Our body responds to the way we think, feel and act. Similarly whatever arises in our body has a way of affecting our minds. Our health and happiness thus depends upon how we take care of the whole physical and mental being.
Senses can be engaged in a number of ways that can help uplift our moods and feelings and also increase focus during the day. For example- simple things like looking at the sun in the morning, doing Surya Namaskar as a spiritual or yogic practice, listening to the sound of the gong, drums or upbeat music, birds chirping, being close to nature, getting massage or smelling different aromas or chanting a mantra - all can have a healing effect on our body and mind. Small steps like these towards recovery may not be the cure you are seeking but can go a long way in enabling the process of healing.
Breathing exercises help us calm down our minds. These can be especially beneficial when we are depressed or anxious. When we breathe normally we do not pay attention to how we are breathing- we often breathe shallow- shallow breathing limits the diaphragmic range of motion. When we breathe deeply the oxygen-rich air fills our lungs and our belly rises. The heart then pumps oxygenated blood to the whole body thus helping oxygen reach every cell helping our body muscles relax- lowering our stress and tension.
The word "yoga" means "unison". Pranayama is a practice of regulating the breath. Yoga and Pranayama are wholesome practices for strengthening our mind, body and spirit while regulating our breath or Prana. Both yoga and pranayama together help revitalize the body and mind and prepare us for deeper meditative practices leading us to the spiritual path of liberation. Benefits of yoga and pranayama practice include increased flexibility, and muscle strength, improved respiration, energy and vitality, balanced metabolism, cardio and circulatory health.
Different types of meditations- using meditation objects like light, image, sound and mantras, breath and sensations help calm our minds. Each meditation practice has it's own benefit depending upon the type of meditation object. Meditation based on mantras like Gayatri Mantra, or Om generate vibrations within us which protect us from harmful vibrations. The meditation object of breath helps calm the mind and strengthens concentration. Other meditation benefits include a reduction in stress and anxiety, better emotional health, higher self-awareness and attention span.
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