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If you know, you know; and if you don’t know, I’ll share. For pretty much as long as I can remember, I have had issues with my knees. When I was younger, it started as just pain and soreness, and as the years went on and my training intensified for dance, my knees got worse. To put it all in a nutshell for you, over several years, I had repeatedly dislocated my kneecaps, I had torn my ACL in my right knee and completely destroyed the cartilage in that knee. In my Sophomore and Junior years of high school, I had minor corrective surgeries done on both knees to correct the placement of the kneecaps. This surgery, for the most part, helped with my left knee, but after years of walking the streets of NYC and climbing my fifth-floor walk-up several times a day, my right knee was severely damaged from the “wear-and-tear” of life and Manhattan.
As I mentioned in my Welcome Blog, one of the main reasons I moved home after graduating was to have major corrective surgery on my knee. The reason for me sharing all of this with you is for me to stress the importance of taking care of your mind and body for the sake of the long term. Yoga is a centuries-old practiced way of meditation, stretching, exercise, and manifestation techniques. Practiced all over the world, yoga is a central form of communication between two minds and two bodies; whether it be between you and another person or you and the higher power you believe in. Yoga is a beautiful form of expression that creates a connection between you and everything that surrounds you. In this blog, I want to offer you knowledge on why Yoga & Meditation are practiced around the world and how they can help you live intentionally.
Yoga in all its Forms
There are several different types of yoga, and the odds are that if you choose to take a few classes at some of the local studios around you, they’ll offer a few different kinds and each class will give you a different end result. Now, I obviously have not been all over the world practicing yoga, although that’s certainly on my bucket list. I did, however, take several yoga classes in New York from a lot of different teachers with different techniques. One of my absolute favorite classes that I took right up until my last days in New York was at the NYC Sports Club – Vinyasa Yoga. The teacher was this elegant, tall, polish woman who was incredibly kind and passionate about yoga. Her class centered around balance, core control, and practicing classic yoga poses.
With every class you take or new class you try, it’s important to find what techniques and practices will serve you most. Yoga offers endless benefits; it helps build balance, strength, control, and, most importantly, promotes a healthy and positive mind. When you practice yoga daily, you become physically and mentally stronger. As I mentioned before, yoga also has incredible lasting benefits. By building flexibility and balance –which is challenging to do in a gym – you build lasting benefits like healthy and strong muscles. Not only does practicing yoga help create a healthier body, but many people practice for the benefits of stress and tension relief. Yoga is not an endurance building activity. Yoga is meant to activate the mind, challenge your body, and declutter your headspace into a neutral and relaxed Zen. The exercises and poses are intended to alleviate stress built throughout the day, and you can often focus on the specific spots where you hold your tension. Practicing yoga daily is a form of Intentional Living; by moving into this headspace and creating a time and space for your body and mind to grow, you’re improving the way you live your life.
Meditation leads to Manifestation
Meditation often goes hand-in-hand with yoga—the two lean towards one another, yoga offering betterment of the body and meditation of the mind. Numerous studies have shown the incredible effects meditation can have on the mind (resources below). Over the last few years, and specifically the last few months, I have seen the benefits in my own life from meditating daily for 15 minutes as a way of manifesting the things you wish to see in your life.
In a self-guided meditation, I spend 15-minutes, in silence or with meditation music playing, focusing on clearing my head; this is the first major step I take in meditating. Clearing your head is incredibly important. It is impossible to meditate if you’re thinking of other things; over time, you’ll get used to it, but in the beginning, it takes a lot of work to train your brain to ignore outside thoughts and focus solely on emptiness. Once you’ve cleared your head, you begin to focus on your breathing and the sounds and feelings around you. You become aware of the breath going into and leaving your lungs, you are aware of your legs and back against the floor, and you feel yourself sinking into the ground. It usually takes me about five minutes to get this relaxed before I begin to meditate.
Before I go into each meditation session, I have a topic in mind of what I’d like to begin manifesting. So once I reach the point of relaxation, and I can begin my meditation cycle, I don’t have to go wandering off in thought of what I want to think about. Now, I spend the next ten minutes leading myself through action and change I can make in my life to reach a specific goal. I tell the universe that I am capable of making “it” happen, I tell myself I will succeed, and over time, I begin to see progress.
Yoga & Meditation are incredibly beneficial in your daily life in so many ways; promoting a healthy body and mind, alleviating stress, and creating a positive outlook. Take time out of your day today or tomorrow to complete a yoga and meditation session. See the benefits in your day or the following day; add it to your routine for the week and see the change.
This is an amazing study done at Harvard on the benefits of meditation – “When Science Meets Mindfulness,” by Alvin Powell.
Dylan Werner has AMAZING classes online that you can follow right from home https://dylanwerneryoga.com
Calm and Headspace are two great apps to download for guided meditation.