Why should Yoga practitioners meditate? Meditation is one of the most essential features of yoga. In the modern age the practice of yoga training has become more divorced from meditation than in the past, but it still remains crucial to even the most elemental understanding of yogic science. With the widespread adaptation of yoga by modern audiences, some question whether meditation is necessary to appreciate what yogic methods to offer.
Yoga and meditation are connected as intimately as breathing and air. One does not perform one without the existence of the other. Meditation practitioners are always in some form of asana. That anyone can question whether meditation is necessary to perform yoga speaks to the general lack of understanding on both subjects.
Yoga practitioners meditate for a well-rounded practice. Whether it’s fast or slow, hot or cold; all forms of yogic methodology rely on the principles of meditation to exist. It’s true that yoga is a form of exercise as well, but yogic exercise is exercise at its most evolved level, which means that yogic exercise itself is a form of meditation.
Yoga meditation is consciousness in every action. When performing yogic exercise the mind is active along with the body. This takes shape in the form of counting breaths, holding poses and smoothly transitioning from one position to the next. All of this activity takes place with a deliberate mindfulness that is the essence of every yogic action.
Continuing along this theme, yogic meditation recognizes that while the body is active, and the mind is supervising this activity, there is much more that the mind can be doing. The addition of introspective thoughts and mantras more fully occupies the mind so that all energies being spent by the body are working toward one constructive purpose. That purpose is complete mindfulness in every action.
Once these concepts are realized it becomes easier to answer the question as to whether people who practice asanas should meditate or not. Meditation is not some strange concept that is divorced from the utility of yogic science; meditation is in fact the beginning and end of yogic methodology.
For those who are confused or disturbed by the concept of meditation, it may be useful to think of it in simpler terms. Yoga practitioners meditate as a means of mental concentration and self improvement that is essential to achieving awareness. The only real question about meditation in yoga is that of learning which practices enhance the power and efficiency of contemplation.
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