What Does Meditation Do?
I’ve always thought of yoga as a predominantly physical practice and meditation as a predominatly mental one. But as it turns out, yoga is actually about much more than holding poses. The confusion lies in the fact that yoga – as it is practiced outside of India – typically focuses on just the physical aspect. However, yoga is actually a holistic practice and includes meditation, breathing techniques, philosphy and even charity. With that in mind, many yogis would consider meditation a subset of yoga, since it is one of the components of yoga pracices.
I have always been interested in meditation. I’m sure many of you have also heard about how meditation or mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve your life satisfaction. So let’s delve a little deeper into what the science says about meditation. Based on a Forbes article (https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/benefits-of-meditation/):
- Mindfulness-based interventions (such as meditation) have been shown to improve mental health, specifically in the area of stress.
- Mediation can help counter the effects of anxiety.
- Meditation can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Beyond this, I am curious about the specific instances in which meditation helped. I encounter many sceptics who do not believe that spending some time to breathe and meditate on your thoughts would accrue all these benefits. Are there some people who are predisposed to receive the benefits of meditation? Are there specific situations and circumstances where meditation could be helpful?
At the same time, I wonder about the counterfactual. The science appears to show that yes, meditation can help with your mental. But given that there are only 24 hours in a day and a 101 things I want to do, I want to know – Is it better than a good gym session? A night out with friends? A good self-care routine, involving delicious food and a luxurious bath?
Hit me up if you know of any scientific studies on this. I’m curious.