Yoga & Meditation Make You Awesome at Life

October 8th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

A new study shows that people who practice yoga and meditation long term can control a computer with their minds faster and better than people with little or no yoga or meditation experience.

That’s like, futuristic shit y’all.

One of the study’s goals is to lay the foundation for future research to help people who are paralyzed or have brain diseases regain mobility and independence. The power of the mind never ceases to amaze me, and I unfortunately forget that we have so much control over it!

I’ve talked a bit about meditation before on my blog. Thanks to taking a Buddhist Psychology course during my graduate program in Psychology I have a healthy library of  books on the subject. I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking (the secret is a phenomenal book/movie!) and I’ve witnessed first hand how much regular meditation can lower stress levels, improve mood, and just generally make you a better person.

Yet – I never do it.

Same with Yoga. I read some new research on how great it is for you, swear I’ll start doing it again, and it never happens. I have a hundred great excuses. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money for classes. I’m already working out so much. Salem wants to cuddle … 

I’m done making excuses.

Yoga and Meditation

I have a lot going on in my life right now. More than I ever have before in my almost 31 years of existence. My stress levels are dangerous new highs. My TMJ is back, for the first time in my life I’m dealing with insmonia, my eating has been total garbage and I just feel like a second-rate version of myself. A lot of the stress will alleviate once the semester ends and I move to Fort Rucker in December. Until then I need to be more proactive about managing it.

At first I wanted to make this grand ‘life plan’ up. No more gluten! No artificial anything! Yoga and Meditation every single day for a month!

Then – I realized that’s one of my biggest problems. I go all out and I get burned out. So, I’m going to just make some minor tweaks and hope that by not overwhelming myself they are more likely to be long lasting. I’m definitely fighting the urge to go buy a dozen books on the subject, sign up for a month unlimited of yoga, and spend a weeks pay on all healthy, organic foods.

Instead I think I will buy one new yoga DVD (I only have one), maybe pick up a new non-caffeinated tea, and pull out some of my old meditation books to read through. I have an empty journal I’m going to use to start writing in daily again. I used to fill journals up with how much I ate and exercised for the day, but now I’ll just write down a bit about how I’m feeling, and what I was able to do for yoga and/or meditation that day. I certainly hope I can do something every day, but I’m not going to make any rules/promises to myself about what I ‘must’ do and just make an effort to do what I can, when I can, where I can.

Join me?


Intro to Meditation from Mayo Clinic

Free Guided Meditations from UCLA

10 Relaxation Tips that Zap Stress Fast

Guided Relaxation Worksheets from University of Michigan

Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief (lots of great resources!)



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32 Responses

  • Tina Muir says:

    Aww how lovely, I would definitely like to join you on your journey, but I may have to wait till after chicago….dont wanna make any changes….good or bad, till after that! This sounds like a wonderful idea for next week, pick me up? :P

  • miki says:

    I practice yoga about 4 times per week but definitely need to work on the meditation aspect. Check out She has tons of you tube videos if you want some variety. I do them regularly when I’m traveling or can’t make it to the studio.

  • I have always said I want to do yoga and meditate but I’ve never made either a priority. I think there’s a time when I finally will but it’s definitely not anytime soon!

  • Totally start doing yoga and meditation as much as possible! It should never be about all or nothing! Yoga is amazing and is life to me, but it can work for anyone and every one!

  • SuzLyfe says:

    I’ve found doing yoga and meditating, in whatever capacity you are able to do it, are beneficial because it forces you to concentrate on things that you never allow yourself to–like micro-movements and your breath. It certainly has made me a better runner, I feel more loose, and I would like to think that it helps me as a person!

    • Erica House says:

      I never would have thought of a connection between meditating and running. I’m not surprised though as I know that meditating can basically improve every aspect of your life!

  • Ha! You’re a fellow Type A who loves to give your all to whatever you undertake. it’s so difficult to slow down when you go fast and if you figure out, I would like to know how! Best of luck on this journey, can;t wait to read how it goes.

  • Jen says:

    yes to all of this. my yoga practice has changed my life.

    erica, check out or instead of buying another dvd. you can stream a lot of different teachers and styles. mix it up more and find what you like!


  • jessicafaithwatts says:

    This has nothing to do with this post, I am sorry. I remember awhile back you had a post about finances and it had helpful printouts. Which blog post was that? I would like to print out those pages. Thank you!

  • Domi says:

    That’s really fascinating, and perfectly timed positive reinforcement because I’ve been taking yoga more seriously lately. You have a solid approach with the changes that you outlined, and I think you’ll be much more successful that way – I’m all too familiar with the “let’s fix alltheproblems by doing allthe[healthy]things!!” approach, and that has always led to an ugly trainwreck of burnout for me. So consider me on board with you! :) Just yesterday I set the goal for myself of doing the Jillian Michael’s yoga meltdown DVD 2x each week for the next month to see if, by being consistent, I could progress to the second level. (Radical, I know…)

    Keep us posted on how the namaste-ing goes!

    • Erica House says:

      What do you think of her yoga DVD? I hear such mixed things about it!

      I meditated for 5 minutes in the bathroom before class tonight. It was all I could do today and it still made a huge difference in my attitude!

      • Domi says:

        The workout is enjoyable and nice for days when you want to exercise but keep it lower-key. It’s more yoga-inspired than actual yoga, though, so I still enjoy other videos/my own practice for the “yoga feels,” haha. What really gets irritating is how she harps on about calories, burning fat, etc. at a couple points…just a bit of a personality clash. If you can tune that out, it’s worth a shot! Let me know if you give it a go. :)

        • Erica House says:

          Yeah that was my concern about it. It would be to fitness based to feel like ‘yoga’ and would be to slow moving/yoga to feel like a real workout to me!

  • tiniertina says:

    What synchronicity you should write this!

    I’d left yoga, lock, stock and barrel for 3 months, from a 4 times a week, down to maybe twice a week (the yoga equivalent maintenance-level) – this is overwhelmingly a home, longer-than-class-length yoga practice–most of it my own sequence. I was practicing regularly for well over 7 years. That 7 year itch.

    I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER RETURN, as I have transformed myself into a low-impact cardio drama queen (not particularly dance; since I restored my love affair with Richard Simmons via dvd–and you gotta admit: that’s THEATER!)

    But I came back to yoga 3 days ago!

    How did you get by with only 1 yoga dvd? Classes, much? I get it, you probably can stream everything and everybody at turbo speed.

    I’d taken over 100 live classes during that period. DON’T ASK!! [I’ve finally gotten my stories-I-could-dine-out-on over THAT experience, so I really mean it when I say not to ask.] I own 7 yoga dvds, 6 yoga-fusion dvds; and miraculously about 7 totally to offline downloads of yoga.

    My timing was unfortunate; the age of totally-to-offline download licensure of yoga has, regrettably, passed. I had not been in on it for much; and my transmission speed sucks!

    So, I came back to my own sequence. Am painstakingly developing it.

    And also doing the Rodney Yee I was supposed to have gotten into, but didn’t in all that time.

    As a side note, I was still doing yoga when I was the resident “tech guru” (amongst my many duties) at a tiny firm. So, yeah, I “talked” to computers. It had been foisted upon me as part of my job.

    I suddenly realize I miss that now.
    Could it be Rodney Yee and Patricia Moreno and all those guys getting me back into the cyberphilic frame of mind?

    • Erica House says:

      I envy your in-depth relationship with yoga! I have a total of two DVDs in my collection now. One that contains a few sequences by Shiva Rae and another that’s 2 series both aimed toward stress relief. I find it’s enough for me when I look at all the free yoga videos on youtube. I’m not a big fan of youtube videos since the quality/professionalism seems to off. I am looking at classes to take in person this week. I’m just so … nervous about taking them in person. Which I know is totally ridiculous.

      • tiniertina says:

        You may just find yourself practicing with Gaiam TV’s myyogaonline channel, if you keep that up.

        Classes are pretty yesteryear (and expensive to maintain). Remember, I’ve been gym-free for well over 6 years. And 100 studio classes is nothing to envy, when there are yoga students taking 100 classes in a 6 month period, gunning for private sessions or mix-and-matching a yoga class pass every month, renewed; along, with a gym membership!

        Pardon me, though: I do not think Cross-Fit should enter into this equation. I hope you understand.

  • Love this!! As I was saying last night, meditation is a HUGE stress reliever for me. I know its not for everyone. I tried to get my husband to do it with me a couple nights ago, and he just HATED it hahaha. But I just love it! Sending you light and positivity girl!!

  • I know I need to meditate but I never do! This needs to happen!

  • Alma says:

    I’m in the midst of doing this myself, only across the board since I am horrific at self-care. One thing that also gets in my way is that I have a ton of passion and enthusiasm for it–but it doesn’t stick because the minute I get busy, all of my energy is other-focused. Or I get caught in the perfectionism trap of doing everything all at once, in very particular ways. If I can’t do it to the degree I want to do it, I get frustrated and don’t even try–which ends up with suckage.

    This weekend, I had an epiphany or five. I’m learning that (and this gets woo-woo) a lot of my behaviors come from wanting to comfort myself because disciplined, adult me basically checks out–so that scared, control-freak version of myself comes out full-throttle and runs the show. I also realized that I never really had any limits put on me by my parents as a kid, and I’m actually treating myself like they did…and creating a spoiled brat or totally neglecting my essential needs.

    Rather than going crazy and doing a big plan with color-coded trackers and data galore–I’m making a long list of things I’d like to do more of. Then I’m prioritizing them based on what would help me the most. Then I’m doing each one–tackling one every 3 weeks…adding a little money to a jar every time I reach my goal that day. After a year, I’ll use the money to treat myself to a trip or something fun. I think just focusing on one thing at a time will alleviate some of my stress and will help me integrate it fully into my life. At least, that’s what I’m hoping!

    • Erica House says:

      Man you and I sound like peas in a Type A pod.

      I hope your approach is going well for you! I’ve only meditated and done yoga once this week, but that’s a 100% improvement over last week. I don’t know why I’m so reluctant to do it regularly!

  • osi14 says:

    I’ll read the book you recommended on meditation and will schedule yoga in my workouts.. I feel a need to center on something beside myself, job and family. Thank you Erica.

  • Meghan says:

    I try to do yoga about once a week, particularly on days where I’ve had an awful day at work. For this reason, my boyfriend and I have started calling it “Yogurt” — as it has a probiotic effect on my soul. I’m currently trying to increase it by a day each week, because it makes me feel so much better. I think we all need to take more time for self-care, so I’m in!

    • Erica House says:

      Lol I love the ‘yogurt’ nickname! Do you do it in person or via DVD at home?

      • I use the Yoga Studio app. Tons of different little sessions where you can focus on strength, flexibility, relaxation, or a combo of the three in 15-30 minute increments. I highly recommend it. How’s this week going in the way of stress relief?

        • Erica House says:

          I meditated for 5 minutes in the bathroom before class Monday, and 20 minutes last night. I woke up today feeling AMAZING. Coincidence? I think not!

          • It definitely works. I have to sub in awful classes this week, so I’ve already been doing my regimen. My air conditioning is out and it’s surprisingly hot for October (the apartment is 80 AT NIGHT), so I have been counting it as hot yoga. HA!

          • Erica House says:

            Yeah it was almost 90 here this week. What I wouldn’t give for a crisp Fall day in October :(