The Pinnacle Of Yoga Is Meditation

If you are a yoga practitioner then you have a special advantage for the practice of meditation. Yoga postures, asanas, have the power to help us access the treasure of mind.
Lama Brian Hilliard is a Tibetan meditation teacher.
Lama Brian Hilliard is a Tibetan meditation teacher.

You may already know the meaning of yoga, which is union. Meditation is giving ourselves the space we need to unite with ourselves, with the treasure of our mind. Union with ourselves can be accomplished through yoga asana IF we let go of all the extra baggage that often comes with yoga, such as striving for perfection, becoming bendy or more beautiful. Are we practicing yoga to look good? Or are we practicing yoga to let go and become who we truly are?

You can also listen to this reflection by Lama Brian Hilliard right here, right now, or in the Insight Timer App:

  1. Meditation For Yogis Lama Brian Hilliard

The Beginning Of A Flexible Mind

The pinnacle, or peak, of yoga is meditation. All that strength, balance and flexibility that yogis accomplish is the support so that meditation can occur. Yoga is the beginning of a flexible mind, training us to stay with it no matter what. Staying with that fight-or-flight response to challenging poses is getting us used to being out of the comfort zone and into the reality zone. The threat is real but inner strength is stronger.

Read more: Breathing through discomfort is a common experience in asana practice. Learn about the importance of discomfort for personal and spiritual growth.

Having practiced yoga for a while and experiencing a sense of boredom or lack of inspiration, and yet staying with it, is what tunes us into the ordinary mind which is the treasure of mind. Things become very ordinary, maybe flat. You are just open to yourself, which feels like nothing special and completely insignificant. In this state of ordinariness, there is no evaluation; your thinking mind has given up and you are just being there, open. You have worked so hard in your yoga practice. Maybe you even wish the yoga teacher would stop talking so that you can just be.

Where The Mind And Body Are Not Separate

You as a yoga practitioner, a yogi or yogini, have used your whole capacity as a human: physically, emotionally, mentally. You have somewhat exhausted your body and given up in your mind. This is the pinnacle, or peak of yoga, which is meditation. Yoga delivers you right to your mind. The mind is the space of openness where you can just let go and relax. You have been training yourself for this for a while, maybe for a long time. We see ourselves as openness, and we see the world as openness too, because we are not separate.

The pinnacle or peak of yoga is meditation where the mind and body are not separate or split. We come back to yoga again and again in our beautiful mind/body sadhana. Sometimes it seems the body is strong and the body leads the way. Sometimes the mind is strong and the mind leads the body. Because we are yogis, or yoginis, we know the power of both. Maybe at some point, you realise that the mind is more important, that the mind is the King, the main thing. Maybe you realise the mind is the Queen. You realise the body, while not being the same as the mind, is not separate from it.

Read more: Explore how to come to your senses and bring more awareness to your asana practice.

Moving Through Body & Mind

The pinnacle or peak of yoga is meditation; relaxation in the midst of movement–or relaxation in the midst of stillness. The movement of the body and the movement of the mind, our thoughts and feelings, are the continuous dance of ever-changing impermanence. We are dancing with the moods and ups and downs of the body and mind. And we are dancing with the seasons, the changes in relationships, the aging of our bodies, with the weather, with happiness and sadness, with challenges, with situations that make us feel so low or else put us on top of the mountain.

The pinnacle or peak of yoga is meditation wherein we realise that no matter what happens, no matter high or low, the Queen of space, my own mind, is unchanging and indestructible. My own mind is awareness and it is free of the ignorance of not knowing because I’ve worked so hard in covering all the bases in yoga and meditation, not leaving any hidden corners unexplored. I’ve exposed to the light all my hidden shadows. I’ve not shied away from my shadow side, afraid of what might be hidden or lurking there. Yoga and meditation together have given me the strength to look, see, explore, feel emotions without fear.

Read more: What is prana? Explore how to sense and consciously direct prana in the body, breath and environment around you.

Just Being You

The pinnacle or peak of yoga is meditation where you forget all about the original motivations you might have had to practice yoga: to feel better, to become a yoga teacher, to be sexy, to be super flexible, beautiful and cool.

Rather, you just keep coming back to that ordinary mind, open to yourself, nothing special or extraordinary. What a relief just to be you, and not strive to be somebody else. Discovering that you are fine as you are, not fine, but perfect. And because you are perfect as you are, you don’t need to prove anything to yourself, or anybody else, and so you are just kind to others, which affects the whole yoga studio, not to mention the rest of the planet. The yoga studio has a beating heart, it’s a yoga studio with soul, with warmth.

The pinnacle or peak of yoga is meditation. So I suggest to begin and/or end your yoga session with meditation.

Meditation. Free.