Most people are well aware by now that the formula to a happy and healthy life is to exercise and eat well. However, today’s hectic lifestyles often mean that we frequently find ourselves in stressful situations. In order to combat stress we need to learn how to relax, and that’s where meditation and yoga come in.
The practice of yoga has been around for hundreds of years (or more). It originated in India, and was introduced by holy men (called Yogis) who would meditate for days together, in order to train their minds and bodies, and to achieve a sense of well being. Nowadays, many people think of yoga in terms of the different styles of yoga, or in terms of yoga poses, but in reality it is a combination of these exercises as well as the practice of meditation.
However, it’s not necessary to practice both meditation and yoga simultaneously, as the two compliment each other any way. In general, though, combining the practice of yoga with meditation will have a synergistic effect, working simultaneously on both the mind and the body. Engaging in meditation and yoga requires a certain amount of self-discipline, and it’s necessary for beginners to be very careful to follow instructions carefully. Ideally, the beginner to yoga and meditation should join a class, where a qualified instructor can demonstrate the correct way to practice the poses, and can ensure that all moves are done effectively. Often, the presence of other students in the class will also serve as a motivation to continue with the yoga.
Of course, a class isn’t necessary, especially if there are no yoga classes in your area, or you can’t find the time to travel to your nearest yoga center. It’s possible to perform yoga within the comfort of your own home, and with the number of yoga DVDs available today, it’s also possible to get almost the same level of instruction that you’d get from attending a class. It’s also possible to practice yoga online with others, which may help motivate you to regularly practice your yoga.
In an ideal world we’d each have time to practice yoga each day, but this isn’t realistic for many people. If possible, try to perform your yoga at least three times a week. If you haven’t got a large amount of time, perhaps it would be possible to break your practice time down into chunks of twenty minutes, or even less if necessary. You may find that the regular practice of yoga gives you more energy and allows you to do your chores more efficiently, thus freeing up time for more yoga!
If you decide to practice yoga and meditation at home, it’s a great idea to get yourself a yoga mat, some comfortable clothes and even some yoga music (or other appropriate music). Most of these should be available in the sports department of your local department store, but if not, you should be able to find them online.