“With yoga, not only your body should be become flexible – your mind and emotions, and above all your consciousness should become flexible.” ~ Sadhguru
In today’s Western world the philosophy of yoga seems to be a bit limiting; describing a specific type of exercise and even considered a bona fide “workout” to fitness trainers and instructors. To the ancients however, yoga was created to unite a sacred spirit-body connection. Fitness was not their goal, but a direct connection with Brahman, the God-like spirit within us.
My yoga practice began in 2000 after a running injury that left me unable to walk for days. A friend asked if I ever tried yoga, and all I remember was doing headstands and handstands with my Dad when I was a little girl. I had no knowledge of yoga but was ready to try anything to alleviate my painful runner’s knee.
I began printing out photos of various Ashtanga yoga poses online and started out with a few, fairly easy asanas. Within weeks I was able to start running again—stronger than ever. My agility, balance and stamina improved greatly and I owed it to my daily asana practice.
What I later realized was that my continuous yoga practice didn’t just heal me physically. As I continued to deepen my practice I found that with each breath I was reaching a higher meditative state.
Instead of trying to escape or distract ourselves, one can allow yoga and meditation to teach us to simply be here now; being present with our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I was no longer distracted by my physical ailments but attained stillness with each movement.
Here are some ways in which one can bring meditation into their yoga practice:
Breathe. In both yoga and meditation, the focus on breath is an integral part of mindfulness. Breathing mindfully helps bring focus into the present moment, and is important regardless of your yoga or meditation practice.
Know Your Truth. My desire to achieve enlightenment became an ego-driven, neverending cycle. As Sadhguru states, “In yoga, you never chase an experience – you only prepare for it.” Indeed. Preparation is key.
The journey of yoga and/or meditation is one’s own and should be honored as such. Each one of us has the knowledge and power to concentrate on anything we choose. There are various forms of meditation and yoga, and by realizing one’s truth will the path to enlightenment appear.
Devote time. In a previous post I discuss ways in which we can keep time on our side, one of which is devoting time to sitting. Mastering the observation of the mind and not allowing it to consume the Being can ultimately be a catalyst in bringing meditation into any yoga practice.
Now it’s your turn. Have you found meditation helpful in your yoga practice, or vice versa?
About Michelle Cruz Rosado
Michelle Cruz Rosado is a professional speaker and bestselling co-author of "Pursuing Your Destiny: How to Overcome Adversity and Achieve Your Dreams." Follow Michelle for inspiring messages and quotes.