, and hold them there. Close your eyes and breathe.
We live in a world that is fast-paced and full of stress. Yoga meditation can help you overcome that stress and live a happier, healthier life. Setting aside “me-time” for meditation (or anything else for that matter) can feel strange, but stick with it! With dedicated practice, this safe, cheap, and super effective practice can help you turn stress into a thing of the past. Trust me, everyone from your boss to your babies will appreciate the change.