For the longest time I couldn’t slow down. There was no such thing as relaxation for me, unless of course I was on the back of the horse. As relaxing of an activity as that was for my mind, it didn’t enable my body to de-stress. My muscles were constantly contracting suggesting the next movement of the 1000 pound animal beneath me. Luckily through the course of my troublesome past few years… I found yoga.
In the beginning it was strenuous, core shattering, shoulder burning yoga. Until one day I went to a yin class… ACCIDENTALLY. Everything I thought I knew about yoga changed. I sat there agitated, mind racing and slightly irritated that my workout for the day was shot. But I progressed through the class. And yes I did make it through the 10 minute shivasana.
Not only did I make it through.. I loved it. The next day my body felt looser than it had in what was probably months, I hadn’t noticed any mental differences or at least hadn’t learned how to turn into those differences.. yet. Fast forward a few years and….
Today I am writing after my 1.5 hour long yoga/ meditation sess at FarmTrue. There was no shoulder burning, or 5 Vinyasa flow repetitions, just PURE BLISS and BREATH. I loved every minute of it. Our instructor was so zen, a good instructor makes the whole experience. I could just feel my shoulders melt down my back when we did our shoulder rolls. My body didn’t even resist one bit when we stretched out to touch our toes.
The way a practice begins really sets the tone for the whole session if you ask me. This particular class we started with a gentle breathing warming up, some nice full body stretches, and a few minutes of simply closing our eyes and arriving on the mat. I know, sounds scary to anyone who is used to the more heart pounding forms of vinyasa. But below I’ve outlined why everyone even die hard 100 degree hot yogis need to add some soothing restorative sessions to their practice.
Top 5 Reasons Why you NEED Meditative Yoga
1. The Breath: Consciously breathing in deeply and fully to empty your lungs encourages the movement of old stale air, and stagnant unwanted toxins out of the body.
2. Reduces Stress: Slow breathing in a rhythmic motion calms the nervous system particularly thy sympathetic which is responsible for our fight or flight response. Try breathing in for a count of 4, hold for 4, breath out for 4, hold for 4 and then repeat. The art of breath counting enhances the sensation of relaxation.
3. Encourages Muscle Lengthening: A good majority of us spend 3-4 hours in the gym each week working on strengthening our muscles, but ask yourself honestly.. Do you spend that many hours stretching? Probably not. An hour or two of slow moving yoga can help release those tight areas and bring breath and suppleness to areas of stiffness
4. Enhances Focus: In my experience at least, after a serious session of meditative yoga my mind is calm and I can tackle whatever task that comes my way that day feeling less bogged down by competing thoughts.
5. It’s Grounding: Many of us are constantly running around just trying to get ahead. A full 1.5 hours of meditative yoga forces us to slow down and focus on where we are right then I always feel right at home after my first 5 minutes, any other thoughts about what I should be doing float away into the air.
Do you already practice mediative or yin yoga? What benefits do you feel like you receive from it?
Bite Me, With Love