By Jensyn Hartzell
Yoga and meditation have become increasingly popular over the last few years. People of all ages have taken up these hobbies for various reasons.
Yoga is a combination of stretching, calisthenics, and breathing exercises that works muscles and can reduce stress. Meditation focuses on mental strength and sharpness along with breathing exercises.
While they are two different activities, meditation is commonly used in yoga.
According to Yoga Basics, a website dedicated to yoga, “yoga was developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago.”
Today, yoga classes and teaches can be found everywhere, and most likely with a waiting list. It has become so popular that there are unique classes with animals, partners, and children.
According to the Harvard Medical School, “Hatha is one of the most popular styles [of yoga today]. Hatha yoga focuses on pranayamas — breath-controlling exercises — followed by a series of asanas — yoga postures — and ends with savasana —a resting period.”
Asanas include poses like downward dog, locust, and bridge. By holding your body in these positions for a set amount of time, it strengthens muscles and improves physical balance.
When holding yoga poses, it is recommended to focus on breathing and attempt to relax your body as much as possible. This is where yoga meets meditation.
The Harvard Medical School also said that yoga has been proven to “lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar” along with “losing weight.”
“I began doing yoga during quarantine because I was bored, but now I do it almost every day,” said sophomore women’s volleyball player Courtney Maxwell. “It really does reduce my anxiety and make me feel refreshed.”
Anyone can pick up yoga, all that is required is some open space and a yoga mat. There are plenty of online videos and apps to help newbies get started.
Meditation does not require any equipment, but a brain and some time. It is best known for reducing stress in daily life and continuously keeping people positive.
Meditation can last for as little as five minutes or as long as hours. A person is required to sit still, close their eyes, and control their thoughts.
According to Healthline, meditation can also “enhance self-awareness, lengthen attention spans, reduce age-related memory loss, potential fight addictions, and improve sleep.”
Also according to Healthline, there is “focused-attention meditation,” which is “a concentration on a single object, thought, sound, or visualization,” and “open-monitoring meditation,” which encourages focusing on self-awareness of personal “thoughts, feelings, or impulses.”
Both yoga and meditation are easy to incorporate into daily lives. It is completely up to you how much time and energy is put into these new hobbies.
They are also easy to begin. There is no need for background information or amazing athletic ability; both hobbies were created to better yourself at your own pace and level.
By including meditation and yoga in a daily routine, a person will see positive results in both their physical and mental state.