Imagine meditation as a good bottle of wine; yoga, as a platter of cheese. They are two different things, and separately, each can stand alone, a gastronomic delight in their own right. But together, they’ll bring the best of each other out. The sweetness of the wine mingling with the saltiness of the cheese is simply one of life’s best pairings.
That’s how yoga and meditation is: different but a perfect match side by side.
Stripped to its simplest meaning, yoga is a form of holistic exercise. It aims to improve not only the body, but also the mind and spirit. But unlike meditation where it’s all about rest and relaxation, yoga could be intense. Ask a newbie and you’ll hear stories about how their muscles screamed in protest as they tried different “asanas”.
However, as yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles, it tunes the body, mind, and spirit, an exercise that consequently improves meditation. On the other hand, when you meditate, you train your mind, and the wondrous results, which are too many to mention, spill out to your yoga practice.
Want to experience it yourself? Check out these easy but effective yoga exercises for beginners:
Awkward Chair Pose
Stand against the wall and spread your legs hip-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you and slowly slide your back down. As you do that, move your feet forward to keep your balance. Continue until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds while you keep your breathing slow and steady. Ease back to the standing position and repeat.
To help you achieve this pose, imagine that there’s a stool underneath you. Your goal is to sit on that stool while your back is constantly pressed against the wall. Use this yoga exercise to improve strength and mental focus.
Opposite Arm and Leg Balance
For this pose, start by finding your balance on all fours. When you feel stable, extend your left leg behind you and try to keep it as straight as possible. Next, extend your right arm slowly in front of you. Maintain your balance and hold that position for at least five breath cycles. Gently return to all fours and repeat for the right leg and left arm.
If you have trouble keeping your balance, practice this pose with the wall behind you. Put just enough distance between you and the wall, and when you extend your leg, push it against the wall for support.
Aside from focus, this yoga exercise will develop your balance, co-ordination, and flexibility.