It seems that more and more of us are beginning to find that our regular methods of coping with modern life are not working as well or are downright failing us. We may find ourselves searching for alternative ways to de-stress, or at least slow down our pace, and allow ourselves not to feel pressured to perform. We all tend to get caught up in the manic energy of working at our daily jobs, whether working for others or for ourselves. But, ultimately, we tend to be our own taskmasters and sometimes forget that we need to allow ourselves time to just be.
Many of us have seen the news reports that occasionally pop up on television every so often on the benefits of yoga and meditation. The medical community is finally rediscovering that the gentle movements of basic yoga and the focus of silent meditation are extremely beneficial for adults and children alike. A number of us have finally taken the step, many times out of desperation, of embracing the practice of Hatha Yoga, a gentle set of body movements meant to stretch out, relax and de-stress the body and the mind. Many have called Hatha Yoga a moving meditation. The first step in this yoga is normally to sit quietly and just breathe, not focusing on but just noticing how the breath goes out and in. After several minutes, you realize that you are beginning to feel calmer, and after a short while even your thoughts tend to slow down a bit. As you begin to move slowly through a few gentle yoga stretches, you may start to feel your body loosening up as your muscles un-knot themselves, and you may find that any anxiety or stress that you were feeling earlier is dissipating.
It may surprise some of you that the practice of Hatha Yoga and meditation has been around for a thousand years. There are a number of similar disciplines in other parts of the world that regard meditation and yoga as a vital part of daily living. This type of focused exercise and meditation is now being prescribed for a number of patients for whom medication does not work. Yoga and meditation are sometimes being listed in medical journals as viable alternatives for the lab created pills and medicines we have come to rely on as quick fixes for our over stressed bodies and minds. And they work! An interesting thing happens when yoga and meditation is practiced on a regular basis. The mind calms down, the body relaxes, and when you go back to work and move through your day, you suddenly find that you have more energy. You may find that your perspective on daily life is changing, not only towards your own life, but towards those around you, as well. We are all more connected than we know, and when one of us achieves a good balance, it can create a ripple effect, changing the rest of us as well.