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Meditating on Yoga Postures

It is advised in both the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutra that one should sit to meditate while using an easy posture. There is a standard which is that people try to sit to meditate in the lotus posture, padmasana. This happened because of seeing many statues and images of famous yogis sitting in the lotus pose.

Initially when I began to practice yoga, I did not have a physical teacher. I began intuitively to assume postures. Some months after while I was in Trinidad in 1966, I saw a yoga book in a store in Port of Spain. I looked through this book with interest.

Later after I got some instruction from Arthur Beverford, I became determined to assume many postures. This was in the Philippines in 1970. Some postures were difficult. The padmasana lotus pose was impossible at that time. This was due to the stiffness of the thighs, legs, and feet. I did not have a muscular frame, and still my muscles, whatever little there was of it, was resistant to the poses.

Once I forced myself in lotus pose and remained seated in it for about fifteen minutes. To avoid being seen by others who were not familiar with such poses, I locked myself in a closet. It was very painful to get into the pose, to remain in it and to take the legs and feet out of it. I decided to invent some poses which would relax the muscles and tendons in my feet, legs, and thighs.

That is not meditation. In fact, that is not yoga. It is a part of the asana part of yoga. One can do poses but one should not assign that as yoga. It is only part of the asana part of yoga. If one sits to meditate and is forced to focus on the pains of a posture, that is not meditation. It is however part of the practice of asana which is the third in the list of eight aspects which form the process of yoga.

One can do difficult asana poses and meditate on the effects of those positions. If this is done, that is considered to be a type of meditation. It is not the pose itself which is meditation in this case. It is the focusing investigation which one does which is the meditation portion.

For instance, in the pose shown below, the yogi sits on his legs and heels but with his toes spread to each side, instead of being under the body. That particular pose is a variation of the vajrasana thunderbolt posture.

In that pose, the toes flare to each side. The buttocks press on the heels. In that pose, the yogi can meditate to investigate the energy distribution during the use of that position. That would be a meditation on that pose. In one of the diagrams the energy flow in the subtle body, which happens during that pose, is shown.

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