“Yoga gives you the foundation. Many can build anything you want from it. So it’s not an escapism at all. On the other hand, it is a preparation to face the world…” -Swami Satchidananda*
The world is a stressful place. It always has been. Stress used to come in the form of survival; avoiding an untimely death by a saber-toothed tiger* or going a winter with no food. Now it comes from work, school, social obligations, economic turmoil, the incompetent driver who cut you off on the highway, etc. The list is long. Our lifestyle changes have affected the way we respond to stress and since it’s not likely that we’ll need to escape a ferocious 220lb fanged feline our stresses settle and build instead of dissipating through pure adrenaline.
We cannot escape stress, but, we can change the way it affects the body by practicing yoga/meditation. Yogis have been postulating the benefits of yoga for thousands of years. While the practice has its foundations in science and philosophy it was not until recently that we could provide empirical evidence to support the repeated claims of calm and good health. Scientific research has shown that, YES, yoga/meditation can help you maintain some of your youth, can help you be healthier, and a destroyer of stress. The best part- you don’t already have to be a yogi. You can start today and the benefits will still come (in one study it showed changes in the brain within eight weeks for fresh-out-the-box participants).
For more information watch the below TedxTalk by neuroscientist, Sara Lazar, to learn how meditation can reshape the brain and reduce the effects of stress. It’s a little slow to start, but stick with it. The information is gold.
Read the below article on how Harvard scientists prove what yogis have been telling us for 5,000 years (click on the picture).
Did you know?
*Swami Satchidanada was a guru and a modern man. He came over to the US in the mid-60’s when the country was, to be polite, exploring itself. He opened Woodstock, taught famous artists, actors, and musicians throughout his life. He influenced politicians and world organizations. Through yoga he helped his students to fully develop physically, intellectually, and spiritually. His motto was, “Truths are one. Paths are many.” Swami Satchidanada’s legacy lives on today through Integral Yoga Institute in Virginia.
*Smilodon is the scientific name for “saber-toothed tiger”