Meditation used to be associated with enlightened yogis and devout monks, but that perspective is a thing of the past. As the science-based health benefits of meditation continue to mount, more and more people are attempting to incorporate meditation techniques into their everyday lives.
While meditation is a seemingly simple process--maintaining stillness and training your mind to focus--many people struggle with the implementation. Common objections include difficulties sitting comfortably for an extended period of time, clearing the mind, and finding a time and place free of interruptions.
Yogaja concocted a plan to address these struggles, and the answer is FLOWT, a dedicated meditation space behind The Yogaja Shop, both scheduled to open in early March. The name “Flow-t” combines the calming FLOW of meditation with the FLOAT in the hammocks.
Meditation provides so many documented physical and psychological benefits that we wanted to provide an accessible space for people to practice meditation comfortably and peacefully at a time that is convenient for them.
Hammocks suspended from the ceiling (similar to the aerial silks in the back yoga studio) provide a comfortable, cocoon-like place to meditate. Guided meditations play gently, helping individuals clear their minds to the soothing voice of Deepak Chopra. The dedicated meditation space is enclosed to ensure quiet, and people may come and go as fits their schedule.
Meditation allows us the time and space to mindfully step back from our own limited perspectives to view the bigger picture. While there are numerous spiritual and emotional benefits to meditation, let’s look at the top five health benefits of meditation.
1. REDUCES STRESS
Numerous studies have validated the benefits of meditation, adding that meditation may improve symptoms from stress-related conditions, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cancer treatments.
One study of over 3,500 participants verified that meditation lives up to its hype and can reduce inflammation caused by stress.
2. LESS ANXIETY
Less stress leads to less anxiety, and both yoga and meditation have been shown to reduce anxiety and disorders associated with anxiety, such as OCD, paranoia, social anxiety and panic attacks.
3. IMPROVES SLEEP
Insomnia affects nearly half the population at some point, and learning to relax the body and control runaway thoughts helps prevent tossing and turning all night.
4. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time for those who meditate regularly. Lower blood pressure, in turn, helps prevent heart disease.
5. SLOWS AGING
Meditation improves concentration and clarity of thinking, and a review of 12 studies found that meditation enhances mental acuteness and memory in older patients.
Sara Lazar, a researcher at Harvard University, explains, “Cognition seems to be preserved in meditators.” She adds that meditators also have more gray matter, which in layman’s terms translate to more brain cells--literally.