A Guide to Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and mediation offer amazing benefits for the body and for mental health, but if you’ve never experienced them before it can be confusing to know where to start. In this article, we will guide you through the best yoga and meditation practices for beginners. 

What is the Difference between Yoga and Meditation?

If you are curious about yoga and meditation, but aren’t exactly sure what they are, don’t worry. We will explain to you all about the differences between yoga and meditation and why they are so great for your health. 

What is Yoga?

Yoga meditation class

Yoga is both a spiritual and physical practice that originated from India as early as 900 BCE. It combines breathing techniques with body movement poses to create a low-impact exercise that often is used to correct posture, strengthen muscles, and increase flexibility. Aside from being an exercise that is great for the body, yoga is well known for its spiritual healing as it connects the psychology of the mind to the physiology of the body. 

There are many different types of yoga as well as the different poses, also called asanas, within each type. Common yoga poses include:

  • Child’s Pose
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Plank Pose
  • Four-limbed Staff Pose
  • Tree Pose
  • Triangle Pose

The flow of movement between each pose works to stretch and strengthen the muscles while the focus of breathing can provide cardiovascular endurance. Yoga is considered one of the best exercises for almost everyone. 

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a mindfulness practice that is used to calm the mind and create mental clarity. Originating in Hindu and Buddhist religions, meditation is now widely used in Western culture. The technique helps to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and even pain. 

meditation in yoga class

While different, the benefits of these practices increase when used in conjunction. Yoga is often focused more on the body and its movements, while meditation aids in calming the mind, so having a yoga and meditation class that accommodates both will offer a full mind and body connection. 

Yoga and Meditation Tips for Beginners

If you’re unfamiliar with yoga and meditation, the information you may need to know can feel overwhelming. Don’t feel stressed as everyone starts off as a beginner! Quality yoga instructors will help guide you through poses, improve your form, and teach you how to train your body to relax. 

Here are a few basics to get you started:

Consistency is Key

In order to see the effects of yoga and meditation, being consistent with practicing them is key. Finding a yoga studio where you feel comfortable and an instructor you trust will give you confidence in your yoga and meditation journey. Practice will also ensure that your yoga form will improve giving you an increased confidence. 

There’s No Time Limit for Meditation

Meditation is great for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Studies say that only 27 minutes of mindfulness practices a day can help improve cognitive function in the brain in areas that are responsible for functions like memory, mood, and learning. 

Take a Yoga Class for Beginners 

Most yoga studios will offer beginner yoga classes that can help guide you in breathing techniques and improving your form. Taking these classes when you are new to yoga and meditation is a great way to reap the benefits without feeling intimidated.

Be Open to Change 

As you grow in your yoga and meditation journey, your taste in yoga might expand. Luckily, there are so many types of yoga like Vinyasa, Yoga Basics, Restorative Yoga, or prenatal yoga. All offer fantastic and restorative benefits, so it’s encouraged to try a lot of classes. 

Modify Postures for Your Body 

Knowing your body’s limitations is important when it comes to your yoga journey. A qualified yoga instructor will advise that you perform poses with which you feel comfortable. They will also assist you in avoiding pain or over stretching. 

The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

There are so many benefits of yoga and meditation. Both yoga and meditation work to slow breathing which in turn lowers blood pressure and increases oxygen retention to the brain and vital organs. The sympathetic nervous system, also known as the body’s “fight or flight” response, is relaxed. 

A national study on the benefits of yoga found that doing yoga consistently showed lower rates of depression and anxiety-related disorders. Along with its benefits for mental health, yoga is a great exercise that helps strengthen muscle and improve flexibility. Yoga, combined with meditation, is a complete exercise for the mind and body. 

Can You Practice Yoga and Meditation at Home?

Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

While you can technically meditate anywhere, it’s encouraged to find a qualified yoga instructor that can help walk you through yoga and meditation techniques. Yoga is still a form of exercise and can lead to injuries without proper guidance. 

Yoga instructors can also guide clients on proper breathing and relaxation techniques which are beneficial in decreasing stress and promoting feel good hormones. 

How To Find Yoga and Meditation Classes Nearby 

A great number of people search for yoga studios near me and have trouble finding a good one. It can be tough to find a reliable yoga studio with experienced yoga instructors, but If you are a Chicago local, look no further. Yoga Now, in River North, offers a meditation and yoga class that is designed to teach clients how to use proper meditation techniques while reaping the benefits of an energizing yoga session. 

Yoga and Meditation at Yoga Now

At Yoga Now Chicago, we believe in the benefits of yoga and meditation and offer a 60 minute class that is designed to connect the mind, body, and soul. Energizing yoga awakens the body and a closing meditation session brings the mind back to center. 

We offer a variety of classes that range from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Our class schedule is designed to work with you in mind. We offer classes throughout the day, so it can easily fit your schedule. Contact us today for questions or to start your journey with yoga and meditation.