Most people already know that the formula for 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. To combat stress we need to learn 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 to train their minds and bodies and achieve a sense of well-being. Today, many people think of yoga in terms of different styles of yoga or in terms of yoga postures, but it is actually a combination of these exercises and the practice of meditation.
However, it is not necessary to practice meditation and yoga simultaneously, since both complement each other in some way. However, in general, combining yoga practice with meditation will have a synergistic effect, working on both mind and body simultaneously. Participating in meditation and yoga requires a certain amount of self-discipline, and beginners need to be very careful to follow the instructions carefully. Ideally, the beginner in yoga and meditation should join a class, where a qualified instructor can demonstrate the correct way to practice the postures and can ensure that all movements are performed effectively. Often the presence of other students in the class will also serve as motivation to continue with 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 do yoga in 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 as you would by attending a class. It is also possible to practice yoga online with other people, which can help motivate you to practice yoga regularly.
In an ideal world, everyone would have time to practice yoga every day, but this is not realistic for many people. If possible, try to do your yoga at least three times a week. If you don’t have a lot of time, it might be possible to divide your practice time into twenty-minute chunks, or even less if necessary. You may find that regular yoga practice gives you more energy and allows you to get things done more efficiently, freeing up time for more yoga!
If you decide to practice yoga and meditation at home, it’s a great idea to get a yoga mat, comfortable clothes, and even some yoga music (or other appropriate music). Most of these should be available in the athletic department of your local department store, but if not, you should be able to find them online.