Yoga vs. Meditation: What’s Similar? What’s Different?

Yoga Vs. Meditation: What's Similar? What's Different?

You’ve most likely heard of meditation, and you’ve probably heard of yoga too.

However, these two art forms have their differences. While both focus on mindfulness meditation from the Buddhist tradition, the two practices are seemingly interchangeable as well.

Mindfulness is one’s ability to keep your focus and attention on an object with emphasize on returning to advantageous thoughts.

Yoga mindfulness meditation basically concentrates on increased awareness of the present mind and body experiences.

Perhaps one very noticeable difference between yoga and meditation is the physical aspect of yoga.

Ultimately it’s a form of mindfulness that encourages the connection of the present moment experience while focusing on a pose or posture. When doing meditation, you are encouraged to be still.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the differences and similarities between yoga and meditation.

Brief history overview

History of Yoga

It is believed that meditation originated from approximately 5000 to 3500 BCE.

The images found by archeologists show people sitting in what most of us recognize as meditation postures.

So the figures are seated on the ground with legs crossed, hands resting on the knees, and eyes slightly closed however not completely closed.

Indian scriptures also describe meditation techniques, and these date back 3000 years.

Most of the world’s great religions, as the centuries past, adopted the basic concept of meditation.

The methods may vary from one culture to the next; however, people across the globe still believe in meditation, and that is an essential cornerstone of spiritual development.

It is true that every religion has taken some form of meditation in one form or the other. Both yoga and meditation were introduced in the early 20th century to the United States. In the 1960s, there was an explosion in meditation teaching.

 In Judaism, there is the Kabala, and to put it simply, it is a meditative field of study.

Islam focuses on two aspects of meditation.

The more mainstream one is mentioned above, which is the Koran, and this refers to contemplative meditation. The second, which is not as accepted, is one mystical form known as Sufism.

Buddhism focuses on variations, including the Zen, Theravadan, and Tibetan.

Ultimately all of these methods lead to enlightenment, and there are essential ways to do this using meditation.

So what about Christianity? The term meditation is not easy for a lot of people to grasp because it has connotations of exotic Eastern cults.

There are lots of Christian practices that are considered forms of meditation.

Ultimately, the point of the matter is that you don’t need to follow a specific religion in order to participate and enjoy the benefits of meditation.

The practice itself has healing, physical, and mental health benefits including stress reduction.

Your faith is irrelevant when it comes to meditation, as it is simply a way to clear your mind and thoughts so you can listen more attentively to the world around you.

History of Yoga

Yoga Poses History

 Despite close to a century of research, not much is known about the early beginnings of yoga.

Some people believe that it originated 5000 years ago, and Western scholars assume that it originated approximately 500 years ago. However, archaeologists in 1920 have come across the discovery of the Indus civilization.

This was believed to be the largest civilization in antiquity. Depictions were found engraved on the soapstone seals that resemble yoga-like figures.

Yoga is believed to be a spiritual discipline, and the focus is to bring a connection between the body and the mind. It’s an art and science of healthy living.

Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit meaning “to join”. It leads to the union of the conscious and unconscious mind.

Lots of people believe yoga is restricted to hatha yoga.

However, among yoga sutras, the process begins with the body and then the mind and the spirit.

It ultimately is believed to be a sort of exercise between the body and mind. Yoga does not conform to any particular religion, and therefore it can be practiced by people all over the world.

Is yoga a form of meditation?

Meditation Yoga

When it comes to yoga in the Western world, lots of teachers believe that something has been lost. That something is meditation.

The heart of yoga is actually meditation. In Patanjali India, meditation and yoga were synonymous; however, meditation only plays a minor role in American yoga courses.

Some yoga teachers believe that meditation is just cultural baggage and believe they can appreciate the postures without it.

However, if by practicing yoga, you’ve been inspired to go deeper into yoga history and origins, you’ll find that meditation is a big part of it.

Yoga and meditation are both widely misunderstood topics.

This is even amongst the yoga practitioners themselves. The word meditation itself covers many practices under one big umbrella. Inevitably, visualization, thinking through a complex idea, and so on all qualify as meditation.

Meditation is created to take us beyond the illusions created by our thoughts and senses.

This allows us to experience everything in its purest form. It ultimately takes us on a journey to enlightenment and brings the realization of inner divinity to light.

Many of the classic techniques involve an object for the mind to focus on. You then say a mantra, which is sacred words or sounds repeatedly. And thereafter, start breathing.

However, it’s important to remember that meditation is not a prayer.

Prayer is a supplication to God. In meditation, you’re not asking for anything, but you are taking what you can get.

Similarities and Differences between Yoga and Meditation

Woman meditating

Yoga and meditation are often described as being very similar, yet they are still so widely apart.

The reason why yoga and meditation are grouped together is they ultimately both have the same goal.

Yoga is more physical in nature, while meditation refers more to the awakening of your inner consciousness. However, they both bring positivity and clarity to the body and mind

Some of the similarities and differences between yoga and meditation include:

Inner peace

Both yoga and meditation are ancient practices.

They have been helping mankind for generations, and the purpose of both is to provide inner piece. They bring the mind into a more tranquil state and reduce stress.

Knowledge

Yoga Exploring your own body

Knowledge is something that is key to everyone’s well-being, irrespective of who you are and where you come from.

Both yoga and meditation will help you learn about yourself and things about you that you not aware of either consciously or subconsciously.

You become more in tune with the environment and achieve spiritual peace.

While yoga places emphasis on doing physical poses, meditation is more but sitting still, breathing, and mindful awareness.

Relieving stress

Many people turn to yoga and meditation to get rid of and release their stress.

This may be due to work, unfortunate circumstances, and emotional breakdowns.

Others actively pursue yoga and meditation to deal with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and so on. In most cases, you find people practicing yoga if there is no cure for their condition.

Both yoga and meditation keep you looking good

Yoga Bodies

In a world like the one we live in, everyone wants to look and feel their best.

Going to the gym is, therefore a usual habit for most people now; however, along with body fitness comes the aspect of the mind’s well-being. That’s where yoga and meditation step in.

Yoga is an online practice of the body and mind, while meditation is called food for the mind. Ultimately they both teach you how to keep your mind, body and entire self-satisfied.

Time

Both yoga and meditation can be practiced in the morning.

You can do it either in your home or at a yoga studio. Both practice sites extremely effective in the morning because your mind is at rest.

The mornings also offer quiet surroundings, and this is ideal for your inner piece.

Escape

Acceptance Yoga

Yoga is seen as a method of escape.

From another’s perspective, it’s something higher than an escape. It’s an acceptance of your problems and allows you to let go.

Meditation, on the other hand, is an intellect based practice, and it teaches you to awaken your senses cognitively and is ultimately the most essential and eternal escape of all.

Underestimated

Both yoga and meditation have been widely underestimated.

As these practices have spread across the globe, science has proven them to be the best exercises for body and mind.

However, lots of people choose to attend to other mediums and forms of stress relief before turning to yoga and meditation. There are still some people that don’t believe in the power of yoga or meditation. These people are skeptics and continue to suppress yoga and meditation for whatever reason.

Your breathing patterns play a crucial vote in both yoga and meditation.

In both of these practices, the focus needs to be on paying attention to your breathing.

In yoga, when you inhale, it is said that you absorb positive energy, and when you exhale, you are getting rid of the bad energy. However, breathing is also one of the fundamentals and basics of meditation.

Yoga and meditation both originated by Hindus. Over a period of time, it’s been altered by different cultures to fit their needs.

Is it ok to meditate before/after yoga?

Yoga Meditation

Meditation has some valuable benefits, including improving your productivity, health, and reducing stress. It also has a direct effect on your performance as an athlete or fitness professional.

Ultimately it can help improve your yoga session or workout.

Meditation can be used before your yoga workout to improve the quality of your session.

Even if you’re not going to do any dynamic yoga poses, meditation can still help to reinforce, nurture, and strengthen your body. It’s also incredibly motivating and helps you to make the most out of each training session.

Week long yoga/meditation plan for beginners

Yoga and Meditation Practices

When you are practicing yoga and meditation, there are a few tips you’ll need to consider in order to make your experience truly unforgettable and of course, reap the rewards.

It is also important to remember that yoga and meditation are both similar yet different practices. They are similar in the sense that they both have the same positive goal; however, they are practiced differently.

So when you combine yoga and meditation into one day or to form one single regime, you’ll need to start with one before the other.

It makes sense to start meditating and then begin your yoga session. So let’s get right into it.

Meditation

  • Sit up straight and allow your spine to be straight, so it feels like it’s erect. This will also allow you to open the chest open so that you can experience your breath better, and to do this; you may need to sit on a cushion.
  • When sitting on the cushion, your knees need to be level with your hips. If you feel you would be more comfortable sitting on a chair, then that’s perfectly fine too.
  • So find your seat, sit up and let your shoulders rollback, and your chest to open, then rest your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up.
  • And then close your eyes and start to feel your body. Try to sense the entire body without even looking at it.
  • Observe the flow of energy in your body. Now bring awareness to your breath and start counting your breath. Say one as you inhale and two as you exhale. Then do this repeatedly for a minute.
  • Ultimately what you want to do is pay attention to the full length of your breath.
  • Think of 5 things you are grateful for.  This will shift your attitude and perspective of life.

Yoga

  • Before beginning your yoga routine, stand on your mats in a meditative state and try and be still, reflect, and let go of everything else. You must understand that this is your time. 
  • Interlace your hands and clasp your palms forward in your hands.
  • Then extend your arms over your head and try not to flare out over your shoulders or your rib cage
  • Breathe in through your asides as you stretch your arms up
  • Then lean to the right and bend at the waist until you feel completely comfortable
  • Come back to the center then lean to the left
  • Take big breaths to create space open your lungs
  • Thereafter come back to the center and release your hands and space your feet out a little bit wider, then fold your body forward with bent knees
  • Clasp your elbows together and hang loose as you sway from side to side or bob up and down.
  • Inhale and exhale

Ultimately the goal of this pose is to relax your back.

You can choose to use the same meditation technique each and every day throughout the seven days.

However, when it comes to yoga, you can do a different pose on each of the seven days.

Ultimately, just doing meditation for five minutes each day and your yoga session for at least 15 minutes a day will make an immense difference to both your body and mind.

Experience the Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

Meditation and Yoga

Yoga and meditation are both holistic practices; both come with their own unique features and benefits.

Ultimately, although they both have their differences, they also have their similarities, and they have a common goal, which is to give you complete wellness in both your mind and body.

So if you’ve been thinking about starting yoga and meditation challenge, don’t put it off any longer.

The sooner you start your yoga and meditation challenge, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits that come with total mind and body wellness.

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