You may not be interested in meditation at all and decide to skip this chapter; or you may feel content with the brief meditation at the end of your yoga class. Certainly, you can practice yoga without practicing a formal meditation. Nevertheless, many individuals happen upon meditation in a class and quickly discover that meditation adds another dimension to their lives. Nuances of tranquillity appear; these people feel peaceful, sleep better, and acquire another level of awareness. These are pleasing sensations that individuals want to intensify, and so they embark on a meditation practice.
There are numerous techniques for meditation. How one chooses to meditate is very personal. While you may want to experiment with a few different techniques, it’s a good idea to find one meditation style that is compatible with you.
The following are some of the different ways that people practice meditation. Not all of the meditation practices are taught in yoga classes.
In 1968 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation came to Harvard Medical School and asked if they could participate in a study to show that meditating could lower blood pressure.
Herbert Benson, M.D., the lead researcher, found that the participants in the study evoked a bodily response he called ”the relaxation response,” the opposite effect of the fight-or-fight response. Physiologically, Dr. Benson found that the body responds to meditation by:
A decrease in blood pressure
A decrease in heart rate
A decrease in breathing rate
A decrease in the metabolic rate
Source: The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson, M.D.