If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re somewhat familiar with yoga and meditation, two alternative healing practices that benefit the mind, body, and soul like no other. That said, did you know that unlike present-day yoga, traditional yoga was much more, if not entirely, meditation based? And while it’s fun to dress up in hip and cool yoga gear and lay down those YogaToes, the more a person can retain the spirit of meditation while going through the back bends and pigeon poses the better.
Carol Haslam pens this recent Roxborough-Manayunk Patch post on the origins of yoga and why a practice comes so highly recommended, especially when it comes to meditation benefits. According to Haslam, originally over 5,000 years ago, yoga only had seated positions. The practice, combined with meditation was meant for spiritual growth and connection to God. Over time, with the development of Hatha Yoga, poses began to be incorporated. Today, yoga is used both for physical and spiritual exercise.
- The focus that it takes to engage in the poses helps the mind to settle – even an ADHD mind like my own, since it pairs meditation with a physical action. Many times, getting the mind to focus and settle is exactly what someone needs to have an “ah-ha” moment, or to de-stress. Clinical studies (even one from UPENN) have proven that meditation lowers blood pressure and has other health benefits as well.
- From a spiritual point of view, meditation is encouraged or even commanded in most, if not all, world religions. So when I engage in yoga, even if the instructor focuses on a religion other than your own, you can replace it with meditations on matters of your own faith, or simply meditations of the beach or a calming picture in your mind.
Read more from Haslam on meditation and yoga here.