Did you know that the origins of yoga could be traced back to the BC era? Some even argue that its existence began way before that. Although it’s not considered as the oldest form of exercise — walking is — yoga is definitely an ancient practice that has survived eons, just like meditation did.
More often than not, these two go hand in hand. Linked by common goals and similar traditions, yoga and meditation both establish a stronger mind and body connection, harness energy or life force, and increase awareness and self-realisation. However, they’re not the same.
Yoga is basically a physical exercise of holding poses known as asanas while integrating breathing and most importantly, the mind. Meditation, on the other hand, is an inward examination. Often still and quiet, it’s all about training the mind to focus and achieve clarity.
Connection between Yoga and Meditation
Staying still during meditation is not as easy as it looks. Yoga, by stepping up flexibility and strength, can contribute to better meditation. And unlike common exercises such as walking or running where your mind can wander, yoga demands focus, balance and being in the moment. If you don’t, you can easily fall flat on your face literally!
Just the same, meditation can boost yoga. It is excellent in strengthening focus and the mind-and-body connection — qualities that are absolutely essential to yoga. To put it simply, yoga and meditation help each other out.
Now, here’s a technique that brings together the best of both worlds. Simple yet effective, yoga meditation quiets the mind, snaps your attention to the “now”, and develops focus.
To begin, prepare the object you’ll be focusing on. It could be as simple as a lighted candle or a dot on a blank sheet of paper.
You can sit cross-legged on the floor or on a chair. Choose whichever is the most comfortable for you and put the object in front of you.
Next, let your gaze fall on the object. Look at it softly and stay with it. While gazing at the object, breathe in and out gently, but deeply. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
After spending several minutes, you can choose to close your eyes if you want and shift your focus to your body, paying attention to the rise and fall of your chest and stomach.
Thoughts may come and go during meditation, but don’t give them power over you. If or when they come, just shift your attention back to the object and your breathing. Don’t let thoughts or your reaction to them distract you. Simply let go.