Yoga as Meditation
Something happens during a yoga class that is different from going to a gym or taking a nap (two activities that students will often try comparing with yoga).
I’ve already mentioned that the nature of coming into yoga poses, moving with breath, staying with the yoga poses for extended periods of time followed by a deep relaxation creates a type of whole body meditation. While many forms of meditation encourage a complete stillness of the physical body in a “lotus” sitting pose, yogic meditation can happen within each pose. So that you may experience a profound meditative state while in the head stand or the tree!
In yoga, there is a sort of moving meditation happening, different even from a walking meditation where you coordinate each breath with each step. During a yoga session you are moving through many different meditative poses strung together.
And I’m not referring to the popular “flow yoga” techniques either. You are not just moving through a yoga choreography. Instead, you might decide to rest during a sequence or hold certain poses longer than others. You are reading your own body, you are being guided not only by the yoga teacher or yoga DVD but by your own breath.