Yoga Meditation Techniques — More Than Just An Exercise

The popularity of so many different yoga meditation techniques has prompted some to question whether they are simply an exercise routine or something more. Most people I have met who practice yoga have sought to emphasize the exercise and weight control benefits, while placing far less emphasis on pursuing its meditative and spiritual development aspects. I’ve found this probably reflects our culture to a large extent. Kind of like saying that you want to learn patience, but you want to learn it in the next five minutes.  A recent interview with yogi Mamta Arora at Health.India.Com highlighted what I believe to be yoga’s true purpose.

Yoga Meditation Techniques — More Than Just An Exercise

Yoga has become very popular in the last ten years or so with stars from Bollywood and Hollywood endorsing it. It has suddenly

become the new trendy exercise in town. So is it merely an exercise regime or a way of life? To find answers to these questions we called upon Mamta Arora, Yoga Sadhak and instructor, who runs the Yoga Blessing studio.  Excerpts from the interview:

Yoga’s become a fad these days with the classes mushrooming everywhere particularly with Bollywood popularizing it. Many Yogis offer miracle cures for chronic ailments and fast weight loss. How do people differentiate the good yoga classes from the bad ones? What should they adopt?

Mamta Arora: Yoga as a discourse has its roots in the ancient texts like the Vedas and the Upanishads. Not only has it has been extensively written about by learned sages and gurus, it also features prominently within the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita revolves around the principles of karma yoga, jnana yoga and bhakti yoga.

The Bollywood fuelled trends prevalent today (such as hot yoga and power yoga) do not make an appearance anywhere in these texts. Combining yoga with other forms of exercises is resulting yoga losing its roots. While it is true that yoga does enhance physical fitness, the benefits of yoga transcend physical benefits. It rejuvenates the mind, body and soul.

Should yoga be treated only as a form of exercise in order to lose weight? What are the other benefits of yoga?

Mamta Arora: No. While yoga is indeed a very rewarding form of exercise, it is not just exercise. It is a way of life. When a person practices yoga, he or she embarks upon a journey into a world of self-discovery and spiritual growth and experiences both physical and mental changes over time. Yoga harmonizes thought, action and speech. It is based on 5 holistic principles:

yoga meditation techniques

Yoga meditation techniques promote spiritual development as well as physical well being. Photo by Dev Masselink c/o Photos.Com.

–  Proper exercise

–  Proper breathing

–  Proper diet

–  Proper relaxation

–  Positive thinking and meditation

It is this umbrella approach of yoga that differentiates it from solely physically-oriented pursuits such as aerobics or weight training. Thus, yoga is a strict and holistic discipline that has no shortcuts.  Physical exercise focuses on the health of body, but yoga focuses on the health of mind, body and spiritual growth. Furthermore, physical exercises don’t have the cleansing power that yoga does.  With the help of kriyas (internal cleansing techniques), yoga brings a sense of internal discipline and change. The superficial nature of pure physical exercise drawsprana out of the body while yoga draws in the prana within a person and contributes to spiritual growth.

Yoga has innumerable benefits that physical exercise does not. It leads a person from darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge and makes a person feel complete. It also increases productivity, improves immunity, enhances clarity and heightens self-awareness.

Read the original complete article here at health.india.com:

There are yoga meditation techniques that can be practiced to emphasize the physical aspects of yoga methods for exercise. Yoga meditation was intended to prepare the body for meditation and the path toward spiritual enlightenment and consciousness realization of the individual spirit.

What do you emphasize in your yoga routine? Is it something you practice to stay in shape or to lose weight, or is it something more for you? Why not leave a comment and share your experiences with us?

A lot of exercise is mindless; you can have music or the radio on and not be aware. But if you’re aware in anything you do – and it doesn’t have to be yoga – it changes you. Being present changes you.                                                              — Mariel Hemingway

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