Yoga and meditation actually go together quite well. Many yoga poses are conducive to meditation. If you enjoy doing yoga and have a desire to combine it with a beautiful practice like meditation, you may do so anytime. A yoga meditation is best practiced when you can comfortably relax into the chosen position so that you are not distracted by tension.
In Sanskrit, the word yoga in essence means a union with the divine. The poses done in yoga were originally designed to help the practitioner gain control over their life force energy or chi. This energy might also be referred to as Kundalini or spiritual energy within the body.
When this energy rises up from the base of the spine – it heightens your awareness and expands your consciousness. With practice, you can combine the practice of yoga with meditation and as part of this process you will also be working to release the energy of the chakras, or the bodies own energetic force.
There are many styles and types of yoga to choose from. Most forms of yoga include some kind of breathing technique and some even include a kind of meditation technique. Some types of yoga focus purely on relaxation, while others focus on things like muscle toning, core strength, balance, and flexibility.
Yoga is not only good for strengthening the physical body; it also has a meditative benefit for the mind and spirit. Yoga can help ease away depression, anxiety, insomnia and pain and it can also help you increase the quality of your life.
The following poses are wonderful poses to do when combining yoga with meditation.
Find a quiet place in which to do this work. You can bring your yoga mat and anything else you need.
Standing Forward Bend
The forward bend is often done as part of the sun salutation sequence. Begin by standing in Tadasana, with your hands on your hips. Exhale and bend forward from your hips, as opposed to the waist. Make sure and keep your back flat. Inhale and move the body down, keeping your spine long as you fold forward over straight legs.
Try and focus on lengthening your torso as you move more fully into the position.
Bring your palms or your fingertips to the floor in front of or beside your feet.
With each inhale of breath, lift and lengthen the front torso slightly. As you exhale, try and release a little more fully into the forward bend.
Stay in this position and meditate on how you feel, stretching and bending the body. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute or as long as you would like. Don’t roll the spine to come up, but bring your hands back onto your hips and reaffirm the length of the front torso.
The tree pose is another wonderful exercise that can be combined with meditation. The tree pose is where you stand on one leg while raising your arms, and it requires a significant amount of muscle control. As you strive to balance on one leg, the muscles of your leg are strengthening and toning.
This pose also helps you gain a sense of balance, which is important for a healthy body. The tree pose helps improve your focus and concentration while helping you calm your mind and body while helping to stretch the thighs, the groins, the torso, and also the shoulders. It also builds strength in your ankles and calves, while toning the abdominal muscles.
Begin by standing with your arms at your side. Balance your weight evenly on both feet, while grounding and centering yourself to the earth. This pose is also known as the mountain pose.
Shift your weight to your left foot to begin. Bend you right knee and reach down to grab your inner right ankle. Use your hand to move your right foot so it rests on your inner left thigh.
Make sure and position your foot above or below the knee, not directly on it.
You can either rest your hands on your hips or press your palms together in a prayer position at your chest with your thumbs resting on the sternum. For an extra stretch, raise your arms above your head, while maintaining balance.
Fix your gaze on a point in front of you to help with your balance. You may hold the pose up to one minute – while meditating and reflecting.
Release the pose and return to mountain pose.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Yoga is not only good for stress relief it also helps burn fat and build lean muscle. Any yoga pose can be combined with a practice like meditation so use your imagination and stay in the poses as long as you feel comfortable. There is something magical about combining the practice of yoga with meditation and the more you practice, the easier it will get.