By Faye Martins
The meditation component of a Yoga certification course is often taken for granted. If you ask most Yoga teacher interns what they consider the most valuable component of Yoga training to be, they will often answer: “asana.” Restless interns often tend to crave vinyasa flows, while the trainer explains the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of Yogic meditation. As many as 40 percent of all Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, and up to 80 percent of all doctors’ visits have stress-related components. Yogic sleep, also known as Yoga Nidra, is a powerful form of deep relaxation that provides the restorative qualities of natural sleep within a brief period of time. Although most effectively practiced with asanas and breathing techniques, it can also be beneficial on its own.
Over the past two decades, medical professionals and spiritual teachers have recommended meditation as a means of maintaining physical and mental health. Studies show the practice helps to lower blood pressure and reduce damage caused by the release of stress-related hormones. As a result, people who meditate may suffer from fewer strokes and heart attacks.
In clinical studies, transcendental meditation reduced the risk of stroke and heart attack deaths by almost 50 percent in patients who suffered from coronary problems, suggesting that meditation might be as effective as some of the newest heart medications in managing heart disease. It also showed promise in preventing high blood pressure in stressed-out college students.
• Researchers from the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa collaborated with specialists from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee over a five-year period to test the benefits of transcendental meditation in the management of coronary disease. Among 201 participants who were at high risk for strokes and heart attacks, the group who added meditation to their standard treatment had 47 percent fewer heart attacks. Statins, or cholesterol-lowering drugs increase serious events by 30 to 40 percent, and blood pressure medications reduce negative outcomes by 25 to 30 percent.
• Additional research published in the “American Journal of Hypertension” examined healthy college students who were likely to be at risk for hypertension. Completed at American University in Washington, the study randomly assigned 298 students to a waiting list or a meditation group. Students who practiced transcendental meditation showed significant reductions in blood pressure.
While these studies used transcendental meditation, all kinds of meditation, including Yoga Nidra, Yogic meditation, mindfulness, qigong and prayer may have similar benefits. Imagine an inexpensive, noninvasive new way to prevent strokes and heart attacks, one that outperforms the most powerful medications – Yogic meditation.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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