Staying Fit This July 4th: Yoga and Meditation

Staying Fit This July 4th: Yoga and Meditation
The practice of yoga and meditation has been around for centuries and both have become popular in the world of health. Each practice is spiritual and has many benefits but each is different in their own way. By practicing yoga, you can increase flexibility and muscle strength. Meditation is known to help relieve stress and overall well being in the body.
Yoga is not only used for physical aspects, but it also has meditative and spiritual grounding to connect yourself to your body. It helps you relax and eases stress. Studies have also shown yoga to have a great effect on one's mental health, healthline.com states that, “After 10 weeks, the women who practiced yoga once weekly had fewer symptoms of post traumatic syndrome disorder (PTSD). In fact, 52% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD at all. It’s not entirely clear exactly how yoga is able to reduce symptoms of anxiety. However, it emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and finding a sense of peace, which could help treat anxiety.” While yoga can be used for your mental health, it can be very beneficial to your physical health, as well. 
When you practice yoga, you work muscles all over your body. If you have persistent back pain and discomfort, it may be a good way to relieve that pain.  The stretches and poses you do may help to alleviate lower back pain, as your core becomes stronger. Practicing yoga can also improve your heart health and reduce associated risk factors. While doing yoga, blood is pumped throughout your body, helping to supply tissues with important nutrients. This lowers your blood pressure which can help reduce the risks of different heart problems. 
Meditation is a practice that trains your mind to be able to focus and redirect your thoughts. There are mental benefits because meditation is able to sway your mood and but you in a more peaceful mindset. One of its main benefits is its ability to relieve stress and anxiety. It works by being able to reduce inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines that are caused by stress. Meditation can also help you improve self awareness. When you practice meditation, you are encouraged to look at the good parts of your life. By doing this, most people experience an emotional uplift when in deep relaxation. 
Overall, incorporating yoga and meditation in your life will likely have a large impact on your body’s physical and mental health. It's something that can be easily learned and If you practice a few times a week it can help make an all around notable difference in how you feel.
Anna Yachnin
@annayachnin
Lead Content Contributor
Photo Credit: 

By Ari Isaacman Bevacqua @ari_nyt

 


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