The science of yoga, meditation and mindful practices has their origin dating back to centuries. In its diverse forms, all the three traditional practices reward mankind with mystical physical, mental, and spiritual transformations. And, together they create utmost possibilities of healing on all layers of being.
Connection Of Yoga with Meditation and Mindfulness:
● Mindfulness is the practice of being connected with the ‘now’ and of enjoying the present moment with absolute bliss. Through the practice of yoga and meditation, the practitioners can develop mindfulness. In this way, mindfulness becomes a means of experiencing psychological benefits of meditation and yoga as well as working with the body and mind.
● Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an approach to teaching the sadhaks the mind-body awareness and internal growth, which can be effectively achieved through the practice of meditation and yoga poses. The attention to breath and body sensations during the performance of meditation and yoga asanas help in cultivating a stronger connection between body and mind.
● As you practice Hatha yoga and sit for longer durations in meditation, you create a body that becomes a means for higher potential and mindfulness. When you are able to sit comfortably in meditation and hold the postures using your own body weight, you experience restfulness, fosters greater wisdom, and wholeness leading you towards mindful living.
● The combined practice of yoga and Vipassana meditation directs the individual towards the same goal – liberation from internal and external suffering. Firstly, practice asanas synchronized with breathing to open the body and to balance the internal energies. Then, delve into the practice of Vipassana meditation to indulge in self-observation for self-transformation.
● The word Yoga is derived from Sanskrit term “Yuj” meaning union. And, meditation is the science of resting the body and mind in a tranquilized state. When the body-mind is rejuvenated, you feel union.
● Due to an inactive lifestyle, the body becomes stiff and sitting in meditation becomes a challenge. The moving of the body during yoga poses help in releasing knots and stiff muscles thus enhancing flexibility and allowing you to sit comfortably for meditation practices.
● The style of Ashtanga Yoga is considered a moving meditation because of the systematic performance of sequenced yoga poses connected with the breath conferring you with incredible body-mind benefits.
How to Practice Mindfulness While Practicing the Science of Yoga
● During the practice of any yoga style, it is imperative to perform the yoga asanas with attention to the alignment. Correct alignment is important for delving into the depth of the pose, for safe entry and exit of the pose, and for reaping most out of the practiced pose.
● On a yoga mat, implement the first Yama of Ahimsa. Be kind to your body and respect your body limitations. Approach the pose with mindfulness and non-violence. Become aware of the sensations and release the pose if you feel uncomfortable. This helps in developing heightened awareness about the whole body.
● Another way to practice yoga asana mindfully is to notice the sensations of the body during the practice and developing a mindful attitude towards it. Do not let the thoughts agitate you, instead focus on breathing and perform the pose in its full expression. By doing this, you bring your attention to the present moment that makes you feel better.
● As you start to practice the yoga techniques with mindfulness, you learn to notice the subtle sensations in the hands as they move. Expanding and contracting the breaths. Moving your attention to the bandhas. Slowly and naturally you develop the habit of noticing the tiny moments of the life, which is the practice of mindfulness and yoga.
Here are some of the Pre-meditation yoga poses that you can practice for preparing the body-mind for meditation:
1. Child Pose (Balasana): Sit with your hips touching the heels, spread your knees, and fold forward bringing your arms in front. The characteristic and the final shape of the pose helps you focus inward, the goal of meditation.
2. Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend Pose: Sit straight and open your legs. With every exhalation, fold forward and rest the hands on the ground. This yoga posture stretches the backs and insides of the legs, lumbar spine, and groin, which is great for meditation.
3. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana): Stand straight and bend forward with an exhalation. Rest the palms on the floor next to the feet. The pose releases tightness in the hamstrings and spine making it easier for you to sit.
Practice Savasana Meditation:
● Lie on the floor on your back in a straight position
● Close your eyes and relax your body
● Start to take deep breaths
● Keep your focus on the breathing whenever a thought occurs to your mind, as you do in meditation
● Become aware of the surroundings and feelings, breathe to come into the present moment
● Stay in Savasana Meditation for 5 minutes.
By combining yoga with meditation and mindfulness, cultivate an integrative approach to lifestyle and behavior as well as pure form of wellness.