Meditation: a technique used in combination with yoga
What is meditation?
To describe meditation in the most effective way, we will refer to it as a training of the mind. It is recognized that meditation requires practice, that you will not reach a state of relaxation, that you will not easily get rid of stress and feel all these benefits. In the same way that we train our body by doing sports, yoga, pilates, fitness, we train our mind with meditation.
Contrary to common belief, meditation was not invented by the Buddhist and Hindu movements. The first traces attesting the practice of meditation are found about 4000 years ago, that is to say around 2000 BC. Buddhism was developed 2500 years ago and took over this practice.
Meditation was originally a way to access knowledge through a psychosomatic practice and not a way to relax. Meditation was then practiced by monks for hundreds of years and it is in the 19th century that this practice which was intended for them spread and was proposed to everyone with the democratization of Buddhism in different countries.
What are the different types of meditation?
In the Buddhist tradition, there are two main meditation techniques.
- Meditation through concentration
We fix our mind on an object, a thought, we avoid dispersing, the goal is to remain concentrated on the same thought as long as possible.
- Meditation through observation
What are the benefits of meditation?
It has been about 30 years since the scientific community validated the benefits that the practice can provide. Scientific studies in neurology, psychology and biology validate the benefits of this relaxation technique on both physical and mental health.
- On a psychological level, meditation can help to find calm, alleviate stress and anxiety. In fact, by observing the thoughts that are working on us, it becomes easier to take stock of them and to find serenity. Learning to meditate also helps to improve concentration and calm negative thoughts.
- The breathing exercises practiced in meditation are perfect for physical relaxation. In addition, a regular meditation practice helps to breathe in the right way on a daily basis. It is recommended to meditate at the beginning or end of the day, in a quiet place, where you can focus on the present moment and adopt a comfortable position.
How to practice and integrate meditation into yoga?
To learn mindfulness meditation and incorporate it into a yoga routine, you need to take the time to stop. To feel, to become aware of what is happening within us and around us. You can use our selection of meditation sessions on Youtube and learn about different types of meditation and different teachers or use applications like petit bambou to help you breathe and have a guided course.
To meditate, you must first take a posture adapted to meditation. We will come on a cushion or a yoga mat, straighten our back and adopt the lotus position (position also adopted in hatha yoga). Adopting a posture for meditation allows you to tell your mind that you are going to meditate and therefore prepare yourself. This will facilitate the breathing exercises practiced during a session.
Then we will concentrate on our natural breathing. The idea is to relax, to adopt the most natural breathing possible and to feel the present moment. Once the meditative state is reached, we will let our concentration go on the thoughts that emerge. To meditate, our attention must be fixed on the emotions, the sensations which cross us while letting them go.
To begin or end a yoga session, it is interesting to add a time for meditation, whether it is to enter a state of concentration before the session, or to practice a relaxation exercise after a yoga class.
Hatha yoga, for example, is a great way to practice yoga to prepare for meditation. This yoga allows you to work on your breathing which will be deepened during the practice of meditation and will allow a good relaxation. Hatha yoga is also an excellent complement to meditation. The postures will allow you to gain flexibility and tone.
When you want to learn to meditate, your body must be able to get into a relaxed position, so be careful with the equipment you choose!
Here is an introductory session to meditation made for Yogom on Youtube
With which material to practice meditation?
To practice the mindfulness meditation technique, it is most comfortable to use a medium designed for meditation. It will allow you to focus on the practice and not on an unpleasant environment. A yoga mat, although it may be sufficient, will usually be complemented by an over-mat. You can also meditate on a zafu, a traditional Chinese round yoga cushion specially designed for this purpose. Soft materials such as wool are to be preferred for meditation because we don’t need a particular adherence but a great comfort and natural material to be more easily in connection with nature. As far as clothing is concerned, we recommend soft, loose and comfortable clothes.
Natural wool products
Yogom has designed a special range of soft practices and meditation: wool products, Oekotex certified and made in Europe of high quality. We therefore recommend you to meditate with the products of the Softness Range in merino wool. Discover a large mat (also ideal for gentle yoga practices like Yin Yoga, Nidra or restorative), a mini meditation mat, a zafu, a bolster and a blanket.
A natural yoga mat
There are several types of yoga with different characteristics. When looking for a yoga mat to perform dynamic yoga, you need to look at the grip on the floor, the non-slip factor and the thickness. For meditation, the needs are quite different, if you want a yoga mat specially designed for meditation, the priority is to choose a yoga mat with a soft and pleasant material like wool. We recommend the natural yoga mat made of merino wool. It will be perfect for meditation and gentle yoga exercises.
However, it can be interesting to complete one’s collection for meditation with other accessories allowing more thickness and comfort.
Mini meditation mat
The mini meditation mat is the ideal complement to a classic yoga mat for meditation. Indeed, a yoga mat may not be thick enough or may not have a soft enough support for an optimal practice. The mini mat then comes into play, often made of a soft material, it will be placed on top of a yoga mat and increase the thickness for a more comfortable sitting. Don’t hesitate to ask about the Yogom mini meditation mat made of wool, the ideal complement to a yoga mat!
When we talk about meditation accessories, the first product we think of is the yoga zafu. It is a round cushion specially designed for the practice of meditation. It allows to raise the hips and to practice some yoga postures, it is also designed in soft materials to give a comfortable feeling. The Yogom merino wool meditation zafu is designed to have an optimal height for meditation, a soft touch and a density that provides a good seat!
The blanket is a particularly nice accessory to use in winter. Just wrap yourself in it during a session to get warm, relax and focus on your practice. The blanket will also be useful if you want to relax after a yoga session! So Yogom’s merino wool blanket will be perfect to give you comfort and warmth!
Finally, the yoga brick is useful if you want to lean on it during a meditation session. Using this accessory will give you a good position to meditate with your back straight and comfortable. Get a cork or EVA yoga brick from yogom. These are the materials best suited to the practice of yoga, for their density designed specifically for the practice, their weight, not too heavy to avoid injury and their adherence, allowing to perform many postures.
To meditate outdoors, be sure to position yourself on a comfortable ground, not too hard. Then use a yoga mat to further soften the support. You can use different types of mats, the wool yoga mat will always be a good option but you can also meditate on another support like the Yogom cork yoga mat, especially if you first perform a yoga session and then finish with meditation.
To meditate in comfortable clothes, you can get a yogom suit. This loose-fitting combination facilitates movement and allows you to practice meditation and yoga in the best conditions.
As you can see, meditation is a very important technique in the practice of yoga. You have the keys to do your first meditation session, get equipped and practice!