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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yoga Meditation

By using yoga meditation techniques, stemming from ancient India, we can not only relieve stress but also increase our physical, emotional and mental health.Before we go into yoga meditation and what the most common techniques of meditation are, I think it is good to first understand what is yoga and how it relates to meditation in general.


What Is Yoga?

Yoga, as defined by Patanjali the author of Yoga Sutras,
"is the ability to focus the mind on a single point without distraction."
Yoga incorporates exercise and yoga meditation into one philosophy and practice that provides physical benefits as well as promotes the development of self-awareness.
For many people yoga is a kind of physical exercise, albeit slow, a sort of stretching, that helps them achieve various positive things in their lives.
In a small poll I conducted once among my friends on the meaning of Yoga, I have received two replies that put yoga in the category of powerful exercises, a kind of Indian aerobics. They were very surprised when I explained them that yoga can be something much gentler, calmer, akin to meditation.
Indeed, when practicing yoga, the person is taking various "asana" postures. Asana means the practice of taking on various different physical poses, or positions in rather slow motion. However another definition of it is really the balanced union between the mind, body and soul, or spirit.
While in truth Asana is one of the 8 "limbs" of yoga (more on that later), in our Western world we mostly use the two terms quite interchangeably. As a matter of fact I talked once to a person who wanted to show off with his knowledge fo the terminologies, and he told me that he "started practicing asana".
Yoga indeed involves a set of light physical stretching exercises. But don't get confused by the word 'light', because it is not always easy. Just because there are not always heavy exercises involved, it doesn't mean that it's easy to do them.
There are in fact several postures that a person is practicing in yoga and each posture evolves in perfect coordination after the previous pose. This tends to help develop a person physically as well as mentally and emotionally in perfect balance.

The Five Principles Of Yoga Are:

  1. Proper relaxation
  2. Proper exercise
  3. Proper breathing
  4. Proper diet
  5. Meditation and positive mental attitude
No other philosophy comes close to yoga as it involves the consideration of the whole person. Yoga will encourage you to become totally connected with yourself; mind, body, and spirit.

How Does Yoga Relate To Meditation Techniques?

There is one important aspect that is important to know. In order to practice meditation, you don't need to practice yoga. Also by practicing yoga, you are not required to pick up meditation.
It is interesting to learn that many people have actually started yoga through taking an active interest in meditation, but for others it was the other way around: they first discovered yoga and then they wanted to learn more about meditation.
One lends itself to the other very easily when a person becomes serious about this aspect of their lives.
So don't discount the power of practicing yoga and meditation, because they easily go hand in hand. In fact, as meditation is a fundamental part of yoga, you will find that they work best together to improve all aspects of your life considerably.

Main Benefit Of Practicing Yoga Meditation Relaxation
Letting Go Of Stress

You can use yoga meditation so that you get most of the benefits. When you are learning to meditate, you will need to learn two important aspects: that of relaxation and concentration. By practicing yoga, you will find that it is much easier to relax and to concentrate when it comes to sitting down and meditating.
One of the most widely accepted benefits of yoga meditation is the fact that it is a well known stress reliever technique. Due to the combination of the slow poses along with the breathing exercises, it creates a great environment for you to relax. It is the perfect technique to let go of stress from within.

Please note though that every yoga type is well suited for relieving stress, however when you are looking specifically to use it in conjunction with meditation, the best poses are the ones that allow for slow, steady and gentle movements of stretching.
For meditation avoid using power yoga which is mostly focused on body fitness. This has its benefits elsewhere, but certainly not in meditation practices. For meditation you are certainly NOT required to learn poses such as depicted in the image here :-)
Look into Pranayama instead, a great breathing exercise that lends itself perfectly for meditation and stress relief.

The yoga breath meditation helps elminiate stress through a controlled set of breathing techniques (watching how you breath) that help calm the mind and relax the body.
After a while of practicing it, you will notice that your attention will start to automatically focus inwards, and it will be much easier to find that perfect balance in your life.
You will notice that your mind won't fight you any time you have a positive thought popping in. It will help you achieve a sense of balance and inner equilibrium.
In addition, the yoga meditation relaxation will help in improving the overall health of the body. Don't forget that yoga also means exercising, so you are in effect working your various parts of the body in tandem with your mind.


Here Are Additional Physical Benefits For Practicing Yoga And Meditation:

  • Lowers the blood pressure
  • Helps with losing weight in a slow and steady fashion
  • Improves the posture and the physical strength along with toning the muscles
  • Increases the lubrication of the tendons, ligaments and the joints in the body
  • Helps get an internal body massage by stimulating all the organs and glands
  • Helps improve the immune system
  • Helps with body detoxification
  • Helps with pain relief
All this can be achieved over time with a few minutes practice on a daily basis.



Suggested reading:

Light On Pranayama: The Yogic Art Of Breathing by B. K. S. Iyengar


"In this classic yoga best-seller a world-renowned yoga master shares the techniques of breathing together with a comprehensive background of yoga philosophy. B. K. S. Iyengar is a legend who has practiced yoga in a unique way, and today "Iyengar Yoga" is taught around the world by certified instructors."





Introduction to Yoga by Annie Besant


"This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare s finesse to Oscar Wilde s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library."


2 comments:

  1. Yoga to help increase the power of memory and concentration. Yoga can improve your vision and memory function also and it is refresh your mind very well. Yoga really improves our blood circulation.


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  2. I really love these techniques & meditation benefits. Actually inspiring!

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