In our daily lives, we are often overwhelmed by frenetic rhythms that don’t suit our natural balance and find ourselves experiencing moments of great emotional tension and stress. Stimulating a process to change external situations is not only very tough but it can also take time, while instead, each of us can stimulate an inner path of new action depending on the situation itself.
One very powerful way, suitable for everyone, is meditation, the effects of which have a profound action on our body and mind. The aim of meditation is to manage to focus attention on ourselves, noting perceptions, feelings, thoughts and emotions, or on our external surroundings in order to achieve greater awareness and inner calm. With meditation, it is possible to reduce stress, anxiety, fear and anger. Yoga dictates that the relationship between body and mind is evident in the very way we feel tension or stiffness in the body when we’re worried or stressed or, vice versa, feel effortlessness and stability when we’re happy, motivated and calm.
And so, from this relationship, the ability to intervene on the mind to improve the body (or act on the body to improve the mind) unleashes the incredible potential of meditation. We list a few benefits as we approach this practice with trust and openness:
The respiratory system improves: over time, we can control our breathing, autonomously achieving a state of quiet and calm with conscious, focused breathing. When we face a stressful situation and realise we are breathing only superficially, we can start to breathe more deeply, slowly and regularly, reactivating the body’s ability to listen: it is possible to feel the pleasure of the meditative posture or points of tension and use conscious breathing to develop self-love and understanding, strengthening the immune system through physical relaxation.
It encourages us to be present in the moment, bringing the mind back to the here and now without dwelling on the past or accumulating anxiety about the future, it reduces levels of stress and anxiety by observing the flow of thoughts and developing lucidity and emotional distance, it strengthens willpower in a natural way, developing a daily habit that serves as an effective safe haven, it encourages a better connection between the cerebral hemispheres and it heightens our attention span and concentration.
Meditation can be practised alone or in groups, at any time of day. It can be a great way to start the day, encouraging centred, calm behaviour, a way to take a break from frenetic rhythms, or to accompany us towards sleeping at night.
It is best to silence any electronic devices and then sit down for 5, 10, 20 or 30 minutes each day. Background noise such as a mantra or musical notes can benefit the meditation at first. If we allow this simple action to become a personal experience and express its effects without judgement or impulsive evaluation, we will be part of a longer, bigger and, above all, very beneficial process. At Vinyasa Yoga Bologna every lesson includes a few minutes of meditation to stimulate repetition and to appreciate the effects.