Over the last quarter century there has been an emerging body of international research suggesting that mind-body practices, including yoga and meditation can improve healing the body. Integrating yoga and meditation practices into daily life can assist in a positive way to ones health also assisting those using conventional medicine and/or treatments. More recent studies have shown the practice of yoga and meditation results in lower cortisol levels (stress hormone), stimulates disease-fighting genes and can assist in weight management.
How can yoga and meditation help heal?
Yoga and meditation offers physical and mental transformation.
Yoga asana (physical posture) combined with pranayama (breathing practices) stimulates internal organs and builds mindfulness. We are multi-dimensional beings made up not just of our physical form but many interactive layers. These include our body, our mind and emotions, our vital energy force (prana), our wisdom body and the bliss body. In yoga philosophy these are referred to as the five sheaths or ‘kosha’s’. They are not part of our usual anatomical body; they are a deeper expression of our true underlying nature. Yoga works universally with all the systems of the body, it is about a deep integration and balance for our entire being.
Meditation plays a key role. Gaining a permanent higher level of positivity creates strength of mind. How you feel or imagine yourself to be has an enormous impact on your emotional state. Observing our mind and tendencies is one the first steps in meditation practice. As we become conscious of our own mental patterns we use the techniques in meditation to build strength and focus. The goal is to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes us to relax. This is further proven by Herbert Benson’s theory known as the ‘relaxation response.’
It is only through consistent practice one can begin the journey to connect heart-body-mind, it brings greater harmony and balance thus deeply healing and transforming. As we become more conscious beings we become attuned to our bodies response to food, medication, body ailments, treatments etc. This plays a vital part in ones healing force. It is important to try different styles of yoga and meditation in order to find the one most suited to you as an individual.
Written By Romina Di Federico
Featured in Ciao Magazine (September 2013 #218)