Meditation is an ancient practice that can help improve our modern lives. For those of you familiar with Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras, you’ll know that Pantajali, a Sanskrit grammar and Ayurvedic scholar in India, was offering meditation techniques to find peace and liberation from anxiety, worries, and trauma over 2,000 years ago. Many modern day yogis still use Pantanjali’s meditation formula to ease the fluctuations of their minds. You may have also heard of the many modern scientific studies (like we’re talking big money research institutions and randomized controlled clinical trials) about the incredible health benefits of meditation. For example, in 2012 UCLA researchers found that long-time meditators had larger amounts of cortical gyrification (1). Wondering what gyrification means? Gyrification is the folding/twisting/coiling of your brain tissue. Your brain is very tightly packed inside of your skull. So if the brain has a higher amount of gyrification, it has more space to hold neurons. Research is showing us that the more years of regular meditation a person has, the more folds they have in their brain! The more folds, the faster and more smoothly the brain functions.
Research also suggests that meditation can help us deal with the symptoms of many common health issues and diseases, such as cancer, sleep trouble, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and chronic pain (2). Down below, we’ll explore using our “Wind Down and Sleep Meditation” to help you with falling asleep a little easier tonight.
Meditation can look different person to person. Want to start a meditation practice or refresh an old one? A great place to start is aiming for 5 minutes of intentional quiet three times a week. You might sit in a comfortable chair or prop up your sitting bones with a cushion. You can practice sitting with your thoughts and if you feel like your brain is just buzzing, try bringing your focus to your breath. The key word in the last line is practice! Just like yoga, meditation is a practice. Most of us are meditators there for the journey and not so much the end result…enlightenment, but that would be cool, too!
Now, let’s get to a very common issue for many of us, falling asleep! Research suggests that meditation can help us fall asleep at night (3). While most of us know how important sleep is, prioritizing it is often difficult, and for some of us, falling asleep is not always easy. Human beings spend on average about one third of their lives sleeping and that time deserves a quality investment. We are so excited about the possibility of meditation improving your sleep, we wrote and recorded a guided meditation just for our community! And, it’s free! It’s available on our YouTube channel, and please share in hopes that you can nourish yourself and others with a good night’s sleep.
Ready to get comfy and settle in? You can listen via the embedded video below or directly on our channel HERE.
Also, check out Soul Strong Yoga’s online and self-paced Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training at www.teachyogaforall.com. You’ll become a 200 hour certified yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance with a specialization in vinyasa yoga for all people. You will also learn more about restorative yoga, yin yoga, and mediation with our yoga teacher certification program. With our online yoga teacher training program, we even offer a FREE foundations of meditation yoga teacher certification!