Yoga has taught me to be present and feel what is going on in my body and mind both during my practice and outside of it. It teaches us the importance of self-awareness. And it is the meditative benefits of breathing, called “pranayama”, that allows a calming to wash over your body.
I came acrosse an article in “NPR”, short for National Public Radio, that cites the physical benefits of “mindfulness meditation” in reducing both physical pain and our “perception of pain” through limiting our “stress response”:
“In the study, a small group of healthy medical students attended four 20-minute training sessions on “mindfulness meditation” — a technique adapted from a Tibetan Buddhist form of meditation called samatha. It’s all about acknowledging and letting go of distraction.”
“You are trying to sustain attention in the present moment — everything is momentary so you don’t need to react,” Zeidan explains. “What that does healthwise is it reduces the stress response. The feeling of pain is a very blatant distraction.”
“After meditation training, the subjects reported a 40 percent decrease in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. And it wasn’t just their perception of pain that changed. Brain activity changed too.”
NPR Health Blog, April 6, 2011
A simple form of meditation is to count as you inhale deeply through your nose and exhale out through your mouth, saying “one” as you breathe out. Try to reach 60 in a very deliberate and “self-aware” manner. Simple pains and tensions should begin to ease.
And as you can see, medical studies are starting to demonstrate the physiological benefits as well.
Namaste, Jennifer Miller