The Connection Between Yoga and Meditation

Meditation is a necessity in our multifaceted lives, and yet it doesn’t come easily for most people. People want to try it, but they find it is more difficult than they ever imagined. How hard can it be?! Sitting up straight takes muscles that that we may not use, and that may take time to develop. Maybe we sit at a desk all day long, but our back is hunched over the computer. Sitting up straight and still may feel quite uncomfortable.

Yoga postures are a great way to prepare the body for meditation. Yoga is not only rejuvenating for the body but also the brain. Yoga postures were actually designed to systematically prepare the body to meditate, though with much of the yoga available nowadays, the link to meditation is rarely mentioned.

In Ananda Yoga for Higher Awareness, we teach yoga to prepare for meditation. All of the asanas are designed in a routine to help direct the energy into the spine, to be magnetically directed upward to the brain to awaken and lift our consciousness.

Yogananda said that getting into and out of a pose is as important as being in the pose itself. For example, in Ananda Yoga, when we raise our arms, we inhale. When we lower our arms to our sides, we exhale. We can move our arms up and down, in a graceful manner in cooperation with the breath, or we can lift the arms quickly and let them just drop, without connecting to the breath. We can flop down on a couch, or sit gracefully with ease and control.

When we begin to slow our breath and begin to sync it with our movement, we become calm. Then, we become closer to single minded purpose. By slowing down, we begin to accomplish more and we keep our attention in the present moment. This also helps to strengthen our body, as well as awareness, to prepare for meditation.

Meditation and yoga are interrelated. They are both part of the Eight Limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. They go hand and hand. They work together to unite our small self with our higher soul self. One cannot be present without the other. We need to be aware of the body in order to forget about it, in order to go inward in meditation.

Where the breath flows, the mind goes. In yoga and in meditation, we can raise our consciousness. Yoga helps us to bring the body to a point of stillness by clearing away the restless energy we carry around, and prepares us to become fully immersed in deep concentration, meditation. Yoga, like chanting, can help open our hearts and allow the energy to flow upward, to the higher chakras and higher consciousness.

“Be ever restful in your heart. A quiet spirit will help you instantly to resolve problems that might otherwise require days, weeks, or even months of fretful pondering.”— Swami Kriyananda

You can learn to meditate at The Expanding Light, by booking a stay with us, taking personal retreat or taking Learn How to Meditate. If you are a meditator, come join us for Meditation Teacher Training in the summer or fall of 2016. 

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Comments:

  1. Audra says:

    What’s up, I log on to your blogs regularly. Your humoristic
    style is witty, keep up the good work!

  2. Ana B. says:

    Our postures are very damaged from the sedentary life most of us are leading and sometimes it is very hard to begin any type of physical activity because we are simply not used to it. Yoga is very natural and we don’t have to go to yoga retreats to start practicing. We can make a preparation in our homes just like you said and then travel somewhere to perfect our knowledge.
    The entire flow is important and the transition between the poses should be immaculate as well, like you have pointed out in the text.
    All in all, yoga is a great way to calm ourselves and then start exploring meditation.

  3. Veena Grover RYT says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts and spiritual ideas.Saturday morning,I have 80 minutes class,we stretch for warm up,practice few asanas,Savasana and meditation.Some students use bolsters,to sit on the edge of bolsters,so they don’t collapse or sink down.They leave the class with gratification to Ananda Yoga.Thanks

  4. Mary gist says:

    I would love be to takes meditation teacher training. Can you send me more info.

  5. Shayna says:

    Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and informative. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly. You can find related info here: http://www.shaynahiller.com/events/tantrayogaflowretreat

  6. Thanks Annapurna Lacour for sharing your wisdom.Yoga and meditation are interrelated.Breath is the main source which keeps us calm and peaceful.When the breath flows mind gets calmer and inner peace adds calmness and everything feels great.Moving the areas gracefully release the stress.Thanks and Blessings.

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  9. Zulfiqar says:

    Yes meditation is the best way to keep oneself calm and prosper.

  10. anil shah says:

    Thanks for explaining your thought so nicely that help me a lot. I am very much inspired by your thought hope I will follow yoga and meditation practice.

    • Annapurna says:

      Dear Anil,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I hope you will also continue to follow yoga and meditation, for it has changed my life. It can change yours, too. Do you live near and Ananda center or community? It is very helpful to have a center or group of like minds to connect with and meditate.

      Many Blessings,
      Annapurna

  11. Don’t know much about yoga and meditation as I started practicing it from the last two months. All I experienced is, in both yoga and meditation one needs to work on posture only then one gets good result. I love practicing yoga and am happy to learn more and more about this.

    • Annapurna LaCour says:

      Dear Friend,

      Working on the mechanics of a pose is important so that once one has the structure and ability to hold a pose, correctly, one can then relax into it and enjoy the benefits of the inner experience. I hope you will continue to study both yoga and meditation. Yoga can help one to find stillness to explore more of the inner life, in meditation.
      Joy to you!
      Annapurna

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