Yoga vs Meditation – What’s the difference?

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yoga vs meditation

Yoga and meditation are two mental health practices that can help you relax, destress, and stay focused. While both disciplines have benefits, there are also some major differences between yoga vs meditation. This article will discuss their differences in deep detail.

You might be wondering, what is the difference between yoga vs meditation? Well, they’re both mental health practices that have been shown to reduce mental health disorders such as stress, anxiety, depression, and more. It can be easy to assume that they’re the same, but there are many differences between yoga vs meditation.

Both yoga and meditation require mental discipline and focus, but they also differ in many ways. Yoga is a physical practice that involves poses, breathing techniques, and stretching, while meditation is more mental with no movement required. In this post, we’ll explore these two activities to what sets them apart. Keep reading to discover which practice is best for your mental health matters.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a mental, physical, and spiritual discipline that originated in India and has been practiced for more than 5000 years. The word “yoga” is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “union.” This is the union of the individual performing the exercise with the world’s higher powers. According to mental health assessment, yoga is considered a lifestyle consisting of a holistic approach that focuses on mental health and the health of your body and spirit. It’s known to have eight various limbs, including:

  • Yama;
  • Asana (postures);
  • Niyama;
  • Dhyana (meditation);
  • Dharana;
  • Pratyahara;
  • Pranayama (breath works);
  • Samadhi (spiritual absorption).

Generally, yoga involves breathing exercises and various poses, and it can be done anywhere. The postures consist of activating poses like sun salutations and arm balance and relaxing poses such as supported back and forward bends. The activating poses come first when exercising yoga to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system (flight or fight response). They alternate with the relaxing poses that activate your para-systematic nervous system, allowing you to return to your calmer place.

If you’ve never tried yoga before, you’re probably unsure how much exercise you can do or how tired you might be after a session. The truth is that yoga is challenging and involves lots of complex physical training. This means you’ll sweat, get tired, and your muscles hurt during and after your session since strength, stretch, and flexibility are the basics of these physical and mental health practices. Yoga doesn’t only involve stretching and aiming to achieve an appropriate physical form, but it also exercises your mind and spirit in unison.

Mental health resources suggest that yoga provides numerous benefits in our daily lives and obtaining mental health and emotional stability. Generally practicing yoga can:

  • Boost your energy and make you stronger;
  • Relieve stress, depression, and anxiety;
  • Improve your strength and flexibility;
  • Help you avoid injury;
  • Support your cardiovascular health;
  • Help you get better sleep, etc.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a mental health practice that can be defined as an act of mental concentration that helps achieve relaxation and mental focus. It can be practiced by any individual, regardless of their mental capacity or age, meaning it can be used as a tool to improve both adult and child mental health. This mental health symbol can help you obtain mental clarity, which is the ability to focus and concentrate on one task at a time, without distractions from other thoughts or mental processes. Meditation allows you to clear your mind, relax, and become more focused in your day-to-day life.

It’s often referred to as “mindfulness” or “the art of living.” With the hectic pace of modern life with groundbreaking innovations, it can be tough to focus on mental health and well-being. Meditation involves mental exercises that teach you to listen within yourself and find peace with what you’re feeling. These mental health exercises are often based on breathing techniques or mental imagery. Some of the most common reasons for meditating include mental health benefits, stress relief, and a sense of peace and clarity.

The purpose of this mental health practice is to help you focus on the present moment, which includes thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, sounds around you, without judging them as good or bad. In other words, just let them come and go without getting caught up in any one thing for too long. If you’re looking for effective mental health help, meditation can help you promote your mental health wellness by teaching you how to accept all aspects of your life.

Excellent mental health is essential, and by practicing meditation, you can:

  • Shrink depression and stress;
  • Spark creativity;
  • Help you manage emotional reactions;
  • Boost your self-awareness;
  • Help you find serenity in mental health perplexities;
  • Improve your attention span;
  • Help you obtain a new perspective;
  • Help you overcome memory loss.

What Sets Yoga and Meditation Apart?

Yoga is more of a physical exercise, but it’s integrally connected to what’s going on in your mind and soul. You use specific physical postures and your breath to improve your mental health and physical well-being during the practice. Meditation, on the other hand, is simply an exercise of sitting and focusing on your thoughts. It’s more of a quiet workout for your inner self and mind, although you’ll need to concentrate on your body during the exercise. Sitting still can be hard.

Undoubtedly, yoga and meditation have elements in common as their key purpose is to improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. While meditation is one of the key limbs of yoga, there are several differences you should note. Let’s take a quick look at the differences between yoga vs meditation in key aspects of these two mental health exercises.

1Activity Level

Yoga involves many simple and hard movements, which makes it a form of physical workout. During the exercise, there’s serious concentration on different body postures and breathing patterns. Yoga also focuses on benefiting your mental health, but the mental health impacts aren’t as strong as the physical health effects. Most people who have tried yoga and meditation find the activity level of yoga more challenging than in meditation. Besides maintaining your breathing patterns and body in difficult positions, you’re also required to maintain balance, internal peace, and focus.

Yoga seems easy, but switching through various poses can be quite challenging to the point where it makes your muscles ache and your body sweat. A basic purpose of yoga is to keep you connected to the present (just like in meditation) while shifting and maintaining poses. This can be more difficult than meditation that doesn’t involve challenging movements.

Meditation, in contrast, is almost entirely mental rather than physical. In most cases, there’s slight movement involved in this discipline. During meditation, the activity level is low since the practice is all about exercising your mind instead of the body. You relax, engage in self-reflection, and learn while connecting with your surroundings. You don’t have to exert yourself physically as you can comfortably rest your body and meditate.

2Restrictions

While the two mental health practices have respective natures, there are restrictions on who can practice meditation than who can practice yoga. For instance, some yoga poses can’t be practiced on an empty stomach. Additionally, there are also specific yoga poses that some individuals may be unable to perform due to their particular health issues.

All in all, this doesn’t mean that meditating is comfortable and easier than yoga in every way. Some individuals might not be able to meditate due to certain physical or mental health issues. Some people may also find it easier to do yoga. For them, specific poses might be the most straightforward path to therapeutic mental health.

3End Goals

What is mental health, and what goals should you have regarding your mental health needs? Everyone has mental health goals, even if you don’t know them. Yoga and meditation are two practices that people often turn to for mental health reasons. They offer many benefits, but what’s the end goal? These practices are popular ways to keep physical and mental health matters in check, but people are often unsure what to expect after the practices. The truth is that there isn’t just one answer – mental health therapy goals can be different for everyone.

It isn’t surprising that yoga is more beneficial and holistic than meditation regarding physical and mental health improvement. The end goal involves mental health stability, physical fitness, and spiritual stability. Practicing yoga improves both your internal and external health, unlike meditation which focuses primarily on your state of mind. Meditation helps you improve mindfulness skills, which will allow you to live in the present moment without being consumed by past or future thoughts.

Conclusion

While there are similarities between yoga and meditation practices, some key differences may make one more appealing to you than the other. Yoga is a physical exercise that uses mental concentration to achieve mental clarity. Meditation doesn’t require any physical movement but mental concentration. This article discusses what each mental health practice entails and the benefits of physical and mental health. It explores differences between yoga vs meditation in detail.

What do you understand about how to improve mental health? Do you believe yoga and meditation can help resolve the spreading worldwide mental health crisis? Please use the comment section below share your opinion on yoga and meditation in mental health awareness, state one or a few differences between the yoga vs meditation, or ask any related questions.

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Robert Faulkner is a family and child psychologist. He has been working with couples of different ages and wants to share his thoughts about relationships with you. Now Robert also writes articles for best dating sites. Robert’s hobby is traveling inside the UK and abroad. He has visited more than 15 countries, including the USA, Spain, France, the Netherlands, etc. One of Robert's biggest dreams is to take a photo on the top of Everest.
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