Yoga and Meditation: How to Achieve a Healthy Mind and Body

Jasmine Judge, Design Editor

The ancient arts of yoga and meditation can trace their roots back thousands of years to the South Asian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Originally meant to help followers understand the forces of life and nature, yoga and meditation have become fairly mainstream wellness methods in the 21st century. Despite their popularization, the benefits of these practices are indisputable. 

Yoga and meditation are very similar in that both intend to bring the mind and body to a state of mental clarity and inner peace. While yoga is a method of exercise that helps improve flexibility and coordination, meditation is an exercise of the mind through controlled breathing and concentration. The two often go hand in hand.

Many use yoga and meditation as a means of stress relief. Both practices have been shown to benefit those suffering from anxiety, depression and insomnia, amongst other disorders. These practices have many physical benefits as well, such as improved heart health, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and overall daily energy and strength. These methods are also used to assist those suffering from chronic pain conditions. Yoga and meditation balance the body, helping to alleviate muscle tension and bolster joints. 

Yoga and meditation are fairly common practices among professional athletes as well. Famous players such as NBA stars Kevin Love, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal have all incorporated yoga and meditation into their daily routines. The institution of these practices helps athletes center their focus and release strain on the body prior to participation in high-intensity team sports, such as basketball. This helps to prevent injury and enhance their overall performance on the field.

One must follow certain steps to practice yoga and meditation efficiently. Although learning these exercises is fairly simple, the proper conditions are necessary for them to be effective. A quiet setting and comfortable positioning help beginners center their focus during yoga and meditation. As one advances in skill, it is easier to practice these exercises in high-stress situations.

Keeping a positive attitude and an open mind is key; oftentimes, one may convince themselves that yoga and meditation do not work before trying them. This creates a barrier that keeps one from allowing one’s body and mind to relax. Putting aside all judgment and negative thoughts gives one’s body a chance to feel the effects and better themselves, both mentally and physically.