Yoga and Meditation Question


#1

I am new to this forum, so hello! I am happy to be here. I have been doing yoga for a couple years and I am just now starting to experiment with meditation. My question is in regards to combining meditation and yoga. It has come to my attention that most of the yoga classes I attend do not have extended meditation as part of the class. I am wondering why this is? The class might have a five minute meditation BEFORE the class, or allow you to lay down in savasana for 15 minutes, but they never have you sit for an extended period after completing a series of postures. It is my historical understanding the yoga was originally created to relax and tire out the body so that a meditative state can be reached more easily. I think this is wonderful, but find that most people who regularly do yoga, myself included, do not meditate immediately after . . that’s if they meditate at all. I am all for the benefits of yoga without meditation . . . but in my current practice I am wanting both. It feels weird to get up and meditate in the morning and then rush off in my car to a studio to do a yoga class, it’s the opposite of what things used to be. Has anyone else come across this dilemma? I am open to any sort of response, as I was hoping to get a discussion going about the role of meditation and yoga and how the two work, or don’t work together. Thanks guys!

-Anna


#2

I do it for a few minutes after my practice. But what the hell do I know. Apparently I can’t even get the position right.:slight_smile:


#3

Hi Anna.

You can do the meditation before or after the postures.

The postures were desinged to relax the body so the job of relaxing and stilling the mind could come easier,especially if you look at the progression of the 8 limbs of ashtanga yoga.

Having said that, i think you could also:-

A) Use all the limbs together as supporting and inter-connected like a patchwork quilt.
B)Actually yes work backwards or rather start off with higher limbs and add lower ones which you would want a teacher for unless you had some prior background in meditation. Most people will start of with dharana or concentration and then move to dhyana,meditation proper, the ceasing of thought, and eventually moving to samadhi, superconsciousness.There are technical distinctions that i’m not particularly up on but you could conceivably be traversing all 3 of the last 3 limbs in one meditation session even if you just had a short insight period in samadhi.

There would appear to be many approaches and methods in meditation and/or concentration.

I’m not that entirely clear on any technical distinctions worth pointing out between meditation proper, i.e i’m assuming dharana , or concentration, and dhyana. I am assuming the latter implies more of a state of complete absorption where the object becomes the subject .And samadhi is dissolution or permament & abiding self-realisation.24/7 Witness conscioussness i’m speculating would be a feature of someone that had entered that state.


#4

The simplest meditation may be just closing the eyes and getting comfortable

But Of course this may depend on how folk may want to define meditation.

Personally as i say i’m not that clear on technical defintions or distinctions.

But regarding your practice what i would encourage you to do is cultivate an awareness of the subtle body or bodies and/or the movement of prana. This is advanced but once you’ve got it your practice should progress in leaps and bounds.Useful prerequisites are both a still body and mind…hence where the postures come in. But let’s say you’re quite stiff…then you could instead do some light pranayama and meditate in a chair.


#5

Hello Anna,

In the classical model “meditation” is part of “Yoga”. Meditation is not particularly part of asana, though the two may not be mutually exclusive. And of course in the modern world the offerings of Yoga are often diluted (due to fear and misunderstanding on the part of the teacher), distorted (due to the cravings of ego for money, popularity and a fools gold of power), and jumbled/out of order (asana before yama and niyama).

So many of the current expressions of “yoga” are actually devoid of yoga. It saddens me that there is an enormous box of profoundly helpful tools for human development (read: evolution/transformation/change/growth) but we, as students, settle for mediocrity in much the same way we settle for mediocrity in our own living. As with all things capitalist, we vote with our dollar and we continue to send the subtle message that 1/1000 of what we deserve is perfectly fine with us.

In Purna Yoga™ one of the four limbs we teach IS meditation and so the studio offers hour-long meditation classes on a regular basis AND an on-going meditation circle (4/week) with Savitri, our meditation teacher and co-founder of Yoga Centers.

Our meditation work aligns with the great work of Sri Aurobindo and we add some of the meditation “snacks” within the asana class, depending on the level of class. So yes, some of us here have felt the dilemma you mention and somehow gravitated to what feels like a more robust practice for us. I hope you will be blessed to find the same for you.


#6

This is kind of an interesting question. Nowadays we sort of have a separation between asana practice and meditation practice, but if you think about it, that’s not really all that new. If you look at Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, he doesn’t really say much about how to practice asana. The same is true of other philosophically oriented texts. So it would seem that the separation of teaching asana and meditation practices may have existed even at the time when the classic texts were written.

You may be wondering, why is there such a separation? Meditation practice is personal, and there are many different flavors. It also is not so cut and dried as asana practice. Because there is such a variety of methods and purposes, and the fact that it is internal practice, talking about or teaching certain things can be controversial, and in the world of conducting a business, even a yoga business, it is usually advantageous to avoid controversy. Unless a yoga teacher wants to hold herself out as a spiritual teacher, I believe its perfectly legitimate to teach just the physical practices, with maybe a sprinkling of ethical conduct and basic mental focusing thrown in for good measure.

In actual practice though, there is a definite connection between asana practice and meditation. Patanjali only says that asana should be steady and easy, and that one should be very relaxed. He is really describing the asana that is used for meditation, not necessarily all asana. My personal opinion is that asana is connected to what is technically known as “nirodha”, or restriction of the modifications of the mind. Nirodha allows the mind to concentrate and enter the higher limbs of yoga. But technicalities aside, I’m sure you will find from your own experience that asana will help you to calm and focus your mind, which makes it much easier to meditate. And yes it does seem backwards to meditate in the morning at home and then rush off in your car to yoga class, but you just have to do what works best for you and fits into your schedule.


#7

[QUOTE=starfishyoga;51095]. . . but in my current practice I am wanting both. It feels weird to get up and meditate in the morning and then rush off in my car to a studio to do a yoga class, it’s the opposite of what things used to be. Has anyone else come across this dilemma? I am open to any sort of response, as I was hoping to get a discussion going about the role of meditation and yoga and how the two work, or don’t work together. Thanks guys!

-Anna[/QUOTE]

You are using the term “yoga” to refer to only physical postures. This is not entirely accurate. The term Yoga is derived from the sanskrit root “yuk” which means to unite or join. The unity referred to is between the atman (individual soul) and paramatman (universal soul). The term is used for the practice or the path by which the union is to be acheived. The classical treatise on Yoga was compiled by Patanjali and has eight limbs (from which the term ashta(eight) anga (limbs) Yoga has emerged.

The first two Yama and Niyama are purificatory and behavioural practices.
The third asan is physical postures -thought to have been designed to strenghten the body and train the student to detach his mind during periods when the body is under strain, thus deepening relaxation.
The fourth pranayam is breathing rituals to get the breath under control. Yogic belief is that by slowing down the breath and controlling it, we can slow down and control the mind.
The fifth Pratyhar is detachment of the mind from the senses and turning it inwards.
The sixth is dharan-concentration of the mind.
The seventh -dhyan is the state of mind when fully concentrated on one thought
The eight -Samadhi is the state when thoughts stop and the veil of the mind drops- this is the state of enlightment.

Yes, meditation is part of yoga and they cannot work independently. That having been said, early morning is a very conducive time for meditation as the mind is already in a state of low activity. Perhaps you can try meditation in the morning and then go for yoga classes.


#8

[QUOTE=The Blind Guy;51099]I do it for a few minutes after my practice. But what the hell do I know. Apparently I can’t even get the position right.:)[/QUOTE]

Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s all good.


#9

DEAR ALL

I AM FACING A PROBLEM WHEREIN I HAVE A VERY LOW SEX DRIVE AND I HAVE GOTMY BLOOD TESTED WHERE IN MY TESTORENE IS VERY LOW …REST ALL MY BLOOD REPORTS ARE NORMAL.BECAUSE OF ALL THIS I AM VERY DISTURBED AND CANT CONCENTRATE AT ALL…i HAVE A GOOD DIET AND I GO TO GYM ALSO And i run on treadmill for 20 mins and do some wieght training … i have done surya namaskar in the past and i am aware of the steps.All i want to know is that can the low testorene be cured with the help of yoga and pranyam,PLEASE PLEASE LET ME KNOW … I AM REALLY WORRIED.mY AGE IS 30 AND I HAVE A OFFICE JOB


#10

Hello! Please tell me where I can find a book of 1000+ meditation technics? Thank You!


#11

I think when you feel upset or sad. you can try to meditation. when you feel tired, sleepy, you can try to meditation. you can try to do this as you want. not only on lessons, but also in dailylife.


#12

My question is in regards to combining meditation and yoga. It has come to my attention that most of the yoga classes I attend do not have extended meditation as part of the class. I am wondering why this is?

This is because most of the people don't like meditation or don't understand meditation. Many people join for physical activity or solution to some issues. It is wrong expectation from yoga though. But this is the real situation. To run a class you have to keep in mind that many people are joining to do something rather than not doing.

Has anyone else come across this dilemma?

Most of the people I meet have some or the other question or dilemma about Meditation. This dilemma shows only one thing that the person who has dilemma has not yet experienced meditation.

role of meditation and yoga and how the two work, or don’t work together
Dilemma is because you think yoga and meditation are different. They are not different.

Moreover you can never get meditation anywhere outside. Not even in any class. That does not mean that you should not join.

Meditation is outcome of mental awareness and stability of body and mind. You actually don't need anything (to be in meditation) once you earn Meditation. Please note I have written earn not learn because meditation is not a part of learning process. It is a part of happening process, something that happens to you. A person can be relaxing in Savasana without experiencing meditation at all.

Please look for mediation inside of you and not outside.