Yoga and Meditation have been around for thousands of years and individuals who practice one or both of these modalities are continuously reaping their benefits. First, we will explore the different types of Yoga and its benefits and then discuss meditation and how to get started!
There are several different types of Yoga ranging from Restorative to Ashtanga, Pre-natal to
Bikram. Most of these different types have one thing in common, linking breath with movement. If you are new to the practice linking your breath with movement can be a little overwhelming at first, but finding the right class to attend or an online video to watch will make all the difference. I recommend starting out with a Gentle or Restorative class (visit SAFFP’s Virtual Studio for a great beginner level Gentle Yoga class) and taking advantage of the use of props; such as blocks, belts or straps, and blankets. The use of these props will assist your Yoga journey. If you discover that flexibility is an issue, remember that Yoga is a practice and flexibility will come with time and consistency.
As practitioners, we can reap several benefits from Yoga. Not only has Yoga proven to help individuals with physical problems such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, by reducing inflammation and preventing joint cartilage breakdown, but it can help us mentally and emotionally. Yoga boosts our immune system and reduces stress and anxiety. Meditation also helps in reducing stress and anxiety.
If you are new to meditation, try practicing for just 5 or 10 minutes then build from there. Guided meditations are a great way to help keep your mind focused. You can find countless guided meditation podcasts or YouTube videos (check out SAFFP’s Jennifer Grove’s guided meditation by clicking here) that will help you get started. Additionally, try using the flickering flame of a candle to help you focus on something visually while meditating.
Meditation has several benefits; from increasing one's attention span and reducing age-related memory loss to helping manage and control physical pain. Both yoga and meditation have also been proven to improve sleep quality and decrease blood pressure in individuals.
If one of your New Year resolutions for 2021 was to become more mindful then picking up a Yoga and/or meditation practice is a great idea! Through these movement and breath exercises, we can unlock the potential to better our lives and the world around us!
Mary is the Head Coach of SAFFP's FIT Small Group Program, a certified Personal Trainer., and Yoga instructor. Mary brings her mix of education and wellness background into all of her personal training sessions and classes for a unique, functional fitness experience. She began her journey in the wellness industry because of her strong desire to help others find their way on their own wellness path. Mary believes the best part about being a personal trainer is watching her clients progress and succeed at things they never thought they could do!