Yoga and Nutrition- “Meditation” Guest Blog by Joey Soto

As a certified yoga instructor, Joey Soto is often asked about meditation. Her yoga students ask what it is, why they should do it, and how they can get started. “Yoga” in traditional Hinduism involves inner contemplation, a system of meditation practice and ethics. Yoga is so much more than performing the physical postures we are taught in yoga classes. The true purpose of practicing yoga is to achieve a state of meditation and a deeper self-awareness. Meditation can help you become mindful of your exercise and nutrition habits, as well!

 

What is meditation?

Meditation is stilling the fluctuations of the mind through pointed focus. Think of moments when you find yourself in a clear and relaxed state of mind where the external chatter seems to quiet. Perhaps it’s when you exercise (run, walk, bike), soak in a bath, listen to music, or relax on the beach. This enjoyment is rooted in a state of meditation. Through meditation, our mind moves from the actively thinking state (beta), to a slower more creative state (alpha), and then to a meditative state of relaxed attention and healing (theta).  Slowing the mind through meditation has numerous benefits!

 

 

Why we do it?

Research shows that we benefit from meditation in numerous ways:

  • Reverse your stress response, reducing the effects of chronic stress.
  • Improve attention, sustain concentration, speedup cognitive processing, improve working memory.
  • Physical/biological balance, heart rate and breathing slow down, Blood pressure normalizes, use oxygen more efficiently, and sweat less!
  • Anti-aging! Adrenal glands produce less cortisol, the mind ages at a slower rate, and immune function improves.
  • Increased creativity
  • Break habits: Give up life-damaging habits like smoking, drinking and drugs.

How do we get started?

First, choose something to point your focus on (in yoga, this is referred to as your “drishti” or the point of focus). It can be the sound of your breath, a candle flame, relaxing music, a photo of someone inspiring, or anything elevating (such as a dream, favorite memory, etc.). You can sit and write down your focal point if writing helps you center your attention. Once you have your drishti selected, sit and allow your breath to slow to a natural rhythm. Then, allow your inhalations to be as long as your exhalations. If your breath is your drishti, you can close your eyes and listen to the sound of your breath. If you’ve chosen something to gaze at, allow your eyes to go out of focus whilst you breathe. Notice how you feel, what emotions come up, what thoughts appear. As the monkey mind starts coming up with great ideas about things you should be doing instead of meditating, just embrace the thought; then let it go back out into the universe.

 

If you’d like to learn more about fun meditation techniques to find one that works for you, attend Joey Soto’s workshop, “Find Your Meditation: How to release stress from your life without quitting your job” to explore various types of meditation, more than just the sit down and get quiet kind!

Click here for details on the next Meditation Workshop March 31st 4-6pm in West Los Angeles! Register by emailing Joey@sotoyoga.com.

To learn more ways on how to be mindful with your exercise and nutrition, contact Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of her private practice, Nutrition For Body And Mind at www.cwnutritionforbodyandmind.com/contact/.