Living in this fast-paced world could be tough and to cope up with it can be quite stressful and burdensome. You might surely have your own remedy to feel relieved but how about achieving peace of mind and a positive attitude to get going along with releasing your stress? Sounds interesting right? We are here to explain what Yoga vs meditation is and how you can effortlessly and simultaneously manage both of them by investing just a bit of your precious time in it. Let’s find out how:
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a holistic approach toward the ultimate healthy way of life. It connects your soul with a higher consciousness which helps you to understand yourself on a deeper level. It releases your day-to-day stress and makes your mind calm and composed which further helps you defy any obstacles with ease. A lot of people misinterpret Yoga as a way to attain physical balance through ardent exercises which is not really true. The truth about Yoga is beyond that. It not only helps you to attain physical fitness but also an emotional balance.
Benefits of Yoga
- Improves your body postures
- Strengthens your immune system and energy
- Reduces weight and stress
- Eliminates bad habits and negative thoughts
- Tunes in your circulatory, respiratory, and digestive system
- Helps you to build better relations with others and yourself
What is meditation?
Meditation is a part of Yoga which is a much broader concept. Imagine an ocean full of marine life and now think of the ocean water as Yoga and one species of marine life as meditation. The primary focus of meditation is to provide better self-realisation. It emphasises your mental health without having any physical movements. What’s so fascinating about meditation is that it provides all these positive impacts simply by requiring you to sit for a definite period. As it is a component of Yoga it is mostly performed after the Yoga asanas and it helps in bringing your body to a normal state by reducing the quivering effect after the performance of your Yoga asanas.
- Provides a deeper level of self-awareness
- Improves your attention and breathing system
- Helps you to relax and be inward looking
- Helps you to master your thought process to effectively learn about your own self
- Eliminates over thinking by providing relaxation to your mind
- Teaches you to focus on your present and let go of your past
Can meditation be replaced by Yoga?
A lot of people think that Yoga and meditation are the same. However, it is not the truth. In reality, both concepts are unique and have their own underlying features and benefits. Both concepts share similarities as well as differences. Yoga is a broader concept that has many sub-concepts in it and meditation is very part of this sub-concept. Let’s make it easier for you to understand this with an example: For you to make a perfect dumpling you need a lot of ingredients i.e salt, pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, etc. Now, do you think if you miss one of these ingredients (say: onion) the dumpling will be perfect? No right? Well, that’s how the relationship between Yoga and meditation is. Although there are a lot of similarities between them, one cannot replace the other or it will be like an onion replacing a perfect dumpling which doesn’t make any sense. So if you want to practise Yoga we would like to suggest you go for meditation as well to get the maximum of the benefits just like the taste of a perfect dumpling stuffed with all the necessary ingredients.
Similarities between Yoga and meditation
Meditation being a sub-category of Yoga obviously has a lot of similarities with both having the prime focus on the overall positive growth of the body, soul, and mind. Let’s guide you through some similarities between Yoga and meditation :
1. Increased level of concentration
When you perform Yoga and meditation you are required to put your focus on one thing at a time. Selecting a particular thought and focusing on it throughout your Yoga and meditation will increase your level of concentration. This will prevent your mind from wandering and save you from getting distracted to know your feelings and thoughts. Thus, it will make you aware of the way you are feeling.
2. Increased level of self-awareness
When you combine Yoga and meditation, you can get the mutual benefit of an improved level of self-awareness. You can focus on anything you particularly want to work on while performing Yoga meditation. If you want to intensify your level of self-awareness then focus on the things about yourself while meditating which will greatly help you to see yourself and change your behaviours and thoughts for the better.
3. Decreased level of stress
Yoga and meditation both work hand in hand to provide a calming effect in your mind which reduces your stress level. As we already mentioned that it increases your concentration which further increases your self-awareness, and this very awareness that is achieved through Yoga and meditation in turn allows you to identify the reason behind your stress and helps you to direct your thoughts towards positivity and eliminate the disorganised thoughts from your mind that is causing you to have stress.
4. Increased level of mindfulness
Both practices allow you to achieve deeper control over your mental process and enable you to actually live in the moment which fills you with mindfulness for the rest of your day especially if you are having a tough day. Thus, both Yoga and meditation together provide you with an ample amount of awareness of what’s going on in the present moment and let you observe your thoughts and emotions without any judgement.
5. Increased level of quality sleep
Yoga and meditation help you to experience better sleep and provide mental peace and stability. It reduces stress that can cause insomnia which affects your physical and emotional health.
6. Decreased level of risk relating to heart disease
It is quite interesting how Yoga and meditation work together to keep your heart healthy. They both contribute to a lower risk of heart disease, reduction of heart rate, and the improvement of blood circulation. It helps you to reduce stress and anxiety which lowers blood pressure and harmful hormones.
Yoga vs meditation – The differences
While Yoga and meditation share various similarities, they are also distinct from each other in terms of goals and motivation and the effect of benefits they yield. We have made an attempt to highlight a few of the differences for you to have a look at so you can decide for yourself which one you would want to go for:
1. Varies in terms of physical and mental fitness
Yoga is a physically active practice that focuses on physical fitness while meditation is a mentally active practice that focuses on mental fitness. Yoga is beneficial for both internal and external stability but meditation mostly focuses on the internal part.
2. Varies in terms of flexibility
Yoga focuses on flexibility, posture, breathing, etc and meditation helps you to be focused and not get distracted by unessential thoughts and emotions.
3. Varies in terms of effect
Although Yoga contributes a great deal to your mental benefit, its effect is not as powerful as meditation.
4. Varies in terms of physical movement
Yoga involves physical movement not only to keep your body fit through exercises but also to maintain concentration, balance, and inner peace meditation on the other hand can be performed without having any physical movement at all. It’s all about relaxing your mind and connecting with your own self and the environment.
5. Varies in terms of comfort and health issues
Both concepts vary in the sense that some Yoga postures cannot be performed on an empty stomach due to which many people might not feel comfortable about practising Yoga or some postures may require you to push yourself out of your comfort zone which might not be possible for some people due to their health issues. Meditation on the other hand requires you to have a firm level of concentration which might not be possible for people suffering from physical or psychological reasons. Hence, people choose one as the alternative to the other as per their convenience.
7. Varies in terms of right strength and mind
Yoga and meditation both might be challenging at times. You might not have the flexibility, strength, or balance to perform Yoga or at times your mind might feel uneasy while performing meditation. What’s really important for you to overcome these challenges either while performing Yoga or meditation is the immense level of practice.
8. Varies in terms of goal
Both practices have their own benefits. So, before you choose between these two practices, be clear in your mind about what your end goal is. After you set your goal it solely depends upon you what you want to go for.
Combining Yoga and meditation
Now that you are aware of how Yoga and meditation can individually help you to strengthen the connection between your body and mind, let us also tell you that combining both these practices can help you achieve a higher level of benefit as they will simultaneously contribute towards improving your overall wellbeing and fitness. Combining Yoga and meditation is a great way of exercising and it can give you more powerful results as they have their own individual welfare. Assimilating a secure and authentic meditation into your Yoga practice will help you to intensify your Yoga practice which will make you more conscious and mindful of your movements and positions in Yoga, hence contributing a striking advantage to your overall performance.
Benefits of combining Yoga and meditation
Priscilla Caetano Guerra along with other research scholars cited in their research work called Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice that yogic meditation i.e the combination of Yoga and meditation improves the objective and subjective sleep quality of healthcare professionals. Below are some of the other important benefits that you can get by combining Yoga and meditation:
- Improves mindfulness
- Improves concentration
- Provides a better understanding of your emotional and physical health
- Provides calmness and relaxation
- Increases your consciousness about your body and mind
- Increases your awareness of your surrounding
- Reduces chronic pain issues
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate 10. Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
Tips to combine Yoga and meditation
As we have already mentioned that combining Yoga and meditation can give you better results but doing so can be a challenging task. So let’s make this task easy for you so you do not have to go through various articles just to get these simple tips:
- The first step is to understand the basics of both Yoga and meditation and to do so you must perform Yoga and meditation separately before combining them into one practice.
- The next step is to add a meditation session to your existing Yoga practice.
- You can combine Yoga and meditation by incorporating controlled breathing throughout your Yoga poses.
- You must focus more on the mindful meditation aspect of the practice.
- For the initial step stick with short a duration and then gradually increase the duration accordingly to your attention span.
- Divide the meditation into two or three parts as per your choice and then you can add the first half of it at the beginning of your practice, the second half in the middle, and the third part while ending your practice.
- Yoga and meditation are said to be found by archeologists and dated back to around 5,000 years ago.
- Yoga and meditation is one of the oldest physical disciplines in the world.
- Global statistics show that across 200 to 500 million people meditate.
- 36 million people in the US regularly practise Yoga.
- Meditation is the second most popular mind and body practice in the US.
- 72% of the Yoga practitioners are women.
- Meditation as a practice is thought to be around 2,600 years old.
- Male Yoga practitioners are known as ‘yogis’ and female Yoga practitioners are known as ‘yoginis’.
- The meditation market in the US is valued at $1.21 billion.
- In 2016 there were over 52,000 registered Yoga teachers.
- Yoga and meditation both help in slowing down the ageing process.
- Yoga classes used to be just for men, women were not invited until 1937.
- Yoga and meditation can help to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Yoga is considered to be one of the most successful products of globalisation.
- Many US airports are now introducing meditation rooms.
- Yoga practitioners used to use grass or animal skin as a mat for their postures.
- Disney was one of the first companies to introduce meditation at work.
- There are more than 100 styles of Yoga.
- Meditation can benefit children living with autism or ADHD.
- Yoga can benefit people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
- More than 14% of adults in the US have tried meditation at least once.
- Prisoners in India can reduce their sentence by getting top marks in a Yoga test.
- Many bibliologists believe there are references to meditation in the Bible.
- The longest recorded Yoga lesson lasted 56 hours.
- The first meditation hall was opened in Japan in 653 BCE.
- There are close to one billion #Yoga posts on Instagram.
- Yoga and meditation were embraced by the West during the 18th century.
- Actor Will Smith has built a meditation lounge in his home.
- George Harrison from The Beatles was a famous Yogi.
- Yoga and meditation are not religion but the science of wellbeing, youthfulness and the integration of body, mind and soul.
Can I do both meditation and Yoga together?
Of course, you can. In fact, pairing both practices together can give a kick start towards improving your overall well-being as the benefits of both practices will combine to give you a greater level of benefits.
Is performing meditation before a Yoga practice better?
Several studies say that performing meditation after Yoga is better. After the Yoga practice, your body is left with a shaking effect, and hence to make your body and mind stable meditation is really helpful as it gives a calming effect.
Is there any correct way for me to meditate after Yoga?
Meditation can be a flexible practice as you can choose your own way to meet your needs. If you are practising meditation after Yoga then focus more on guiding the mind to remain calm and try to eliminate all the negative thoughts.
Can Yoga be done without meditation?
A lot of people have made Yoga a daily part of their routine forgetting the fact that meditation is also a part of this very practice of Yoga. To gain all the positive benefits of Yoga it is necessary to practise meditation as well. Hence, it can be said that you are truly practising Yoga only when you are incorporating the practice of meditation into this routine.
How long should I meditate after practising Yoga?
If you are a beginner then start your practice with something small so as to remain consistent. Initially, you can just do your meditation for 3 to 5 minutes. Try to increase the meditation duration with each passing day of your practice. Thus, the process of gradually taking time will cultivate a meditation practice after which you will be able to effortlessly meditate for 20 to 30 minutes which is considered to be the basic duration of meditation.
Yoga and meditation are two unique concepts. Yoga focuses primarily on your physical health and meditation focuses on your mental health. Both of the concepts operate simultaneously to contribute to the overall growth of your body. It solely depends upon you whether you want to focus on the physical aspect of the mental aspect of your body. And if you can’t decide between the two you can work on the overall aspect by embracing the practice of both Yoga and meditation.