Restorative Meditation Heals Your Body and Mind
While many Western yoga practices focus on the physicality of yoga, meditation is an equally important part of practice. At Vinayam, in addition to building strength and flexibility, we believe that yoga is an important mind-body therapy which brings stillness and mindfulness to the body. We include a short period for meditation at the beginning and end of our yoga classes. Recovery yoga and other therapeutic styles that focus on healing, rather than simply on exercise, offer the greatest meditative benefits and increased focus. However, you can incorporate meditation into most of our yoga classes. While you do not need to formally meditate in order to practice yoga at Vinayam, nor do you need to practice yoga in order to meditate, the two practices frequently go hand-in-hand.
How Meditation Brings About a Mind-Body Connection
According to ancient Yogic philosophy, the practice of yoga will reveal the interconnectedness of every living thing. Meditation offers the experience of this union. It is an elevated state of consciousness in which stillness occurs by bringing the mind, body and senses into balance. During the meditation sessions at Vinayam, we help you achieve a state where the nervous system is fully relaxed. We guide you in the yogic tradition, which teaches that meditation is a time to let go of cravings for things that can never be fully met (such as pleasure and security) and to surrender these desires. In the yogic context, meditation is a time to release such desires and simply sit in stillness. Scientific research shows that profound physiological effects occur during meditation, causing an actual shift in the brain’s processes.
When you are first beginning a meditation practice, the simple act of sitting still can be incredibly challenging for you. Given the nature of our busy, stressful lives, quieting the mind can be very difficult. At Vinayam, we understand that quieting your inner chatter is easier said than done. This is why our yoga classes end with a period of meditation. The physical exercise of practicing different yoga postures helps to link breath with movement and prepare the mind for stillness and meditation. In other words, your yoga class will prepare you for the meditation. With practice and the help of your instructor, you can achieve increased focus.
Of course, you can practice meditation outside of your Vinayam therapeutic recovery yoga class. If you are new to meditating, but would like to cultivate a regular meditation routine, we recommend sitting in stillness for five minutes upon waking each morning and five minutes before bed each evening. Imagine a blank screen. As words, ideas or images appear before the screen, acknowledge their presence and then file them away. Continually return your attention to the blank screen in your mind. It represents a place of peace, calm and contentment. All desires may vanish. Vinaya would be happy to work with you to tweak your technique until you are able to find a truly serene state of mind.