Yoga and meditation are completely interconnected. Yoga is an ancient physical mental and spiritual discipline that aims to transform the mind and body. It is believed to ultimately lead to moksha or nirvana (liberation or emancipation). Meanwhile, meditation is a part of yoga, that is, it is one of eight limbs. The eight limbs being:
- Yamas (Don’ts or Restraints)
- Niyamas (Do’s or Observances)
- Asanas (Exercises and poses)
- Pranayamas (Breathing exercises and techniques)
- Pratyahara (Control of the senses)
- Dharana (Concentration)
- Dhyana (Meditation)
- Samadhi (A super conscious state).
Practicing meditation (Dhyana), combined with breathing exercises and techniques (Pranayamas), helps you quiet your racing mind and achieve calm and serenity, thus helping you to see things in a clearer light. There are four benefits that meditation practitioners can derive from doing yoga:
You will sit for a period of time when meditating – it can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as over an hour. Yoga makes you more flexible, and this helps your body feel more relaxed and comfortable even when inert for an extended period of time.
You will have more energy to expend for your meditation after doing yoga. It gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing, giving you the energy to practice your meditation even if you just clocked out of the office and you’d rather order dinner and sit in front of the television to relax and unwind.
The first phase in your journey to mindfulness is said to be the awareness of the body. You can achieve awareness only by having an open-minded attitude and positive state of mind. Yoga creates awareness of what is happening at the moment. It lets you recognise thoughts at their basic level, before they succeed in grabbing and taking control of your emotions. Awareness is a powerful skill that is only learnt by taking a journey into yourself. You can’t learn it attending a university; but you can learn it through yoga.
Reduced Stress and Increased Peace of Mind
When you practice yoga you develop a more profound awareness of your body, including the muscles and joints. It grounds you, leaving you with a calm state of mind. This, in turn, allows you to better control your emotions, leaving you feeling relaxed. After doing yoga, you will notice greater emotional buoyancy as well as mental clarity and serenity.
It is not easy to get right into meditation and achieve great results. But with the help of yoga you are one step closer to achieving the ultimate aim of meditation, which is a higher level of awareness of yourself and the world around you.