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Yoga versus Meditation

What is yoga, what is meditation? What is the goal ? And how to practise?

There are about 6 – 10 known types like Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga or Kundalini Yoga.

Other known types of meditations are e.g. Zazen, Vipassana, the Dynamic (Osho) or the Transcendental Meditation.

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“Anti-Gravity-Yoga” and

“Fantasy-Journey-Meditations”!

A business man told me once: “Meditation is

the union of body, mind and cash flow.”

Well, let's get serious!    ;-)


Translation of Yoga

The term “yoga” is Sanskrit (the language of Holy Scriptures) and can be translated as “union”. An enlightened person is in the state of constant yoga. This means his mind is peaceful and still. His undisturbed focus is on God, any time and anywhere; he sees God before his eyes. In this context yoga is a state of awareness.

Patanjali's Definition of Yoga

Patanjali defines yoga in the 2nd Sutra (chapter) of his Yoga Sutras as “to stop the whirling of the mind” (yogash chitta vritti nirodha). In this context yoga is an act of will.

Turk's-cap lily (Lilium martagon)
Turk's-cap lily, Vallais Switzerland (Lilium martagon)

How to put it into Practice?

This is called Meditation

The Best way to practice yoga is to sit down (crossed legged) and be concentrated. “Concentration now begins” (Patanjali's 1st sutra). Willingly we calm down the mind and bring the mind's functions to a stop.
In the same time we are silently aware. Aware of the world's underlying and unshaken principle: the Absolute, Atman or God.

Meditation is the exercise to become silent and become united with God. Whoever has realized enlightenment (as Swami Yogeshwarananda explained to me) does not meditate any more because then one already sees God before his eyes. Hence, he is in a constant state of yoga, or in union with God. Exercising does not make sense any more.


The Bhagavad Gita Defines Yoga

An undisturbed and calm mind can be called a mind in equipoise as well. Bhagavad Gita 2:48 “samatvam yoga uchyate”. “Yoga is the state of mental equipoise.”

Another Definition in the Gita

Another definition for the state of yoga can be found in the Bhagavad Gita 2:50 “yogaha karmasu kaushalam”. This can be understood in two ways: One is “dexterity in action is yoga”, and the other is, “efficiency in action is yoga”. “Action” in both senses is equally applicable.


How to practise?

Everything you do has to be done efficiently and well. The very first step is to overcome your likes or dislikes towards the very work that has to be done. Second, you will perform the work in a concentrated and undisturbed manner.

In this way Yoga is integrated into daily life and there is no need any more to perform separately exercises after working hours. Religious worship (upasana) is also not needed any more because we are putting this focus or awareness towards God into the actual work.

Acting and doing work (in a sense of yoga) helps to be concentrated and to be aware and will help to practise meditation, and meditation will liberate you. In this way daily work is the challenge to become liberated instead of being bound to the world and to work.

water tap, a well in the Alps
How to prevent a drop from drying up? – By throwing it into the ocean.

Conclusion

Yoga is the state of union with God. To realize this state of union one has to practise yoga and meditation.
Hence, yoga can be also understood as a mental exercise to become mentally silent, and this in return as a prerequisite to the union of God (enlightenment). This exercise is also called meditation.

Furthermore, yoga is a way of performing actions and can be done in daily life and at work.

Acting in the sense of yoga means to be concentrated and to be aware of God (or one's True Self).

More about perfect action in daily life: