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Exploration Into Yoga and Meditation

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Inspiration for this project:
-I have been doing yoga and meditation for a couple years now and have personally felt that these two practices have truly changed my life for the better. I began doing it with my mom when I was 14 years old and we have always enjoyed going together. Ever since I was young people have always told me that I worry way too much. I would be being to stress so much about the small details and I was unable to see the bigger picture. That’s when I knew I had to try something to relax my mind and body. As I grew older I came to realize that exercise was something that really helped me keep my stress under control. Yoga, being the best. With all the stress of graduation coming up at the end of May, I thought it might be good to increase my practice and share what yoga and meditation have done for me and can do you for you.

Understanding stress and Depression:
– Stress is your body’s way of reacting to a threat. A threat doesn’t actually have to be a threat from another person, it can also be an uncomfortable situation, a lot of work, or it can be an emergency situation. A small amount of stress in your life is healthy. It keeps you on your toes and keeps you focused. It is when you begin to stress about small events everyday. This can become chronic stress which can actually damage your body. Stress can quickly become depression. If you stress to much your body can be sent into a depressed state. Depression is where you have prolonged feelings of sadness and you have very little interest in doing your daily activites. Depression can also cause harm to your body if you being not to eat and you don’t get enough exercise. Exercise has been proven to be one of the most effective ways lessen stress and become happier. Yoga has been proven to be the best form of exercise to help people with depression (https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.html)
I have attached a link to a video that helps better explain what stress is.

Yoga Practice:
– Yoga is a very special practice. It is special because you need nothing to participate. You don’t need a special type of shoes, or a ball, or art supplies, or an instrument. All you need is your body. Yoga like meditation originated in India around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. One of the best ways to describe why people started practicing yoga is, “Yoga was developed as a way to achieve harmony between the heart and soul on the path to divine enlightenment”. Later, when yoga moved more west we changed changed the definition to, “An ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation”.

Meditation Session:
– Meditation is something everybody can do. It is truly a beginner’s mind activity. What I mean by a beginner’s mind activity is that sometimes people who are just starting meditation will have an easier time focusing on the breath and sitting with the right posture. I am not saying that people who have been doing it for years struggle with this all the time but, they sometimes can have a harder time. Meditation is believed to have started in India around 1500 BCE. It was originally used to celebrate and honor the gods, but since then we have modernized meditation to simply be focusing on the breath, mind, and, body. Although the stigma around meditation is that “only hippies and yoga gurus do it” that is not true. The daily calm is an app on IOS that has over 26 million downloads and they gain about 50,000 downloaders per day. Mediation is becoming a revolutionary way to increase happiness and have a more positive outlook on life.

My Challenge for You:
– My challenge for you over the next week is to everyday take 3 minutes out of your day and simply breath. It would help if you were sitting in an upright position, however it does not make or break the meditation if you are standing our lying down. For three minutes I would like you to close your eyes and just focus on breathing in and out. Try not to think about the past or the future, but let’s say for example that a thought of the future comes along, simply watch it pass. Say to yourself, I know this thought it there but I am going to put it away until I am done focusing on my breath. After your three minutes of breathing has finished slowly wiggle you finger and toes and slowly return back to the room. After seven days of doing this for only three minutes can truly change your mood and mindset.

Sources:

7 Life-Changing Stories of How Yoga Heals

Meditation for Anxiety: Proven Way to Calm Your Mind

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-yoga-does-your-brain-ncna794531

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319116.php

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/08/health/yoga-meditation-rising-cdc-report/index.html

https://www.expandinglight.org/blog/yoga/the-connection-between-yoga-and-meditation/

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4068/The-Purpose-of-Yoga-Meditation-in-Motion.html

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/how-meditation-rewires-your-brain-for-less-anxiety-and-faster-learning.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_meditation

A Quick Reference Guide to the History of Yoga

Share this project
COMMENTS: 9
  1. April 25, 2019 by Jill Brown

    Riley,
    There are some great resources here! The video made me laugh. I will participate in your challenge! Thanks for teaching me more about how helpful meditation can be!
    Dr. Brown

  2. April 25, 2019 by Ashli.Jain

    This was wonderful to read! I have personally have never loved yoga, but always wish I could take a little more time out of my day to practice my breath, positive affirmations, and just enjoy life. I am going to use this project as a catalyst (hah get it!) to practice your challenge and take 3 minutes to meditate. Reminders like this are SO important, thank you for sharing!! 🙂

    • April 28, 2019 by Riley.Weinstein

      This is so sweet! Thank you for trying my challenge! I promise it will help you feel more relaxed and calm throughout your day! Have a great day!

  3. April 25, 2019 by Tess Blake

    This is so cool! I personally started a club at school called “You & Mediation Club!” It always makes me feel so much happier. Thank your for raising awareness about the power of such activities! Fantastic presentation!

  4. April 25, 2019 by Tess Blake

    *Yoga not you haha

  5. April 28, 2019 by Jenny.Zhao

    This sounds interesting! I’ll try your challenge. Also, the video was really funny and there are a lot of nice resources.

  6. April 29, 2019 by Kyra Geschke

    Riley- This was a super good project. I loved the crash course you included because it really set up the presentation with significant background information. I have always been a little bit suspicious of the benefits of meditation but after reading this I am definitely interested in reconsidering.

  7. April 29, 2019 by Anika Stenberg

    Riley, this is really well put together! I love the “my challenge for you” part. The hardest part about yoga and meditation for me would probably be getting started, so your call to action fits perfectly, showing that it only takes a few minutes out of your day to experience the benefits of the practice.

  8. May 05, 2019 by Takuma.Warren

    I liked how you addressed the stigma around Yoga and meditation. It was very interesting to hear about the different health benefits to yoga and simply breathing. I just might have to take you up on your challenge 🙂

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