Have you been struggling to relax? If you need to rejuvenate, practising yoga and meditation are great ways to do it, both in group classes or on your own at home.
Breathing exercises, stretching, relaxing... What’s the difference between yoga and meditation? What are the benefits of yoga and meditation when you’re overworked? How do you do it?
Just follow our advice and soon you’ll be benefitting from both.
What is Yoga?
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yug”, meaning union, as in the union of the body and the mind. This ancient Indian practice focuses on body positions, known as asanas, and pranayama breathing exercises.
However, yoga is more than just gymnastics. Yoga classes go much further than that as they also include elements of meditation. Yoga sessions bring together physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects.
Mindfulness meditation (being present in the here and know) is at the heart of practising yoga. Controlling your body through the different poses can help you find relief. The result is physical and mental relaxation.
The great thing about yoga is that anyone can practise it. When first starting out, you don’t need any particular physical skills.
It’s an activity that you can integrate naturally into your daily life. If you’re still not convinced, don’t forget that yoga can also change the way you think. It’s a great way to find more harmony in your life.
Regularly practising yoga can help you become more flexible, tone your muscles, and better control your emotions, resulting in better sleep and less stress. Both your body and mind will feel better!
To find yoga classes anywhere in the UK, there is no need to do an Internet search for yoga classes near me; you can head directly to Superprof!
The Different Types of Yoga
There are plenty of different types of yoga with the most common types in the West being Hatha yoga and Vinyasa yoga.
This is the oldest and most traditional style of yoga. Hatha yoga brings together your mind, body, heart, and soul. Anyone can do this types of yoga since there are different levels of difficulty in terms of poses and breathing exercises and it focuses on flexibility and relaxation.
Concentrating on your breathing can help you disconnect from the modern world and all the stresses that come with it. Poses like the sun salutation can help you combat back pain.
Vinyasa yoga focuses on transitioning from one pose to another fluidly while controlling your breathing. It’s freer than Ashtanga yoga and encourages more creativity as you can choose the order in which you move from position to position.
Vinyasa yoga is quite upbeat, too, it’s for those who are quite happy to break a sweat.
Discover also how you could practise yoga as a runner...
This type of yoga is rather dynamic and is for those in great shape. It was originally created to train men in the art of war and includes a number of “warrior poses”.
You move quickly from one position to another and hold certain positions while you focus on deep breathing. Ashtanga yoga strengthens muscles and improves flexibility.
There are some newer types of yoga like Acroyoga, which brings together asanas, acrobatics, dancing, and Thai massage!
If you like heights, try Anti-gravity Yoga, where you’re attached to ropes and move from one pose to another while barely touching the ground! Before you meditate, get yourself strapped in.
Depending on your situation, there are several other styles of yoga you could look at:
- Prenatal Yoga
- Kundalini Yoga
- Dynamic Yoga
- The Yoga of Sound
- Yoga Nidra
Find out how you can begin practising yoga at home...
What is Meditation for?
Meditation can improve our physical and mental well-being. It can relieve stress while focusing on our emotions and feelings.
In his book Siddhartha's Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment, James Kingsland focuses on Buddhist psychology and mindfulness research.
After a few weeks of meditation, the areas of the brain involved in learning, memory, and controlling emotions change. After more intense practice, the areas linked to stress are reduced and those involved in self-control are stimulated.
Fifteen minutes per day are enough to improve our well-being. While once seen as an ageing discipline, meditation is becoming more and more popular. By focusing on your thoughts and breathing, this introspective activity is useful in reducing physical and mental tension.
It’s very easy to practise meditation. You just need to find a quiet place in a bed, a chair, or just on the floor.
Once you’re comfortable on your yoga mat and guided by another person or yourself, you can listen to your feelings and learn to fully to exist in the present. You just need to train yourself to fully learn how to let go.
Discover these meditation techniques...
Yoga and Meditation on YouTube
If you want to learn more about yoga and meditation, the benefits and practises, there are a number of YouTube channels you should watch. Here is our non-exhaustive list:
Yoga with Adriene
Adriene’s YouTube channel has a good range of yoga videos. You can do yoga for a variety of different reasons. Whether it’s for runners, for losing weight, or bedtime yoga, you’ll be able to find the right video for you. There are also a lot of good videos for beginners.
Kino, the host of this channel, is an experienced yogi and his channel is a great resource for those learning yoga. If you’re looking for any particular pose, this is the channel you should go to first.
Tara Stiles created Strala Yoga, a dynamic yoga method that you do with music.
Head on over to her YouTube channel. Without taking yourself too seriously, you can learn yoga exercises you can do to relax and for strengthening. If you’re expecting a special gift, why not try out prenatal yoga?
Follow our guide to choosing the right yoga mat...
The Best Yoga and Meditation DVDs
Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies, Sara Ivanhoe
This yoga programme for beginners was put together by experts and is presented in a fun way. You’ll master the twelve essential yoga poses, breathing techniques, and how to relax and tone your muscles with yoga positions.
Yoga for Absolute Beginners, Susan Fulton
Learn quickly and become more flexible thanks to these exercises for beginners. The yoga poses are clearly explained and you can get your body moving along the relaxing music. Perfect for starting out.
Beginners Meditation & Mindful Stretching with Nadia Narain
- This meditation for beginners has some great advice on how to integrate meditation into your daily life. The programmes are between 5 and 10 minutes in length and are great for:
- Stress release
- Self-appreciation, etc.
Yoga to the Rescue for Back Pain, Desire Rumbaugh
Do you have back problems? Go with methods designed to improve your back muscles and alleviate back pain. You’ll also get rid of tension.
You’ll soon start feeling so much better!
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