What Yoga really is

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Most Hatha Yoga practitioners in the West are very active physically with their asana practice

on the mat. However, many of us spend less time, if any at all, practicing the non-physical

aspects of yoga such as meditation and generally find it quite difficult to sit quietly without a

busy mind. Interestingly, busyness on the mat through asana can be an extension of the busy

mind remaining in a state of distraction – the opposite to a mind of non-distraction, stillness or

meditation. If, as Hatha “Yogi’s” we’re ever going to actually experience yoga, or union with the

divine, then isn’t it a pre-requisite to be able to sit quietly with steadiness and ease, both in the

body and in the mind?

So what really is meditation?

Ultimately, meditation is a mind state of stillness and non distraction free from busy thinking,

emotional attachments and aversions. It’s when the mind remains

still in the present moment, in a state of “nowness”, present and unaltered. Many of us are

challenged to remain in a mind state of stillness and non distraction because we’re distracted

with too much thinking, stimulus seeking via the five senses and our personal attachments and

aversions that are driven with some type of emotion. As a result, we need a meditation method

to connect us to an inner sense of stillness.

So what meditation method can we employ to help us enter into a state of meditation?

A common method is to lightly and mindfully watch the breath.

Here, there are 3 important elements – Mindfulness, Awareness and Spaciously Abiding.

1. 25% of your attention is being mindful of the breath as you gently and naturally inhale and


2. 25% is an awareness that oversees that you are being mindful of the breath.

(Checking that your mind doesn’t lose itself in the rising of the thoughts, feelings, stories and


3. 50% spaciously abiding without a fixated or intense concentration.

This is a relaxed, comfortable, open, spacious, cognizant and alert awareness. We’re not

“spacing-out”. Once the thoughts settle, you don’t need the breath as the object of your practice.

This is when you are able to leave your mind in the present moment and in a state of non


When you’re in the state of nowness, in the present moment, you then experience more

“unaltered ness” and naturalness. You become centered and begin to perceive everything

properly. This is a sense of transcendence, pure, free, peaceful, grounded, loving, caring and

wise. Your perception becomes completely different. You then begin to experience what yoga

really is.

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