a moving meditation

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Many students envision the “right” way to meditate as sitting silently, supported by a zafu meditation pillow, in a quiet serene space. The intention is to sit back, relax, and be present. While it is true that this form of meditation does exist there are also many other ways to meditate and all aspects of yoga lead to a meditative state.

Meditation is the process of bringing the mind into focus on one thought or idea, for an extended period of time. This involves letting go of some of the normal chatter (about 600 thoughts a minute) that we are all familiar with as we move through our busy lives. The ancient sage Patanjali defined yoga as “the cessation of the thought waves of the mind” in his classical text the Yoga Sutra. The process of watching the mind through meditation helps it to clear out the clutter and allows it to function more efficiently bringing a sense of calmness. When the mind is calm a feeling of peacefulness and balance radiates throughout the whole body.

Whether you are sitting still in Sukasana or moving through a vinyasa flow, each time you come to class you experience a meditative state. Think of your practice as having three phases. First, centering yourself, becoming still, quieting your mind by focusing it away from everyday concerns, signaling it to go within and settle down, and tuning into your breath. Second, listening inward and developing self-awareness of your state of being as you breathe slow and steady synchronizing each movement with your breath. As you try to take in each sensation and detail of the pose the experience heightens your senses to a more spiritual level. Third, the transition back into the world after the relaxation where you body further releases any hidden tensions in the body and mind leaving you with a feeling of mental clarity, radiance, and complete bliss.

So, if you think you are practicing yoga asanas without meditating, think again!

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