Yoga and meditation go hand in hand, but they are not the same. Many people often confuse the two, and others believe the terms are interchangeable. Although the two practices have many similarities, they are very different. You can incorporate meditation into your yoga practice. Let’s look at the similarities and differences between yoga vs. meditation and the benefits they provide.
The Basics of Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation are both practices for finding peace and balance. Yoga, which means “union” in ancient Sanskrit, involves physical poses and breathwork that helps a person find healing in their mind and body while connecting spiritually to a higher power.
Meditation, on the other hand, allows participants to sit quietly and practice mindfulness, with the end goal of being present and observing their thoughts without judgment. When looking at yoga vs. meditation, it’s easy to see that they aren’t comparable. Meditation, although you can practice it on its own, is typically one component of a person’s yoga practice.
The Differences Between Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation are similar practices that can be combined for increased healing, but they are not the same. Each practice has different end goals, involving very different body movements and activities. It’s also important to note that yoga and meditation may have restrictions that can affect whether a person can safely practice them with certain health conditions.
Yoga Vs. Meditation: End Goals
Since meditation is often incorporated into yoga practice, it only makes sense that it is just a piece of the puzzle of overall holistic healing. Meditation provides mental healing and balance to a person’s life, providing peace and clarity to their life. On the other hand, yoga benefits a person’s overall physical, mental, and spiritual health. So, comparing yoga vs. meditation is more like comparing apples to bananas. Meditation is tremendously beneficial, but it only targets mental health and balance. Yoga, on the other hand, targets the mind, body, and spirit.
Yoga Vs. Meditation: Activity Level
Meditation is a mental exercise that requires lots of focus and very little movement. Participants are typically asked to sit or lay down in a comfortable position while relaxing their entire body, allowing the focus to remain on breathing and connecting with the present moment. It’s incredibly helpful for finding clarity and peace in your daily life. Since meditation only requires mental focus and physical stillness, a person usually isn’t required to move their body very much at all. Movement is usually discouraged from helping with focus.
Yoga, on the other hand, is a physical activity that involves a variety of different poses. Although meditation may exercise a person’s mind, yoga exercises the mind, body, and spirit at the same time. Yoga is so physically demanding that it’s considered a form of exercise, and participants typically work up a sweat during a class.
While practicing yoga, a person is encouraged to focus on their breathing patterns as they move from one pose to another, which requires a lot of mental and physical effort. Because of this, it’s also a form of meditation. It may be a more focused form of mindfulness than meditation since yoga requires more mental focus. Instead of sitting quietly, a person moves their body from one pose to another, making it more difficult to focus on the present moment while remaining coordinated enough to move into the next posture.
Since yoga is a physical form of exercise, it provides a number of health benefits to participants, which include better cardiovascular health, increased flexibility, weight loss, building muscle, and relief from stiffness and soreness in the body.
Yoga Vs. Meditation: Restrictions
People with unique physical limitations or health conditions may not be able to practice certain forms of yoga and a number of asanas — or body postures — that can’t be performed on an empty stomach. However, yoga can be adapted so most people can participate safely. On the other hand, meditation doesn’t have many physical restrictions since participants are encouraged to sit or lay down comfortably while practicing.
Certain physical and psychological conditions may make meditation difficult for some people. In these cases, they may find that yoga is more beneficial to their mental health.
Schedule Yoga Classes in Queen Creek Today!
Yoga and meditation are incredibly healing and empowering practices that provide a number of benefits to people of all ability levels. If you’re interested in learning more about yoga vs. meditation, we encourage you to try one of our yoga or meditation classes. Check out our class schedule and sign up today. We’d love to walk alongside you on your journey toward better health.