Why do we meditate after yoga class? For a lot of people, the meditation or relaxation part of a yoga class is what they struggle with most. They don't see the point, they would rather be working on their headstands, or they have somewhere to be. In fact, sometimes people even leave before the meditation begins!
For me, the five to ten minutes of pure relaxation at the end of the class is what bought me to the class in the first place. As an angry 15 year old, I found yoga at my local college and fell in love. Although it did take me a while, the relaxation helped me deal with the teenage angst raging round my body. Even now as a yoga instructor, I find leading the meditation extremely relaxing!
The whole physical arm of yoga, or the asanas, came into place back in ancient times as a way to allow the practising monks to relax their bodies in order to be still long enough to meditate. These days we don't often spend 10+ hours a day meditating, but we do spend a lot of time seated, whether over a desk, on the sofa, or driving, so yoga is a great way to counter this. But we're also in desperate need of the meditation.
Meditation gives our bodies a chance to rest and recuperate, and gives our brains a break. We are often so over stimulated, with smart phones, tv's and laptops, advertising and social media constantly bombarding us. We are in demand from friends and family, work and social commitments. There's always something to do and somewhere we have to be.
When you are in meditation, there is nowhere to be and nothing to do. What is important is right here, and right now. It's a chance to take some time to just appreciate being in the moment, watching the breath and taking a break from outside life to reconnect with the body.
Meditation helps to reduce stress, improves concentration, and increases happiness, gratitude and awareness. It can help to improve sleep, and relaxes the body, helping you to feel ready to face the world! So, at your next yoga class, appreciate the few minutes you have at the end to truly relax, and never ever leave early!