Set intentions before your yoga practice to reap the most physical health & mental benefits from meditating.
It’s the season of creating new resolutions for 2017. Setting resolutions keeps us on track of how much we’ve evolved since the last display of fireworks. While it’s good to revel on finally achieving that almost-impossible asana, have you thought about the intention you have set before your practice?
I look at meditation as the state of consciousness where one’s mind is free of scattered thoughts. The practice brings about plenty of benefits with little to no risks, while improving various aspects of life. For example, meditation trains your mind to be separated of unnecessary thoughts, providing you with the mental space to deal with stressful conditions and environments, or to simply honour and embrace life and humanity. In addition, meditation also entails physical benefits such as improving your immune system and energy levels, and even lowering your blood pressure.
Meditation entails physical benefits such as improving your immune system and energy levels, and even lowering your blood pressure.
Similar to yoga poses, meditation is an art that takes time to perfect. To reap the full benefits, time and effort are required to be adept in the practice. The best results are achieved when you make a commitment to incorporate meditation in your daily routine. Take baby steps—if you have a regular yoga practice, start by carving out time to meditate, even if it’s only for a few minutes at the start.
If you have attended a yoga class before, you would have already tried simple meditation techniques. The prayanamas (breathing exercises) are techniques used in meditation. Keep practicing. Don’t be discouraged if a complete sense of calmness does not set in easily after a few sessions. Instead, try attending dedicated meditation classes to still your focus faster for a more effective practice. Trust the process and enjoy the journey.
The prayanamas (breathing exercises) are techniques used in meditation.
Studies show that it takes 21 consecutive days to form a new habit. If cultivating a regular practice seems too daunting, try stealing 5-minutes within your day to meditate. A consistent practice of 5-minutes for 21 days will help you turn the practice into a habit. You’ll be on your way to fulfilling your resolution of developing a stronger mind.
Start your meditation journey with an open mind. Delete the misconception that you have to be dressed in a certain way or sit in the lotus position on a mat to meditate. It is a non-intrusive practice; make use of the pockets of time you spend idling. Challenge yourself to basic breathing exercises during daily commutes or in noisy environments. This way, you cultivate meditation into your lifestyle without making major changes.
Here’s a simple meditation exercise you can try:
- Still your mind to focus on repeating a simple mantra.
- Start by repeating the gauranga mantra, which you can divide into four syllables: gau, ra, ang, ga.
- Mutter this under your breath, while focusing on maintaining a constant breathing rhythm.
Be patient and kind to your meditation practice as you are with your asanas. I look forward to hearing about your successful resolution fulfilment in 2018.