Meditation and Yoga is like Human and Heart. Yoga vs. Meditation is a ridiculous concept, as they are one and the same. They are inseparable and necessary to complete each other. So yes, yoga does include meditation; actually, yoga is meditation with an option to add poses. I’ve heard the question, what poses are yoga meditation poses? Meditation needs to occur in all yoga poses, otherwise they are not yoga poses. So maybe we should just keep the words yoga meditation together. Although when focusing solely on meditation, the meditation yoga pose of choice is a comfortable seated pose of one's choosing, where one can sit with a tall spine, soft shoulders (tension-free) and closed eyes (to minimize distractions). This seated pose is recommended but not obligatory.
We will not heal relationships and solve problems with loose hamstrings, yet we will with the benevolent qualities of our mind. This includes the relationship we have with ourselves. Yoga poses without meditation is like a body without a heart, basically it’s dead. So what is meditation, and how do we bring meditation and yoga poses together, so these poses become yoga poses? Meditation can be described many ways, and certainly the way I describe is not the only way. I describe meditation as mental fitness, and I describe mental fitness as developing the benevolent qualities of our mind. Benevolent qualities reduce stress, as opposed to malevolent qualities, which create stress. According to our medical communities, stress is the precursor to most all disease. So if wellness is the objective, meditation is all-important. Benevolent qualities are like muscles; when you use them, they develop, and when you don’t, they atrophy. So, mental fitness is using these benevolent qualities. How you do yoga meditation is a diverse subject, but we could start with focus and concentration. This means being a good listener. As one listens or observes something, including our body, within these poses (which is necessary for these poses to be healing, as we need to honor what we are feeling, which is why we are given feelings, to guide us), our mind quiets down. This quietness opens up a world of possibilities; this world is called yoga meditation! This is one answer to the question: How to do yoga meditation? Just pay attention. As you pay attention, your mind quiets, and a quiet mind is the opposite of a stressful mind. Yet paying attention, lessening thought distractions is difficult and a skill that can be developed. This is yoga meditation for beginners and remains yoga meditation as the practice matures. One simply continues developing this skill.
The benefits of yoga and meditation are diverse. How you meditate with yoga begins with focus and concentration. Yet from there, the modalities are many. Check out our "Meditation of Wisdom" or our "Meditation of Gratitude." From there, there is so much to explore.
Yet, circling back to keeping yoga poses a meditation in motion, remember, if these poses are not meditation, then they are not yoga, they are simply Eastern calisthenics. When they are meditation, they become healing, because you are tuned into the subtleties you are feeling.