Posted on May 11 2021
When most people think of the word meditation, it’s often associated with images of monks in Thailand sitting in a circle and chanting. However, meditation is so much more than that.
So, let’s start with the basics. What exactly is mediation? Meditation is defined as “a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention”. In other words, meditation is the practice of focusing your mind on the present moment to help you achieve a relaxed state of being.
One of the most traditional and well-known ways to practice meditation is by sitting in a quiet space, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. For inspiration on how to create a home meditation practice, check out YogaPaws feature in the article “How to Create the Perfect Space at Home to Succeed at Meditation: Advice from the Experts”
However, there are many other ways to cultivate a mediation practice – and one of those ways includes doing yoga! In yoga, a series of physical movements called “asanas” are performed along with controlled breathing techniques to create a mind-body connection. Because the poses in yoga often require concentration for balance and strength for more difficult holding postures, yogis are encouraged to focus less on what’s going on in the world off their mat and focus more on their breath and the movement at hand.
This - in and of itself - is the basis for meditation! When you are flowing from one movement to the next, yoga helps keep your mind focused on the present moment to help free yourself from outside distractions such as your daily tasks, to-do lists, or anything not happening at the moment.
There is so much happening in the world around us these days – work, distractions, technology, notifications, etc. Our minds are often running at a million miles per hour to try and keep up. However, our brains are not computers. We are physically not built to always be “on”. This is a huge part of why so many people experience such high levels of stress. Yoga is a great way to help train your mind to focus on the present moment, and in turn, release stress and give yourself the opportunity to feel more joy!
Meditation is actually the 7th limb of the 8 limbs of yoga, Dhyana. It comes from the Sanskrit word dhyai, which means “to think of”. Dhyana is described as meditating on a point of focus and deep concentration, used as an instrument of self-knowledge. While the physical movements are one part of yoga, meditation is a huge part of the deeper meaning of yoga as a whole!
Yoga is so much more than just making some cool shapes on a mat to get flexible or gain muscle. Yoga is a multi-faceted practice and can absolutely be a form of “moving meditation”. Next time you step onto your mat, try to clear your mind of outside distraction and fully allow yourself to focus on your breath and be in the present moment!
Stephanie Morgyn is a certified holistic health & mindfulness coach, wellness blogger, RYT 200-hour yoga instructor, meditation facilitator, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur from Chicago. Her goal is to help women find calm and positivity in their hectic lives, cultivate mindfulness and live with passion, authenticity & purpose. Visit her website at www.StephanieMorgyn.com for information on her upcoming mindfulness courses, blogs, and more!