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Vol-15 Ask Frank, Why does yoga help my meditations…

Q. I’ve recently begun practicing yoga before my first meditation of the day, and oh my word my body and mind already feel so relaxed by the time I’m laying down. It also relieves some of that tension in my body. This has made my sessions much easier and more fulfilling. Can you deepen my understanding of why this works so well.

Frank

The postures (asanas) are the exercise part of what you do that prepare the body for meditation (dhyana) and to be comfortable and still for an extended period. By doing the postures you begin to focus the mind on an activity rather than random thoughts, this takes you step closer to entering a meditative state. It helps you maintain an erect spine by strengthening muscles which helps to sit for long periods in meditation. It does another very important thing that is not often spoken of and that is to stimulate an awareness of the energy body. I believe this energy awareness/dimension adds a multiplying effect to mediation and this can be a part of what you are experiencing and not really aware of.

I am providing some historical information on the practice and history of Yoga here. It is greatly misunderstood in the west and generally thought of an exercise regimen. It is so much more than that. Many of the great spiritual traditions of the world embrace Patanjali’s yoga sutras. 

Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join the mind and body’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. 

 As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature. 

 Everything in the universe is just a manifestation emanating from one underlying causation, pure awareness, or Existence Consciousness. One who experiences this oneness with existence consciousness is said to be in yoga, and is termed as a yogi, having attained a state of freedom. Thus, the aim of Yoga is Self-realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to a state of liberation or freedom.

Yoga practices date back to 2700 B.C. The great Sage Maharshi Patanjali systematized and codified the then existing practices of Yoga, its meaning, and its related knowledge through his Yoga Sutras. After Patanjali, many Sages and Yoga Masters contributed greatly during the period between 500 BC – 800 A.D., to the preservation and development of the field through their well-documented practices and literature.

Yoga from my perspective is a beautiful technology that has developed over thousands of years and has brought peace, serenity, and awakened countless souls. It is a gift to humanity and combined with the teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads is a miracle in understanding the human condition.

There are many paths to enlightenment. Yoga leading to self-inquiry is only one way. Exercise before meditation of most any type will bring you to a better starting place in your meditation if you focus the mind on the activity you are engaged with. I am happy to see you have discovered something beautiful and now you have learned about the richness of its heritage. I encourage you to continue with your newfound practice but if you find you want to explore other things to keep your practice fresh you should feel free to do that also.


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