There's a growing mindfulness movement in Silicon Valley where major tech companies employ meditation in order to get ahead. Over 1,000 Google employees have gone through the tech giant's internal course called "Search Inside Yourself,". The mindfulness movement seems to be part of a growing trend in the success-driven, data-oriented entrepreneurial culture of tech and Silicon Valley.
Studies have shown that meditation can rewire how the brain responds to stress. Other research suggests that meditation helps improve memory and executive functions.
A PhD research describes that Movement Meditation practitioners experience fundamental shifts in their personal growth and wellbeing in areas of the body, emotions, mind and spirituality. Furthermore, participants sometimes experience new awareness regarding the nature of life, oneness, and various other ‘life lessons’.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate—it’s just about bringing your mind to a single point of concentration. And for folks who tend to fidget, focusing on slow, repetitive movements and breathing can help you find your zen. “Performing the same movement over and over and paying close attention to your breath makes it much easier to clear your mind and find one point of focus—even if that focus is just on your breath.”
“One of the biggest benefits I believe is I think clearer and make better business and personal decisions. I am in better moods, calmer, happier. It gives me more energy to do things. Which I need, because I am up 18 hours every day doing many different things.”
Anyone can mimic the basic movements of a Sun Salutation, one of the keystone sequences in yoga. Standing, sweep your arms overhead, then swan dive into a forward bend, come halfway up with a flat back, fold forward again and rise back up to standing. But while it may look simple, the real trick comes from linking movement to breath.
This potential to create a moving meditation is at the heart of yoga’s calm-inducing benefits. And it all comes back to the breath. Through conscious breathing (taking deep inhalations during specific movements and fully exhaling with others), you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and trigger a corresponding drop in heart rate and suppression of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, in the bloodstream.
Learning how to connect the breath to movement isn’t difficult, but it takes practice. In the sequence at right, let the breath lead the movement through the poses, not the other way around. Once you master the rhythm, you can feel confident moving on to more challenging or vigorous sequences.
Practicing conscious breathing techniques in various positions effectively strengthens muscles, massages organs, engages the body’s many sphincters and sends neurological cues to the brain. And adjusting your posture or stance to make space to breathe can make all the difference.