I used to think that Yoga and Meditation were the same thing. In my twenties, I rolled my eyes at both, preferring the adrenaline pumping action of movement – any movement – to the quiet stillness of what I thought was wasted time.
My thirties forced me to reconsider, when I came down with Lyme’s disease that went undiagnosed for many years, and unfortunately became chronic. My aching muscles and bones, and troubled chest gasped at the runs and protested on my long swims. It was then that I learned just how critical meditation and yoga was to my mental health, and what a difference there was between the two in bringing peace, tranquility, and stillness to my life.
I once thought it would be impossible for me to do meditation or yoga with an active body, but even as I have gained a lot of my strength back, I still need them both for different reasons. It may seem odd to you I am even making the comparison, but if you have always been running like me you probably understand the disconnect. The online dictionary gives the following definitions for yoga and meditation:
1. also Yoga A Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.
2. A system of exercises practiced as part of this discipline to promote control of the body and mind.
a. The act or process of meditating.
b. A devotional exercise of or leading to contemplation.
2. A contemplative discourse, usually on a religious or philosophical subject
I never imagined I would like either, much less LOVE them and need them BOTH in my life. They serve very different purposes to me and help my ADHD uniquely. The following is what I have found beneficial of each:
* Allows me to expend a ton of energy, much more than I ever would have imagined as when I concentrate on engaging all of my muscles.
* Creates a very directed and focused practice that allows me to use my mind for a very specific goal.
* Brings oxygen deep into my body through engaged breathing.
* Quiets the mind. Literally gives my mind a rest and break from the constant work and thoughts that frequent it.
* Force my emotions to settle in my body and express themselves if they need to do so.
* Guarantees me 30 minutes of self-love and peace every single day.
I wish I had started as a kid, as it probably would have saved me tons of energy with my external movement, allowing me to do more of the internal movement I needed throughout life. If I HAD to choose one it would probably be meditation, as there are a lot of other ways you can get similar types of experiences in expression to yoga. However, I have yet to find anything even close to meditation in regards to being able to fully release judgment and attachments, and simply embrace being.
How often do you unconditionally self-love yourself every day?
Photo by lululemonathletica, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.