Meditation. Yoga. The two go together like Batman & Robin (though with less capes… usually).
As spiritual health practices that have both found popularity in the West over the past 50 years, we tend to lump yoga and meditation together. Whenever we read of one, the other usually isn’t far behind. And when we’re shopping for yoga pants it’s no surprise to see a meditation mala in the vicinity.
Yet despite the obvious correlation between yoga and meditation, there are still countless people who do one or the other and not both.
Yoga makes you better at meditation because it creates a relaxed body that is conducive to a relaxed mind. Not to mention, it also makes it far easier to get into lotus position without feeling like your legs are going to snap in two. And meditation makes us better at yoga in five key ways. Let’s take a look.
How meditation makes us better at yoga
1. Meditation helps us focus on asanas
When we’re practicing yoga, we are, of course, exercising the body. But we ought to be exercising the mind at the same time.
Every time we place the body in an asana (pose), we should be focusing on that pose. By focusing the mind on the body while in a pose, we experience the asana in full. Yoga asanas offer many mental health benefits, but in order to glean those benefits, we have to actually focus on what we are doing.
Sadly, many people don’t leave their thoughts and distractions at the yoga studio door. And so they are not able to focus on the yoga.
Meditation is well known to improve focus and concentration. And because of this, it makes it easier to focus the mind on the body when we enter a yoga pose. The result is complete mind-body immersion in the asana.
2. Meditation lowers oxygen consumption
One of the lesser-known benefits of meditation is that it changes the way the body uses oxygen.
Scientific research shows that meditation lowers oxygen consumption rate by 10%. This means that we are more able to control the breath during and after meditation. This is a game-changer for anyone who gets short of breath when practicing yoga. If that’s you, try meditating before doing yoga, and during your yoga session, take a few moments here and there to practice mindful breathing. This will help regulate the breath.
Not only does this help us practice yoga for longer, it also gives us more control of pranayama.
3. Meditation helps you to discover the philosophical aspects of yoga
While most yoga studios these days are more concerned with physical exercise than philosophy, historically yoga has been about both.
If you want to truly embrace the yogic lifestyle, you have to get in touch with the philosophical side. Meditation can help.
The yogic system itself includes many meditations, such as Trataka (Still Gazing), chakra meditations, mantras, and sound meditations (Nada Yoga). Not only do these meditation techniques help train the mind, they also prepare the mind-body for more advanced stages of yoga. After all, it’s hard to truly experience Pungu Mayurasana (Wounded Peacock Posture) while you’re worrying about that business meeting.
4. Get too sweaty doing hot yoga? Meditation will help
Anyone who practices Bikram (hot yoga) knows what it’s like to sweat a little too much. But meditation can change that.
We get sweaty when our body temperature rises. But meditation reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and this cools down the body and thereby reduces sweating.
So if you’re worried you might be a little hot, sweaty and, yes, smelly when you’re doing hot yoga, try meditating.
5. Meditation improves balance
Feel a little wobbly in Warrior III? Meditation will change that, at least according to one scientific study.
Ying Kee, PhD, and his colleagues at the Nanyang Technological University’s National Institute of Education took 32 men and split them into two groups. Kee made both groups stand on one leg while holding a basin of water. While they were doing this, Kee asked one group to be mindful of their hands, while the other group were allowed to think of anything they liked. Kee then tested the balance of members of both groups.
The results showed that being mindful of the body increases balance, where thinking about something other than what we’re doing will actually lower our balance.
So, if you want to stay in an asana for longer, be mindful of your body while you’re in the pose.
Anyone who is serious about getting better at yoga should embrace both the physical and the mental exercises. And of the latter, meditation is the most important.
By practicing meditation not only do we embrace more of the yogic lifestyle, we also prepare the mind for success in the yoga studio.
The benefits of meditation are significant, and they are invaluable when it comes to improving our yoga practice.
If you’ve been doing the physical side of yoga without practicing meditation, perhaps it’s time for that to change.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Paul Harrison, a meditation teacher based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He has 20 years of experience and has spent more than 2,000 hours meditating. He also works as a freelance journalist.
Meditation really makes us better. It will make our mind and body healthier. We all need meditation. Thanks for sharing this.
Meditation is necessary to make our mind thoughts and body balance while doing yoga. Thank you dear friend for sharing such a wonderful knowledge with us.
We at Yog4ly also belive in this. Meditation is a magical pill which not many know about or they don’t believe if they have heard about it.
Thanks for sharing. https://www.yog4lyf.com/post/meditation-for-stress-relief
I agree with this. Also, studies have revealed that both transcendent and mindful meditation practices improve the brain’s problem-solving and decision-making strategies, which can bring a desirable shift in our professional life.
100% true. Meditation relieves us from various health issues and helps to live a happy, healthy and stress free life. Yet another post here which describes about the health benefits of meditation which are scientifically proven.
Completely agree! Thank you for such a wonderful article. We have written a piece around how beginners can start meditating. https://chaykra.com/blogs/yoga-and-meditation/how-to-bring-meditation-into-your-life
Thanx for awesome tips of meditation.
Thanks for the post. So true. I always combine yoga and meditation, as for me also, they belong together and reinforce each other.
I found it hard to meditate in the past but since taking up Yoga I’ve found it easier and more relaxing. Great post.
Thanks for the post
You have an opportunity to immerse yourself entirely into an intense yogic experience 24/7. You don’t have to worry about work, family, basically your life, but devote this time to yourself and learning, practicing, and experiencing yoga.
Learn more: https://yogateachertraininggoa.com/500-hour-yoga-teacher-training-in-goa-india/
I’m confused about the oxygen part. How can our body take less oxygen if we meditate regularly?
Yoga and meditation is very important for daily life. Because it is a great way to come out of stressful life. You explained very well in this blog. Thanks for sharing such amazing stuff.
Some say that the most important asana in yoga is the Shavasana, corpse pose, which is basically a relaxation position at the end of the yoga practice. What they say is that you do all the physical yoga only to arrive at the moment when you can relax your body and mind, be and rest without being restless. So yes, yoga and meditation go well together, complement each other, and the essence of both is to be and connect to this moment, through the body, senses, and the breath..
Thank you for sharing the tips for yoga. I will really follow the tips for more tips, please Click here/a>
Definitely go hand in hand… Meditation is part of yoga, not a separate activity. What we tend to call yoga is in fact asana practice, which together with meditation, pranayama, etc. form part of the yoga system. But I also use the word yoga to describe an asana class, to make things simple, although always include breath work, meditation and sometimes some philosophy talk in my classes! Depending on who is attending.
Great article. This seems crucial to stay sane during this pandemic! I found this also works well, I hope it can help others https://bit.ly/2IFPEWv
I do agree with you 100%! Yoga and meditation are really important to maintain a healthy life. That’s why I am planning to do yoga while traveling. I am already brought a boss babe yoga bag for carrying my yoga things easily. By the way, I have pleased to read the stuff. Thanks and keep t up!
Very informative. Thanks for sharing. Do checkout “www.mantravibes.net” for live guided meditation. It combines 2 of the most effective techniques, guided meditation and mantra chant, to bring an active mind to stillness.
I have never felt so centered in my life. Yoga mixed with daily meditation has made my life what I always wanted it to be!!! I had been slacking and now picked up this program and its wonderful!!! You can thank me later, empower your spirit!!! http://bit.ly/3tIZOY6YogaBurnProgram
You can learn yoga in rishikesh with Ayurveda
Interesting! I really enjoyed reading your article. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing the tips for yoga.This seems crucial to stay sane during this pandemic!
Meditation and yoga complement each other in promoting physical and mental wellness. Practicing yoga creates a relaxed body, which sets the stage for a relaxed mind, making it easier to get into meditative positions.