Is Meditation And Yoga The Same?

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Woman in orange sweater doing yoga outside - Is Meditation And Yoga The Same?

Many people, understandably, get confused when discussions of meditation, mindfulness, and yoga come up because they all seem very similar. However, there are differences that you should be aware of to not misspeak or offend others.

Meditation and yoga are not the same things, although meditation is a part of yoga. Yoga is a practice aimed at attaining a state of total spiritual absorption, while meditation is the continuous concentration or focus of the mind on an object, sound, concept, etc.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences and the answers to other questions people frequently have surrounding meditation and yoga.


Is Yoga Considered Meditation?

Simply put, yoga is not considered meditation. Yoga should have meditative aspects within its practice, but it is not the same thing. To examine why yoga is not considered meditation, we have to consider the theory of yoga.

It is thought that yoga has eight limbs – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. Each limb is a different aspect of yoga, and the self-actualization of all eight limbs can only achieve the highest state of humanity.

When you get into the details, you will find that meditation is one of these eight limbs – Dhyana. This is why yoga can be meditative but is not entirely meditation.


What are the Differences?

The main differences between yoga and meditation are that yoga is an all-encompassing practice involving the mind and body working in unison, while meditation simply focuses and centers the mind on a singular thing.

For that reason, yoga can help you lose weight, become flexible, and change your physical state, while meditation cannot.

Yoga is also rooted deeply in spiritual health, but meditation does not necessarily have the same origins. Meditation, instead, focuses on mental health in many cases.


Which One is More Popular?

Because meditation is a part of yoga, you could say that yoga is the more popular practice, but the truth is that yoga has become a widespread trend around the world anyway.

People from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life engage in diverse forms of yoga for a variety of reasons. Whole lifestyles are being crafted around practicing yoga, while meditation is typically an aside that fewer people practice to help better themselves mentally.

You could also conclude that yoga is the more popular practice considering the sheer number of products and services offered related to yoga.

Meditation, on the other hand, is often thought of as being free of products since you typically sit and focus on your breathing in a calm environment.


Can You Do Yoga Instead of Meditation?

Theoretically, you cannot do yoga instead of meditation because meditation is one of the eight facets central to yoga as a belief and practice. In contrast, it is possible to meditate without doing yoga, but this will provide different benefits to performing both through yoga.

If you don’t see yoga as a way of life or achieving the highest levels of spirituality and, instead, simply practice yoga to stay fit, you might be able to do yoga instead of meditation. However, you should aim to do both separately, if not incorporated together.


Should You Meditate or Do Yoga First?

There is no right answer when it comes to which activity you should practice first. It can vary greatly from person to person, but it ultimately comes down to what your goals are and what you hope to achieve by practicing both.

Typically, people will practice yoga first if they are trying to improve their meditation sessions. This is because the physical aspect of yoga can often empty the mind and tire the body, making it easier to concentrate on whatever they like during a meditation session.

Some people like to meditate first thing in the morning to achieve a zen-like state or calmness they take into the rest of their day. This could make yoga easier later in the day as well.


Final Thoughts Are Meditation And Yoga The Same

Meditation and yoga are not the same, although yoga does encompass meditation when performed correctly and traditionally.

You can practice each separately to reap the physical benefits of one and the mental benefits of the other, but this leaves your spirituality by the wayside.

Ideally, though, yoga practice will give you all the benefits of physical movements, mental focus, and spiritual enlightenment.

If you are still unsure of the differences, try out each individually yourself, and you will come to a natural understanding of these activities.