Yoga and meditation are two practices that are deeply connected to one another. Yoga is the practice of moving the body and practicing focused breathing. Meditation is the practice of focusing your mind. While the two can be practiced independent of one another, they are often practiced together.
There are many benefits to practicing yoga and meditation. These practices can help you focus, relax, relieve stress, and even become generally healthier. By doing the two together, you create a connection between your body and mind that can be powerful and exhilarating.
Not sure where to start? Put together by a yoga studio in Portland, Oregon, take a look at our beginner’s guide.
Whether you are attending a physical class, participating online, or are starting out on your own, one of the first things you need to know is that it may take some time for you to get the hang of meditating while practicing yoga. There is no timetable or rule book for mastering these practices. In fact, many yogis spend their entire lives working toward that perfect mind-body connection.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait a lifetime to get started.
How to Begin Meditating
A great way to get started with meditation is to focus your mind on the “here and now”. Be mindful of only what is happening in that moment. Don’t let your thoughts drift to the past or future, or even what’s happening outside your immediate environment. Instead, focus on something specific. Good options are focusing on your breathing, or place a lit candle in front of you and focus only on the flame.
It is totally normal for your mind to wander at first, and it will take some time for you to learn how to redirect your mind back to the present.
Tips for Getting Started
To get started with your meditation practice, consider these tips:
- Start with just a few minutes at a time. As you learn how to control and redirect your focus, you can increase the time.
- Use good posture. Sit on the floor or a chair, preferably cross-legged. Keep your back and neck as straight as possible. Relax your shoulders and arms.
- Each time you meditate, change which leg is crossed over the other.
- Focus on an object. To start honing your focus, it can help to focus on a single object, such as a candle. Or, you can even draw a black dot on a piece of paper and focus on the dot. You can also close your eyes and turn your focus toward the rhythm of your breathing.
- As you get more familiar with meditation, increase the amount of time you spend meditating by a few minutes.
Perhaps the most important tip for getting started with meditation is for you to remember that the goal of meditation is not to achieve a blank mind. Instead, it is about focusing your thoughts and energy on the here and now. If you are meditating while practicing yoga, you can focus your thoughts on your breathing, the way your body feels as you do different poses, etc.
The Yoga-Meditation Connection
Meditating is something that takes time to learn. It is also very beneficial, especially when combined with a yoga practice. By connecting your body and mind, you can relieve stress, relieve symptoms of many illnesses, and achieve an overall better state of mind and wellness.