My practice of yoga is almost serendipitous. I moved into the countryside, started doing yoga with my now-fiancé and his family, and went on to lead two yoga classes with about 30 participants in total.
Looking back, I might not have enjoyed yoga so much and in such a different way (holding classes) if I found a full time job or stayed in the city. I might not have had the time or clarity of mind to reflect and explore how yoga and meditation interact with my life.
I have come to see yoga as a physical warm-up to prepare for meditation. Muscular tone, joint flexibility, improvement in balance are bonuses. Yoga makes the body healthy, relaxed, comfortable, and ready for meditation. Meditation is akin to yoga for the mind because likewise it trains and cleanses the mind. The fact is, we meditate more than we think. We already know how to meditate. I recently realized that when I used to “stone” (not get high on pot, but a local colloquial term for “not thinking about anything in particular”) in high school, I was really meditating. It happened when I had been too tired or stressed, my mind would “switch off” on its own to sneak a break. Meditation is not difficult or tedious, it’s really a matter of practice to lengthen the duration of focus.