More alternative meditation practices in western culture may help alleviate stress

The growing westernization of alternative therapeutic trends promote self discovery


Reported by Allison Hayes 

Most stress that we have on a daily basis is derived from fear and uncertainties about life, and digging deep in meditation can release us from that, say some experts.

Many new methods of stress relief are popping up. Some, such as hot yoga and floatation therapy, aim to help clear the minds of practitioners. This works for some because the constant worry of daily life is a source of anxiety and stress, and the meditative qualities of these therapies help people overcome them.

Hayley Dobson, yoga instructor of Hot Box Yoga at UBC, said practices such as hot yoga have helped her come to terms with her fears about self-identity.

“One thing that yoga has really helped me overcome is anxiety,” Dobson said. “I think a lack of self-confidence or self-worth, it’s kind of hard to hide any feelings from yourself when you’re so deep in your body and mind constantly.”

Self discovery might lead to self fear

Dobson said she uses yoga to help her understand her own emotional process, but understands that some people might have fears about opening up to themselves.

“I think there’s a lot of resistance people have to sort of coming face to face maybe with pain or fear or feelings that need excavation, and they don’t want to dig that deep,” Dobson said.

Michael Zaremba, co-founder of Float House, said hot yoga and floating therapy is still relatively new in Western culture. Because of this, many newcomers are apprehensive of starting, since they’re afraid of something new.

Westernization of cultural practices link to cure existing issues

“In North America we don’t really have any traditions of this. We don’t have any kind of cultural practices, at least from a Western standpoint, of going within [meditation],” Zaremba said. “I think that’s probably the root of the vast majority of issues in our society.”

Caitlin Varrin, an Edmonton-based instructor at Yogalife Studios, said yoga helps her deal with the stress of life.

“All of a sudden, the little daily bumps in the road seem smoother.”



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