Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yoga and Meditation -- Part 2

As I was writing Part 1 of Yoga and Meditation, I noticed that carried an article on meditation that same day (Thursday, October 8):
Meditation grows in popularity for both health and spiritual reasons

I was struck that the reasons given for practicing meditation are basically the same as the reasons for practicing yoga asanas (poses).   The second sentence, "Over the last few decades, meditation has evolved from a fringe practice to a mainstream stress-reduction technique that might be recommended by your family doctor"  could easily have been written with "yoga" replacing "meditation".

Both practices help to improve our physical and mental health and well-being.  Both are a practice of mindfulness and of staying in the present moment, and may develop into more of a spiritual practice over time.

People often choose to start either practice as a way to quickly feel better physically and/or mentally.    People may start a yoga practice to help with physical issues like achy backs or sore joints, and to develop strength and flexibility, as well as to reduce stress.   People may start a meditation practice because of emotional issues (that may lead to physical problems), and again, as a way to reduce stress.

I like what Carol Blotter says in the article about people beginning their practice of meditation (or of yoga) with the thought, “ ‘just give me something to do to make me feel better in this moment",  and over time it may change to, "Help me live my life with more honesty, clarity and openness from the heart."     She continues,  "Many people start with the motivation to ‘just fix this one thing right now,’ and, over time, it changes into an awareness of a spiritual nature.”

The sustained study and practice of either yoga or meditation will bring us greater knowledge of our own true nature and of our relationship to the world around us.

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