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Yoga and Meditation

Posted on June 27 2019

Yoga and Meditation with YogaPawsThe word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root "yuj," which means "to join" or "to yoke".    The practice of yoga makes the body strong and flexible.  Improving the functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and hormonal systems. As goes the old Roman saying, "A sound mind in a sound body" — the more fit one's heart is, the more one's brain seems to benefit.   Yoga is the perfect practice in preparing the body and mind for meditation.  The breath, however, is the bridge which links the body to the spirit.  The joining or "yoking" of these attributes is a recipe for something wonderful.  

There are many forms of yoga including Vinyasa/Flow, Ashtanga, Power Yoga, and Kundalini, just to name a few. Each style of yoga introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind. Some styles integrate meditation techniques more than others.  For example, if you have ever attended a yoga class that opened or closed with a beautiful meditative chant of "Oooooommmmmmmmmmmmm."  Om is considered the all-connecting sound of the universe — one word interpreted as having three sounds representing creation, preservation, and destruction.

Yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar devotes nearly two pages in his book, Light on Yoga, to the various meanings of aum. "The letter A symbolizes the conscious or waking state," Iyengar says, "the letter U the dream state, and the letter M the dreamless sleep state of the mind and spirit." The entire symbol, Iyengar says, stands for the"realization of man's divinity within himself."   This verbal meditation is called Mantra Meditation.

Chanting of sacred sounds has always been a delightful way to focus the mind. This type of meditation is very powerful and effective because of the vibratory effects of their sounds. Sound is produced when the vibration strikes the eardrum and is carried to the brain. This explains that sound is vibration. Specific vibrations can stimulate the endocrine system, specifically the pituitary gland (master gland), and pineal gland located in the head.

Mantra Meditation is a large part of Kundalini yoga.  Strategic movements, linked with breath, and mantra meditation are practiced with a specific purpose to heal, strengthen, and release. Connecting the Spirit, Body and Mind while bringing them into balance. It provides a means to clear the subconscious daily so that we may act from the center of our being throughout the day. 

“All sickness, all shallowness, all pain, all miseries are the outcome of one source: keeping negativity within yourself” - Yogi Bhajan

Chakra Meditation works with the Chakras. The Chakras are visualized as a spiral energy vortex. There are many Chakras all over the body, but the most known are seven.  Each Chakra is associated with a color and different characteristics. The meditation is guided, and it is done by focusing the mind on these energy vortexes and their qualities. 

Bhujangasana, or Cobra Pose, This posture, a true classic in Yoga, and is indicated for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Chakras. It improves posture, strengthens the spine while helping it to be more flexible. Circulation is improved from the additional blood flow through the vertebrae. It is also good for the heart. 

The Buddhist form of meditation, also known as Mindfulness Meditation, bases its principals on keeping the mind fully focused in the present. Not the past, not the future, just present; here and now.

Many people become sold on a quick fix.  We want to sit down for a good meditation session, magically know just "how" to do it, reach enlightenment, self-realization, and liberation all in time for lunch.    My experience with yoga, meditation, and all good things in life, is it does not work this way. But that does not mean you can't start feeling better right away with meditation and yoga.

Meditation is different for every person, with a common goal of awareness, understand, and peace. This is the common thread with meditation and yoga.  By focusing the mind, using the breath as a bridge, and releasing tension, you find your peace.  Whether you are releasing tension in the mind through meditation, or through the body with yoga, the common goal of the two is to find peace and just feel good.  You have all of your own answers.  The more tension (stress, fear, judgment) you release over time, the more you replace the tension with self-love, the better you can hear your own inner voice and intuition. 

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Meditation is a means to enhanced consciousness. The ultimate goal of meditation is, accordingly, to attain the highest level of consciousness possible to one. This summum bonum (highest good) is generally understood as threefold, although the three aspects are ultimately one and the same event, which may be called ‘realization.'

The first aspect is ‘enlightenment,' which may be defined as the overcoming of all personal ignorance, illusion or delusion, in the broadest sense. It is a maximal, all-inclusive consciousness; the widest and deepest potential for knowledge (including information and understanding).  

The second aspect is ‘liberation,' which may be defined as the overcoming of all personal weaknesses, difficulties or obstructions, in the broadest sense. Thus, enlightenment relates to cognition, while liberation concerns volition. Granting they are possible achievements, they necessarily come together and not apart, with liberation as a necessary adjunct of enlightenment. Knowledge is freedom. 

In closing, the next time you end your yoga practice, even if its just a few sun salutation on your living room floor wearing YogaPaws, finish by sitting upright in a chair or on the floor.   Eyes closed, take a few deep breaths in the nose and out the mouth.  Signaling your body to relax. Be right behind your eyes in a meditative state. Allow your personal power to build within you and confront an area within yourself or externally that has been causing you quite distress. Now forgive yourself and anyone else involved. Finally, ask your intuition for an action or solution in order to relieve this distress that is within you for your best and highest purpose. You will be amazed at how much better you feel! ENJOY !!


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