Yoga is seriously cool, and it’s awesome to see it so popular nowadays. There are So. Many. Yoga. Classes! It’s great.
But yoga is not meditation.
Meditation is meditation.
Now, certainly some yoga classes and yoga teachers may be different, and may not fall into this pattern, but for the most part, what tends to happen with the so-called “meditation” at the end of most yoga classes is that people take a nap.
You’re all blissed-out from your wonderful yoga session and then it’s chill time. If there are people laying down in the room, then guaranteed, there are people sleeping.
Sleeping is not meditation.
If you’re already doing yoga on a regular basis, then you have one major thing going for you if you’re ready to also start a practice of meditation: You know how to set a habit. At least half the battle for beginning to meditate is to figure out how to fit it into your already-busy day and where you’re going to carve out the time to do it. If you’re doing yoga regularly, whether in a formal class with a group of others and a teacher to lead it, or on your own in the living room, you’re ahead of the game. You’ve figured out how to start and continue something that’s good for you.
(Pro Tip: One of the very best ways to establish a practice of meditation in your life is to find a weekly meditation group that will help you stay motivated and regular with your practice. The same as you probably did when you started yoga.)
Some yoga teachers and yoga classes may be different, but a lot of hatha yoga classes that profess to include a period of meditation at the end are not really helping you to build the structures in the mind for true meditation. You’re likely doing wonderful things for your body, strengthening your core and increasing your flexibility and toning those beautiful muscles. But don’t kid yourself. Unless you’re engaged in a dedicated practice of daily meditation — at least 10 minutes a day to start — then you’re not meditating. You’re enjoying some relaxation and unwind time at the end of your yoga class.
Which is awesome, and delicious, and feels great! But it may not be actual meditation.
Understanding the difference and knowing what you’re practicing can be helpful. Keep up with the yoga, and enjoy the peace that comes with it.
And when you get home, or when you wake up the next morning, don’t skip the formal meditation.