The benefits of meditation are becoming more and more widely recognized. Most of us like to participate in it because of how we feel afterwards – less stressed, more clear, more peaceful and happy. What we may not realize is that under the surface, lots of AMAZING physiological events are taking place that collectively give us that feeling of well-being we love.
When we meditate, our brain receives more blood flow and experiences improved neuroplasticity, which in turn helps it function better. Production of powerful neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine increases, which helps us feel better. Meditation is like ‘exercise’ for the brain as it can assist with memory, ability to concentrate, and willpower.
Other physical benefits of meditation include a cascade of effects due to lowered stress (or do we experience lowered stress because of the collective reaction of different parts of our body…): our muscles feel more relaxed, our sympathetic nervous system is triggered – allowing for more complete rest and relaxation, our immune system gets a boost, and heart rate and blood pressure can even lower.
Emotionally, we experience some powerful benefits as well. Often after meditating, our discernment improves because we can more clearly see what is true and what is false, and we also tend to have a better handle on what our responsibilities are in various situations. We are better able to learn, be more empathetic towards others, and improve our relationships. We can also receive more clarity and passion for our life’s mission and purpose, what we are about—or what we would like to contribute.
Essential oils and yoga can both be power players as we add them into our meditation practice. Essential oils such as frankincense, sandalwood, or any other “tree” or “root” oil (such as vetiver) are a powerful addition to meditation. These oils are known for their ‘bass’ notes, which are grounding and soothing to the body and spirit. To use, simply rub a drop across your forehead, back of neck, over heart and cup your hands and inhale. You can also use these oils in a diffuser. These essential oils chemically signal to the brain stillness and peace, well-being and a sense of grounding that will enhance any meditation practice.
Some yoga poses that lend themselves to a stillness and ability to inwardly reflect are: Sukhasana, known as Easy Pose or Happy Pose, Viloma I Pranayama, Supta Baddha Konasana, Reclined Upright Cone Pose, and Savasana, Corpse Pose.
And if you are just starting your personal journey into meditation, you can start with pranayama (breathing exercises) to help you simply get still. There are also many apps and online resources you can look into to find the meditation practice that is right for you. Our Book, DVD and especially our online course give you great direction and practice in all of these areas.
Join us for our next Essential Yoga Sangha, a 2-week online experience to help you powerfully integrate essential oils and yoga into your life. This is truly a lifestyle-changing event, and it has been created to accommodate newcomers to either yoga and essential oils. We also have a teacher’s version of the sangha which awards 10 online credits by Yoga Alliance to participants who complete the course.
The EYP Sangha starts August 6, visit our website under courses for more information and to register. Hope to see you there!