Yoga in High School:

The Benefits of Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness for Health.

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Meditation and Yoga are two very important and beneficial practices that root all the way to eastern countries of the world in 1500 BCE. These two things can create a physical and mental bond with yourself that you didn’t know you had, causing some of the two most popular religions in the world like Buddhism and Hinduism to have been practicing them for thousands of years. With all the health benefits it creates, wouldn’t you think more people would want to practice these two things in the western side of the world? Physical exercise like yoga can do a lot not just for the way you physically feel, but how good you feel mentally. 

It is recommended that adults in the US need to have 150 minutes of moderate exercise or have 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in a week. 45% of adults from ages 18-64 are not hitting that time. That is really bad for your body, not physically exercising can cause plenty of health problems. Heart problems, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and more all can stem from not having enough physical exercise. All of these problems could go away if you started yoga. 

Yoga is a physical activity that originated over 5000 years ago in India. Commonly used in a lot of religions and for meditation, the first versions of yoga were meant for spiritual practice. 36 million people in the United States do yoga, those numbers have increased by 50+ over the last 4 years. 36 million people are doing yoga for some of the interesting yet needed benefits of physical exercise. Yoga physically makes you stronger, more flexible, being able to move without your body or joints hurting is very helpful especially for people above the age of 50, explaining why 14 million people who do yoga are above the age of 50. This doesn’t just have great physical benefits, this also has great mental benefits. Creating calmness and clarity in your brain, relaxing your mind and improving your mood overall. Boosting your awareness, concentration and memory.

This is extremely related to Meditation, as in most people who do yoga meditate either during yoga or after it. Meditation originated as far back as 5000 BC, popular in the religion Hinduism. Being practiced in different ways but has been in every recorded religion. But don’t think this is a religious practice only used for religion, this can be used in non religious ways. There are multiple different types of meditation that all benefit in different ways, but all of them have extreme similarities in making you more calm, balanced, reducing pain and stress, and just increasing your senses and awareness overall. Researchers have found that meditation 2 times a day 20 minutes when you wake up and 20 minutes before you go to sleep will instantly boost productivity. Why not meditate? Meditation isn’t all in your head and body, it also has to do with the chemicals in your brain. 

Behind the practice of yoga and meditation, it has a strong connection to your brain and the chemicals that get sent to your brain. There is this chemical serotonin, the key hormone to produce happiness and regulate your mood and emotions. Too much and too little serotonin has shown to be bad for you, and yoga and meditation has evidence that this chemical gets sent to your brain. Both being a natural way for your body to not only increase serotonin but also increases dopamine and melatonin. All naturally making you feel calm, happy, and content. The chemical serotonin doesn’t just do these things, it also stimulates the production of acetylcholine. Which is the chief neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system, basically being the head of sending nerves all throughout the body. Smoothing your muscles and slows your heart rate. So chemically you are bound to feel better physically and mentally from meditation and yoga. 

What is stopping you from doing either one of these two things daily? Not being able to do yoga because you are a busy person is understandable. But why not on that one day you barely get any sleep and you wake up tired, meditate for 10-20 minutes. Then for the rest of that day you will feel like you got 2 times the amount of sleep. Feeling energized physically and mentally, basically charging you and preparing you to have a great day. Why not do it?