I often hear, “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” or “my mind is too busy to meditate.” This is like saying you’re too dirty to take a shower. Here is why I swear by meditation, including the physical health benefits of meditation.
Physical health benefits of meditation
Being a resilient and adaptable human is what comes from the practice of meditation, not the other way around. As a result, you’ll find your thoughts become more noticeable, and you can feel more, both emotionally and physically.
This doesn’t mean that meditation necessarily makes you more flexible or deliberately calms your mind. Instead, it means that you open up to learn how to deal with yourself more beneficially.
As far as the body goes, let’s get one thing straight: being flexible and twisty so the body can contort into various shapes doesn’t have many benefits if any at all.
Read that sentence one more time.
If you still don’t believe me, here’s an exciting piece of information from MIT, “as you get ‘looser’ or more limber in a particular joint, less support is given to the joint by its surrounding muscles. So extreme flexibility can be just as bad as not enough because both increase your risk of injury.”
So why do we stretch in Yoga? Mobility.
Mobility is the amount of usable motion that a person has across a joint articulation. They have active control of the range of motion available.
Flexibility is how much passive range of motion is available (without stability).
These two are not the same.
Why is this important? Strength training and mobility training go hand in hand, both in our bodies and minds. If the body isn’t healthy, the mind can’t relax.
The next time you practice, focus on opening up your body through this new lens. From there, you find your ranges of motion.
Why I swear by meditation
The best return on investment (ROI) from your meditation practice should show up off the mat when you aren’t practicing. When the mind is flexible, open, and clear, it can prepare for everything: meeting, family time, social situations, or holidays.
We are an integrative system. If well oiled, we can find strength, healthy mobility, and an open, flexible mind to meet ourselves where we are and take on the challenges of the outside world.