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April 10, 2021 | Health | By Dr. Anubha Walia

Depression, anxiety, and chronic stress are some of the most common mental health issues. They pose a very serious threat to health and well being and are considered in the same league as heart disease, cancer and asthma. Thus, it is necessary to incorporate healthy and sustainable practices into our lifestyles. Both meditation and yoga are crucial in preventing physical or mental health issues. Both are used as stress reduction techniques that help us in staying under control and finally lead to a better outcome in all aspect of life and health.

Yoga is all about having the mind and body in perfect harmony. Yoga encourages overall well being in terms of physical, mental and spiritual health.

Eight Steps Of Yoga

  • Yama
  • Niyama
  • Aasana
  • Pranayama
  • Pratyahara
  • Dharana
  • Dhyana
  • Samadhi

Yama and Niyama’s prescribe the methodology of control and means of living. Asana are the physical positions one could practice and enhance body’s health and fitness. Pranayama is the art of breath control which considered the vital  force in life. Pratyahara is the process of withdrawal from external  influences through control of our senses. This is what enables transition from Yoga to  Dhyana, which is meditation using the method of  Dharana or focussed mind control. The final stage of Yoga is the Samadhi which is where the self and universe is seen combining.

It is almost a way of life which when practiced regularly leads to all-round benefits. Combined with meditation the benefits grow exponentially.

Meditation is about mental well being and concentrating on things more efficiently. It is a part of yoga.

Thoughts and breath control is everything when one meditates. Controlled and aware breathing, will help control thoughts and senses while putting the mind at ease.

Both yoga and meditation help in keeping the nervous system under control by their impact on the stress response system. For example, to lower the blood pressure and heart rate, cultivating mind-body awareness, stimulating physical movement and agility, leads to a soothing effects for restless people.

The current “on the go” lifestyle and the tendency of multitasking has put people at the risk of developing an over-excited state which triggers the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) more often than required. This leads to weakened immune system, tension, gastrointestinal issues as well as increased anxiety and depression. This recurring state of reactivity or stress keeps the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) active and on guard but this also decreases the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, also known as feel-good neurotransmitters. In the case of depressed individuals, low levels of dopamine and serotonin are common which are direct indications of less pleasure and enjoyment in life.

Different Ways To Meditate

  • Use of sound
  • Use of imagery
  • Gazing
  • Breathing
  • Physical sensations
  • Meditating postures –
  • Sitting
  • Walking
  • Standing
  • Reclining

A period of daily meditation is highly recommended for everyone. Find a time that is the best for you, make a routine and follow it. Don’t do too much too soon, progress gradually and continue to reap the benefits long term.

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