Yoga and Theravada Meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Yoga and Theravada Meditation

Post by violetyoga » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:20 pm

Can yoga account as meditation? I mean active yoga that incorporates asanas. I practice Ashtanga and wanted to know whether a more "active" meditation is suitable vs seated.

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Re: Yoga and Theravada Meditation

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:19 pm

Hi violetyoga

Buddhist meditation is not restricted to sitting, and does include walking, in fact any task.

If Yoga (or Tai Chi, etc) moves are done with the aim of developing mindfulness and concentration, and to better understand the mind-body in terms of Dhamma, then they can be very helpful. It really depends on the motivation and the details.


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Re: Yoga and Theravada Meditation

Post by powerofconstancy » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:16 pm

I have both a regular ashtanga yoga and formal vipassana practice. I find the practices balance each other very nicely; the asana opens the energy channels, and also is a great practice in 'letting go,' since during a 90 minute - 120 minute practice, loads of mental 'stuff' comes up and you just let go back into the breath and the flow. I find that my sitting practice is much more productive when I've done asana directly beforehand as my whole mind-body is a bit more sattvic (to use yoga terms).

But I gather your question is more if can you do asana INSTEAD of meditation.

First, know that there's two kinds of meditation: samadhi/concentration and insight/mindfulness/vipassana/open awareness. In my experience, active asana practices are better understood as samadhi practices, they really are much too active to dive into subtler layers of mind that are key to insight meditation. Although, if you're early on your journey, asana may very well be what you need. Consider that in the yoga sutras, the eight limbed path lists asana as something separate from (and a precursor to) formal meditation.

Although, I suspect if you keep it up and if you have the drive, you'll eventually hit a point where you'll want to explore what lies beyond asana.

A good segway is a slower yoga asana practice like yin or restorative, which can be treated more like insight meditation; however, even shifting posture every 5-10 minutes doesn't allow for that depth of penetration that comes from longer sits.

Hope that helps.

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