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The Top Five Benefits of Meditation

posted on Wednesday, 16th October 2013 | find under Tamara, Nutrition
On Wednesdays at 12:15 PM, the Sweaty Betty Support Office heads down to the ground floor studio with mats and blocks in hand to walk out the downward dog, invert into headstands and shoulder stands, focus on ujayii breath and relax into savasana. It’s the highlight of our lunch break.

The vinyasa flow we practise is very much a moving meditation, focusing on the breath and bringing back the 'monkey mind' when thoughts wander away from the room. It can be tempting to stay at our desks, but the benefits of moving meditation are hard to ignore. Here are our top five reasons for practising it.

It reduces stress.
On a purely physiological level, numerous scientific studies have shown that mindful meditation calms the body as well as the mind. It lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to stress, as well as reducing blood pressure and increasing circulation.

It boosts the immune system.
Now that the temperature’s dropping, we’re all wrapping up in warm layers and waiting for the autumnal cold to make its way around the office. Thanks to meditation, that may not happen! The relaxation of muscles that occurs with meditation boosts immune response, making us better able to avoid the latest virus making the rounds. 

It helps recovery from more strenuous exercise.
After high-intensity exercise, the body tends to overcompensate with an increase in T-cells to prepare itself for potential injuries. This results in inflammation, an increase in blood lactate and a longer recovery time. Regular meditation decreases this response, meaning less inflammation, lower levels of blood lactate and a shorter recovery time.

It can alter our DNA – in a good way!
DNA can’t change, physically, but certain genes can be turned on or off depending on behaviour. The good news is that, according to Harvard Medical Researchers, far more genes responsible for fighting diseases are turned on in yogis and those who actively practise meditation. And the more you practise it, the better the results get.

It makes us more creative and more compassionate.
A study in the Netherlands showed that after meditation, an experimental group performed better at a creative task, while another showed that regular meditation leads to stronger activation in the part of the brain linked with empathy.

Many Sweaty Betty boutiques offer free yoga as part of our club classes programme. To find your nearest yoga class, please visit our boutiques page
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