Yoga Symbols

Sometimes a person uses a symbol or photo of a spiritual object, a saint, or something sacred to meditate on. Others have small altars with a photo of a saint or guru, flowers, or a symbolic item that they use for meditation. Symbols are extremely personal. The advantage of a symbol is that it is able to transcend cultural barriers. What symbolizes something sacred to one individual may not have the same meaning to another. To many yogis, one of the most powerful symbols is that of the Sanskrit letters for “Om.”

Frederick M. Luskin, Ph.D., at the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at Stanford School of Medicine (CAMPS), one of the ten National Institutes of Health research centers on alternative and complementary medicine, has documented the positive effects of meditation in curbing stress and anxiety for individuals with cardiovascular problems. A recent pilot study looked at another segment of the population: teacher. Teaching has one of the highest turnover rates of any profession due to stress. The study found that the meditation group significantly reduced their stress symptoms in the “domains of emotional manifestations, gastrointestinal distress and behavioral manifestations.”

Source: “The Effect of a Meditation Program on the Level of Stress in Secondary School Student Teachers,” Frederick M. Luskin, Ph.D., and Andrew J. Winzelberg, Ph.D.

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