The Benefits of Meditation & Yoga

We have all heard that there are a multitude of benefits when practicing meditation and yoga.  One must surmise that even way back when the peoples of Italy, in particular those that live in the countryside, didn’t think of meditation let alone yoga.  However upon a visit there this past summer I began to really look at the peoples with more of an understanding as to what exactly they did during their hard days of labor and how they, even the older generation, got through such grueling work. 

The Italian Way

So I studied them, sort of studied them, from afar.  The shepherd out with his goats and sheep.  The women in the hillside gardens with all of the vegetarian and fruit needs for the family and more to give to relatives and friends. Firstly and most importantly I noticed that no one was wearing ear buds (duh) and the gardeners and shepherds works harmoniously (at one point I even witnessed a shepherd taking an afternoon nap) dog by his side.  How on earth did they not go stir crazy. 

Given the lifestyle that we are used to in the US, I could not fathom doing what they do and not going stir crazy, why without a podcast, music or an audible book to listen to how could I get through one single day let alone many days consecutively? 

Then I noticed that within my moments of observance I started to relax.  To take in the surroundings.  Beautifully rugged landscaped mountains under clear bluer than blue skies.  I listened to the birds realizing that they were actually talking ‘bird’ to each other.  One would chirp and another would answer.  This went on for hours.  I noticed the squirrels gathering acorns for the winter months a scurrying away to deposit their goods in an a burrow known only to them. 

I began to fall into a sort of trance – one that made my eyelids heavy, my heart beat slower and my mind much quieter.  Until I woke up – startled at first.  It had been a long time since I had napped during the day. 

When I did awake I had this sensation of contentment, peace, wellness and I realized that it was how I felt after a slow flow yoga class and a meditation but much more organically and without trying. 

Living Quietly

I brought that peace back with me into the late afternoon and evening. When I went to sleep that night I slept through the night without awakening and woke up feeling refreshed and ready to do it all again.  Without my earbuds!  Maybe the country folk in Italy and around the world don’t call it meditation, but I know from my experience that it was exactly what happened organically and as a part of life rather than something planned. 

Benefits

Meditation and Yoga together can be super powers in healing mind, body AND soul. The benefits of meditation & yoga together include but are not limited to increased flexibility, reduces stress & anxiety, can improve sleep patterns, helps lower blood pressure etc.

Sunset Yoga on the beach in Calabria

Meditation is often left up to your interpretation. Whether you walk with intention, close your eyes and use an app, or pick a new hiking spot and stop to listen to nature, sound baths etc., there are many forms of meditation. Take a few days and try different forms of meditations then pick one and stick to it for a 30 day period so you may learn to reap the benefits!

There is much to be said about the habits that our environment and ancestry creates out of sheer necessity and as for me I will gladly accept this habit and welcome it into my daily routine.  Thank you Calabrian farmers and country folk for this revelation  

Singing Bowl & Candles

Few of my Favorite Things

 * Manduka mats and props

* Homemade smudge sticks

* Singing bowls & Meditation Set

* Yoga Crystal Candles

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