Yoga meditation is described to be an art and science of systematically, observing, accepting, understanding, and training each of the levels of our being, such that we may coordinate and integrate those aspects of ourselves, and dwell in the direct experience of the center of consciousness.
The Yoga of today is not actually a separate part of Yoga Meditation, simply because for a fact Yoga is meditation. However, to differentiate Yoga Meditation to the now popular belief that Yoga is all about physical postures, Yoga Meditation is a complete process unto itself and only a small though useful part of which relates to the physical body.
In Himalayan tradition of Yoga Meditation, one systematically works wit the senses, body, breath, the various levels of mind, and then goes beyond to the center of consciousness. The science of yoga meditation as taught by the Himalayan sages, is already a complete science that has been divided into smaller pieces over time, each having individual parts that has sometimes unfortunately been cut out from the whole Yoga Meditation and has been given separate names and taught as unique systems of meditation.
Yoga Meditation of the Himalayan tradition involves a broad range of practices and not only deals systematically with all levels, it is also holistic. These practices include:
Regardless of what object is used, such as breath, a visualize image, an internal point of focus, or a religious symbol, meditation evolves in stages.
* Gross objects. Yoga meditation may start with concentrating on identifiable objects or words.
* Subtle objects. Second would be to shift to their non-objective form, such as light or sound which constructs the object
* Bliss. Third would lead to the subtler, joy-producing essence or meaning of the object, or
* I-ness. Moving still deeper into the being-ness or existence itself.
Yoga meditation is systematic, moving inward from gross, to subtle, to subtler, and to subtle-most. Attention moves inward progressively, from the most external to the very core of the being.
Whether it is a reflection on the universal picture or an aspiring verse from the sacred texts of one’s religion, contemplation also evolves. One of the focuses of Contemplation in the Himalayan tradition is Mahavakyas or great Contemplations. The stages that contemplation evolves are:
* Thought. Contemplation may start with a verbal thought or process.
* Reflection. Second is to deepen to quiet reflection
* Intuition. Later bring intuitive wisdom, and
* Knowing. Then lead to a formless knowing.
Like meditation, contemplation also moves inward, following the steps of moving inward from gross, to subtle, to subtler, and to subtle-most. As the more external, gross, verbal way recedes, it leads to the very core of our intuitive being.
Although Prayers might be different for people of different cultures and religions, prayer also evolves through stages:
* Repetition. Prayer may start by being repetitive and standardized in a traditional way
* Relationship. Then shifting to a more verbal and spontaneous inner relationship
* Feeling. Then developing to a deeper, non-verbal feeling of love and devotion and
* Communion. Transforms into still deeper communion.
Prayer also moves inward, progressively from the most external to the very core of our being. Prayers for strength, or for spiritual awakening, gradually come to completion.
Whether the Mantra is of a particular religious significance, such as a short phrase or a spiritual language such as Sanskrit, or a seed syllable not of any particular religion or language, it also evolves through stages. Mantra usage deepens with practice:
* Spoken. It may be spoke first externally or internally
* Heard. Later heard or attended to internally
* Feeling. Then later experienced as a syllable-less feeling, or
* Pervasive awareness. Finally experiencing pervasive awareness that leads to its source.
Mantra like the other practices of Meditation, Contemplation, and Prayer, also moves inward.
The root meaning of Yoga Meditation lies in the meaning of the word Yoga itself, which comes from “yuj” meaning to join, to bring together the aspects of yourself that were never divided in the first place. Although some principles of Yoga Meditation are contained within various religions, Yoga meditation is not a religion.