In the endeavor to bring more ideas on wellness in everyday life, you have read about the 7 Dimensions of Wellness. Articles appearing in this blog are related to those 7 dimensions. In this article we discover more about what is the Difference Between Yoga, pranayama, and meditation.
The modern way of living gives way to stress and various health issues. Our lifestyle has become sedentary. Effort is required to lead a life which is stress-free and healthy.
The mental health is equally important as the physical health. It sometimes leads to more lifestyle diseases than one can imagine.
Eating food rich in nutrients is immensely important. Specially, because other methods will work only if our body is fed properly. Exercise or anything alike will have an adverse effect if proper nutrients don’t feed our body.
In this article, let us see the difference between Yoga, pranayama and Meditation as part of knowing more in our wellness journey.
The Asanas in Yoga
The asanas in Yoga are the various physical exercises effecting various parts of the body. They are carefully thought out poses effecting even the normally unaffected muscles of the body.
Hatha Yoga is one of the most prominent proponent of these asanas. They recommend quite difficult poses too. This has created an image if Yoga as a physical exercises with lots of difficult twists.
However, Yoga is not limited to performing difficult asana. Yoga means Union where the sublime meaning is to unify with the Universal.
Asana is one of the most useful and wholesome Yoga Asana. It is called the King of Asanas.
There are both simple and complex asanas in Yoga. Do not begin Yoga with difficult poses. Begin with some asanas which will build flexibility in your muscles and prepare you for further practice.
Thereby, Yoga Asanas are more physical aspect of Yoga but a mandatory part of it.
Do read my article on Suryanamaskar and Simple Yoga for Wellness for better understanding of Yoga Asanas. It falls in perspective here to understand what is the Difference Between Yoga, pranayama, and meditation.
Breathing Exercises or Pranayama
Pranayama are breathing exercises intending to effect various parts of the body. They range from simple ones to come ones which should be practiced with caution.
Pranayama intends to circulate life or rather circulate fresh life into one’s body. Prana means Life in Sanskrit.
Simple Pranayama like Anulom Vilom are simple to practice. While Bhastrika is a difficult Pranayama and requires caution when practicing. Also, Bhastrika Pranayama is not recommended for all.
It was a classic idea to invent the formula for these breathing exercises. They are intricately related to Yoga but they are not the physical Asanas.
Pranayama affects the intricate parts of the body where the reach is limited through physical asana. There effect is on internal organs like kidney, reproductive organs, lungs and stomach. No known physical exercises can effect these internal organs like done by Pranayama.
A range of benefits is believed to be extracted by performing Pranayama. This ranges from developing immunity to maintaining sexual health. Pranayama is a great way to control weight and lose belly fat.
Meditation is a state of mind. One doesn’t ‘do’ meditation but goes into it.
There are ways and means to help you go into meditation. But, do whatever, one cannot do meditation.
It is slightly complex to understand this concept for beginners. Going into oblivion is something you cannot do to begin with.
Being free of your own thought shackles is the meditative state.
How do you do that?
We discussed Khechari Mudra which helps you go into this meditative state. There are other means like Shambhavi Mahamudra as well which has been propagated as an excellent means to reach this state.
Vipassana is a Meditation package which is different from Mindful Meditation.
Yoga is a proponent of unifying one with the Universe. Meditation is a critical aspect of this Unifying Spirit.
Relationship between Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation
As discussed earlier, Yoga is not limited to mere physical exercises or Asanas. Its various aspects is aimed at unifying the body and spirit with the Universe.
Pranayama prepares you to go into meditative state. Bhramari enhances your senses and perception on one hand while making receptive to meditative state. However, Pranayama are physical breathing exercises which affects the internal organs just like what we discussed in Hand Mudras.
The Asanas and Pranayama are various aspects of Yoga which prepares you to experience Unison.
The intricate relation between Yoga, pranayama and Meditation is to uplift you from your normal shackles of life. These shackles cause physical pain besides stress causing mental pain.
Imagine your superior state if you are free of these shackles.
Experienced Yogis are practitioners of all aspects of Yoga. Thereby, they become devoid of normal expressions of everyday life. They rise beyond perception and senses.
So What is the Difference Between Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation?
Yoga and Pranayama are physical do-able things while Meditation is state of mind. Meditation is not a physical exercise and much more subtle.
Yoga is identified by the asana or poses. This has been popularly propagated by Hatha Yoga practitioners. However, Yoga is much more comprehensive than mere Asanas.
Pranayama are breathing exercises. They are different from Asanas in the way it affects the internal organs of the body. Asanas concentrate more external organs like other physical exercises.
As explained above, Meditation is a state of mind. It is not something what one can “do”, rather it is something to go into. It is not a physical exercise like the asana or pranayama.
Hope this article clarifies the difference between Yoga or Yoga Asana, Pranayama and Meditation. Though all are part of Yoga, but differ in their objective of achieving wellness.
Meanwhile, here is a bonus for the readers- A video on How to Meditate, by Sadhguru which I am sure you would certainly enjoy.
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