Mental and Psychological Benefits of Meditation and Yoga

Peace

While physiological benefits of the yoga include increased flexibility, decreased muscle stiffness, weight loss, body toning, etc. the mental, psychological, and cognitive benefits of yoga are numerous. I would like to share with you these benefits. These were based on several studies and researches done around the world.

1) Yoga improves mental well being:
With the help of yoga, you can definitely throw away the unhealthy feelings of stress, tension, and bad emotions. According to the British Psychological Society, yoga involves concentration on the breath and body, which makes it a great way to soothe a person’s mind and relieve worries. By helping discharge tension and stress, yoga poses and breathing exercises (pranayama) keep a person free from such negative matters.

2) Yoga helps with anxiety and depression:
Yoga has been proven helpful in reducing anxiety and depression through relaxation, meditation, socialization, and exercise. According to a Harvard University article, yoga is able to accomplish this by helping regulate a person’s stress response system. With its ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as improve respiration, yoga provides you with the means to deal with and resolve anxiety and depression without resorting to expensive medications.

3) Yoga boosts memory and improves concentration:
Yoga has been proven effective at improving memory and concentration. Sitting a few minutes in meditation is the perfect way to clear the mind and calm senses. By concentrating on your breath, you can silence the static noise in your head and focus your mind, and you can experience better remembering of things, good concentration, and much better performance of daily life activities.

4) Yoga improves the mental health conditions of adolescents:
Adolescence is a stage in one’s life when a variety of mental health problems are more likely to develop due to changes in hormones and growth. With the many cases of psychological disorders diagnosed in teenagers like anger, introvertness, violent nature, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc, yoga has been seen as a helpful safe method to use. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. This study had some of the subjects enrolled in PE classes centered on Kripalu Yoga. This type of yoga involved physical postures, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. In comparison to the control group, the yogis displayed better moods, lower levels of anxiety and tension, better anger control, improved resilience, and enhanced mindfulness.

5) Yoga reduces the effects of traumatic experiences:
People who have been abused, undergone big unexpected losses in life, etc. usually develop a condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Patients who suffer from this mental illness frequently experience nightmares and flashbacks. In cases where contemporary mental and pharmacological treatments have failed, Hatha Yoga has been shown to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms, according to the American Psychological Association. As such,
Yoga might just be a great counterattack against the ravages of traumatic experiences.

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INDIAN CULTURE OF EATING WITH HANDS – BENEFITS:

Our beautiful Indian culture says “eating food with our hands feeds not only the body, but also the mind and the spirit”. Let us see the benefits and importance of eating with our hands.

5 FINGERS – 5 ELEMENTS: According to Ayurveda, we are made up of five elements (Panchabhootas): Fire, Air, Sky,
Earth, and Water. Thumb indicates fire, Index finger indicates air, Middle finger indicates sky, Ring finger
indicates earth, and Little finger indicates water. An imbalance of any one of these elements can lead to diseases.
When we eat with our hands, we usually join our fingers and thumb to eat. This put together all the five elements
and energizes the food we eat and helps us become healthy and keep all our elements in balance.

IMPROVES DIGESTION: Touch is one of the most strong body sensation. Each finger aids in the transformation of food,
before it passes to stomach. Gathering the fingertips as they touch the food stimulates the five elements and
invites Agni (Fire) to bring forth the digestive juices. Brain sends signals to our stomach that we are going to eat and
stomach gets ready to digest the food by secreting the digestive enzymes needed for digestion and helps in better
digestion.

EXPERIENCE PLEASURE WHILE EATING: By eating with hands, we become more conscious of the tastes, textures, and smells of the foods and it adds to the pleasure of eating. The more mindful we are, we need less amount of food to satisfy
our hunger and taste buds.

AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS: When we eat, it normally takes 20 minutes for our brain to feel, “I am full”. When we eat with
our hands and eat slowly and mindfully, it gives the stomach a chance to tell the brain we have had enough before we
overeat.

Note: It is very healthy and hygienic if we wash our hands clean before and after eating.5 fingers - 5 elements

How To Be Mindful

  1. Showering or bathing

Notice the feeling of the water running over your body. If you like baths, notice how the warmth of the water envelops your body. Draw your attention to the sensation of your fingers on your scalp as you wash your hair. Explore the feeling of your skin with soap on it or the texture of your wash cloth or loofah against your skin. Visualize the water washing away your preoccupations, worries, negative feelings, and tensions in the body.

  1. Drinking your daily coffee or tea

Close the newspaper, put down your phone or tablet. Close your eyes. Notice the sensation of the heat radiating through the cup and onto your hands. Lift the cup to your nose and savor the rich smell of your coffee, or the spicy, sweet, and herbal smell of your tea. Notice the warmth of the steam as it touches your face. Pay attention to the sensations in your nose, throat, and chest as you inhale the perfume of your chosen drink. As you take a sip, swirl the liquid around your mouth, noticing how the flavors and temperature transform. Revel in the sensation of the liquid as it flows down your throat and settles in your stomach.

  1. Eating meals

We’ve all heard our mom or dad say, “You should eat more slowly!” In a sense, that’s a call to eat more mindfully. The beauty of mindfulness is that it simultaneously allows us to accept what’s happening and create change simply by being aware. Mindfulness in our eating habits might begin with noticing how quickly and mindlessly we consume our food. It might involve more awareness of when we engage in “emotional eating” (eating as a tool to cope with our emotions). Becoming mindful of how and why we eat gives us the power to choose how we relate to our food. It gives us the chance to gradually slow down our process of eating — noticing the smells, textures, tastes, and temperatures of our food as we prepare and consume our meals.

  1. Exercising

We often engage in exercise as a means to an end — to lose weight, get stronger, or become healthier overall. While these can be meaningful goals, they also keep us future oriented and often dissatisfied with our current selves. Whether we work out at a gym, run in the park, or go to yoga classes, approaching exercise mindfully gives us a chance to be more present, more satisfied with our exercise practice, and more likely to establish a long-lasting exercise practice.

Mindfulness in exercise begins with noticing and accepting what is happening in our mental, emotional, and physical world at any given moment. Awareness of our physical world can mean appreciation of our environment, or deeper awareness and connection to our physical body. Through exercise we can become more aware of, connected to, and appreciative of the capacity of our bodies. Don’t just feel the burn; mindfully feel the burn!