Benefits of Practicing Meditation and Yoga Together
Yoga is a wonderful tool for meditation. Many people who want to practice yoga and meditation find they don’t have time for both. Yoga classes already require that you go out of your way, and you probably have a hard time squeezing some meditation into your busy schedule. But have you considered doing both at the same time?
Yoga is very conducive for meditation as it’s essentially a breathing exercise. Sure, yogic practice comes with many different and difficult poses, but at the end of the day, yoga is about breathing, and focusing on your breathing is one of the most basic meditation techniques in almost any tradition.
Home or gym?
A yoga class at a gym is probably not the best place for meditation. If you can manage to meditate while in class, then great! Keep doing what you’re doing. Most of us find it hard to meditate with so many other people around, and with the possibility for the instructor interrupting you to come over and make corrections to your poses.
If you like attending yoga classes but want to find a way to meditate, consider taking your practice home once in a while. If you have the routine memorized, find a spacious room in your home where you can be alone. By all means keep attending class if you really enjoy it, but stay at home once or twice a week to get your meditation time as well.
If you’ve never attended a yoga class and don’t really want to, simply find a routine you like online. Follow along with it for the first few times until you’ve committed it to memory, then you can carry on your practice by yourself while meditating.
Doing yoga alone provides you with the necessary silence and solitude needed for meditation. It lets you work at your own pace, not having to follow along or keep up with someone else’s movements. Best of all, it allows you to focus entirely on your breathing and the movement of your body. Focusing on these two things will allow you to enter deeper meditative states.
When doing yoga at home, try not to worry too much about doing the poses perfectly or even about pushing yourself. Of course you want to make sure you’re attempting the poses correctly, as doing certain poses wrong could result in injury. Nevertheless, most practices allow for variation, offering easier versions of advanced poses for beginners.
Don’t push yourself
If you’re not quite at an advanced level, go only as far as is comfortable for you. If you’re trying to meditate, then worrying too much about pushing yourself and doing things perfectly is only going to distract your mind. Instead, focus on your movements. Be mindful of how it feels to be in certain poses, and time your movements with your breaths.
Before long you should find that you’ve established a deep, relaxing flow between your body and your mind. Your movements will seem more fluid and your mind will become completely still. Do this often enough and you’ll find yourself reaching deeper and deeper meditative states.
If you respect your practice, then you should be able to reap the rewards of regular yoga and meditation in your everyday life. You’ll likely find yourself less stressed, better equipped to deal with problems, and much more patient.