Just as you cannot “do yoga,” you cannot “do meditation.” Yoga is the natural state of union with happiness itself. What we can do are practices, which may reveal to us our resistance to that natural state. The practices of meditation, like the practices of yoga, are practices of letting go; letting go of tendencies and obscurations to the cosmic state of awareness, limitless joy. Meditation is one of the primary practices that allow us to let go.Jivamukti yoga on meditation.
What is Meditation?
Contrary to popular modern belief — the purpose of meditation is not to clear your mind of all thought. Rather, Meditation simply means ‘placing the mind’ and is the practice and discipline of continually and consciously bringing your mind to the present moment each time you notice it has wandered. And, as Jivamukti yoga establishes, meditation is also the practice of letting go, including letting go of the idea that there’s a ‘right’ way to meditate! In this way, meditation teaches you how to control your own thoughts, rather than letting them control you, and to release judgement and expectation of yourself and others.
Meditation is not escapism or an excuse to check out of reality. It is a tool, that with regular use, will enable you to better navigate the reality we exist in, and get the most from your everyday life. With practice, meditation leads to the ability to calm the mind and relax the body enough to reduce stress and better cope with the mental-led demands modern life.
How to Meditate
Jivamukti yoga co-founder Shannon Gannon offers a refreshingly sane and ridiculously simple way to start with meditation: Sit down, be still, and focus on witnessing your breathing.
That said, there are many ways to extend meditation practice and adapt for different purposes, and it’s important to find a way to meditate that works for you. Breath awareness meditation, loving kindness meditation, body scanning, chakra meditation, yoga nidra, Kirtan are some of the many different ways of meditating and bringing your mind to the present moment.
Interestingly, the original goal of yoga asana wasn’t for weight loss, fitness or flexibility, but to prepare the body to sit for long periods of meditation! So if you struggle to sit comfortably enough to meditate, talk to your yoga instructor about asana to facilitate your meditation practice.
Meditation on Retreat
We will also help you learn how to meditate on retreat!
Meditation and mindfulness are practices which are incorporated into all of our yoga retreats. It’s another important part of what makes our holidays extraordinary. You’ll find forest bathing and flower arranging on our Japan retreat, fire-side Kirtan in Mongolia, tech-free digital detoxes in the UK, plus Jivamukti yoga with Emma Henry and Vinyasa yoga with Adam Husler, who each include meditation in their classes.
Whether you’re a beginner when it comes to quieting your mind, or you’re a seasoned meditator, we have something for you on retreat.