Transcript of: How is yoga different from meditation?
Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. If you want to submit a question yourself and you want me to answer it on video, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion. Submit your own question and we’ll get it answered on video. This month’s question comes from Yoga Resort and it’s about how yoga is different from meditation.
This month’s question comes from Yoga Resort. I doubt that a yoga resort just submitted a question, so I guess they wanted to be anonymous. And it’s a big question. It’s a deep and thoughtful one. They ask, “How is yoga different from meditation? Mention some key points.”
Well, that’s as open-ended as it can get, don’t you think? When we say yoga, are we talking about the big picture of yoga? Do we mean the totality of yoga and all of its practices? Or, should I assume that this question is referring to asana practice? Asana practice is the practice of postures, of course. So, depending on which one of those two we’re talking about, I might provide a different answer here.
But, here’s what I’ll say. I’ll try to get as specific as I can for “Yoga Resort”, whoever that is out there submitting questions anonymously. I think the best way to look at it is that there is a whole series of practices under the big umbrella of yoga that all work together. In those terms, what I would say is based on my own experience, and in fact, even on some research that we’ve been doing lately here at yoganatomy.com. That is that how yoga is different from meditation depends on how you practice asana.
By how, I mean what are you focused on? Where is your attention? Where is your intention? Are your attention and intention focused on the sensations of your body, your breathing, and what’s going on in the present moment, as much as possible? I’m not saying 100% of the time. But if that’s where you keep redirecting yourself back to, what you’re cultivating are skills of concentration. And skills of concentration are the basis of deeper meditation.
Of course there’s a wide variety of types of meditation. That’s a whole world by itself. I’m speaking more from a Buddhist meditation point of view. Without getting too far into it, as I learned in my own practice, developing concentration was first. Learn to focus and concentrate your mind. That was not a huge leap for me, having done asana in a particular way for many years. And then when you move into meditation, that concentration becomes valuable to hold different states within meditation. There’s a whole realm of things that you could be, I dare say, “doing” in meditation, or allowing for. But either way, whatever type it is, holding the frame for whatever type of meditation you do requires concentration of mind.
So, I don’t know if that answered your question. I just said a bunch of stuff that I wanted to say around how yoga is different from meditation. So thanks for your question. Anybody else, if you’ve got a question and you want to answer it, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion.