Monday, December 27, 2010

How Yoga is "Totally Zen"

Zen Yogini Stephanie Churchill (
What is "Zen"? Zen is a Japanese word derived from the Chinese word Chán, which itself is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which means jhana (absorption), "meditation," or "deep meditative state."

Meditation is the next layer to add to a yoga practice once one has become established in yoga postures and breathing.

Building a yoga practice bit by bit takes work, just like anything one really wants to succeed at in life. Indeed, yoga is a life skill. And in the hectic world we live in, meditation is as essential as yoga -- nurturing mind and body. They compliment each other. But in yoga the real work does not begin until one learns how to meditate.

Zen emphasizes experiential wisdom to attain enlightenment, de-emphasizing theoretical knowledge for direct realization through meditation and Dharma practice.

For then one can tap into internal as well as external energy. If everyone meditated there would be a lot less hostility in the world. This is how powerful, transformational, and crucial meditation can be to health and happiness for everyone. Just as there are many meditation methods, there are many yoga styles, with something to suit everyone.

Moments of time connected by nothing but breath and clear presence [or mindfulness of breathing and clear comprehension, as described in the Satipatthana Sutra] are the crux of meditation.

Finding things one might have lost along the way, meditation is engaged in to reconnect to source energy. Deep relaxation can be achieved by regular practice of meditation. Awareness of oneself [body, feelings, intentions, and mental states] and others can be cultivated by means of [fourfold mindfulness] meditation.

When we were babies we had no constant ticker tape of thoughts trailing our every move. We can return to that pure, innocent awareness. More>>

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