01/13/2015 11:19 am ET Updated Mar 15, 2015

How Yoga and Meditation Made Me a Whole New Person

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I'm a person who has tried to live a healthy lifestyle (for the most part) and has generally managed to avoid too many life-negative habits. I wouldn't categorize myself as a "health nut," but I enjoy the satisfaction that I get from exercising regularly and eating wholesome food. When I started my practice of yoga and meditation, it seemed like something really in line with what I was already doing, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the huge difference it has made in my life.

#1 Improved my Flexibility

This may seem like a no-brainer, but yoga not only helped me stretch my muscles, it also perfected my posture and helped me with my back pain. Tight hamstrings and tight hips after a few years of sports had led to various back problems for me, and also a complication in my knee. The tightness in the hip region was the first thing to go after I began my yoga, and many other problems went "bye bye" soon too. I still have a bit of an ache in the knee every once in a while, But that has gone down drastically and seems to be set to follow the other problems into oblivion soon!

#2 Weight Loss

There are many types of yoga, but regardless which form you follow, yoga for weight loss has been attested as a very effective process. Yoga and meditation puts me in a mental state where I naturally eat less. I'm one of those people who eat more when they get upset, and apart from experiencing more emotional balance after doing yoga, I also found that it made me more conscious about what I eat without making any extra effort. It reduced my need for "comfort food" and let me decide what to eat based on what my body needs.

#3 Relaxed my Body-Mind

Both yoga and meditation are considered natural remedies for anxiety and stress because they shift the body's mode away from the fight or flight response. This brings about a calm and rejuvenating process where at least for me, relaxation was almost a natural state. I found that I was likely to assume the worst in a situation, and was consequently able to develop more healthy relationships with friends, family and work colleagues. And I was no longer in a constant state of angst and tension about what had happened and what might happen.

#4 Improved my Attention and Focus

Focus often doesn't rank high on people's list of strengths these days, so you can imagine the difficulty a beginner like me would find in maintaining focus in tricky hatha yoga postures! But despite my propensity (typical of a modern lifestyle) towards attention deficiency, focus and attention is something that came naturally to me with regular practice of yoga and meditation. These aspects easily percolated into almost every other aspects of my day-to-day life.

Whatever may be your background or fitness level, yoga seems to have something to offer for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Get out your yoga mat and meditate!