Meditation is at the centre of yoga practice. Not only sitting in meditation, also the meditative awareness while practicing asana. Without it yoga would be “unconscious”, and not yoga. Asana and pranayama practice was actually promoted by ancient yogi’s as a means to meditation as their ultimate goal.
Meditation, as mindfulness/awareness, and as a spiritual practice, can be thought of as the active ingredient of “becoming conscious”. The body and breath practices help stimulate the expansive, refined and focussed self awareness of meditation. The one area develops the other.
Meditation can be long and deep. It can also be short, sweet and easy.
Sharing these aspects of yoga is one of my big passions. I often remind people that it is not a religion, nor a vague “new age” idealism. Anyone can benefit bymaking meditation part of their life, regardless or race or creed, or occupation.
Meditation is oftentimes resisted by non-practitioners; a comment I often hear is “I can’t think of nothing” or my “my head is too busy to meditate”. This is a bit like saying “I’m too unfit to become fit” or “I am unfit so therefore I can’t get fit”. As a teacher I like to make every effort to make beginner meditation accessible. Of course in Zen there is an entire aspect called “Zen beginner’s mind”, which may mean that we are always a beginner. With no expectations, least of all expecting the mind to be magically clear of any thoughts. And every time we sit, we should sit as if for the first time.
How long, exactly should I meditate?
The answer is a Zen one… how long is a banana? I am not a huge fan of long meditations, although an hour or more a day is a wonderful habit. If you have the time and energy, just do it. A shorter meditation cannot be the same, but meditation can be short, sweet and easy. 2 minutes, 3, 5 or under 10. it all depends on your time – personally I promote regular, short, advanced meditations. The result of an ongoing yoga practice of a few minutes a day will lead to greater mindfulness through the day.
Meditation then becomes the active ingredient for greater awareness, and more effective “becoming of being”, paving and leading the way to greater consciousness. When you get into this great habit you will soon realise that meditation is not only the pinnacle of yoga. Meditation is also the highest expression of intelligence humans are capable of.
Also read my short blog Self-realisation and yoga part 2: Meditation.
2 Free Meditations
Wishing you many happy meditations,
Johann, Johann Kotze Music & Yoga,