Why Yogi’s Don’t Meditate

I’ve written here periodically about the key value of meditation in any spiritual journey. Without a systematic way to connect to our source within, our journey can be superficial and more conceptual than spiritual. While we might like to think of ourselves as “spiritual” because we do such and such practice or attend this church or that satsang, unless we’re actually connecting to spirit, it’s all just an idea. We’re playing another role, building our identity rather than our spirit.

In this article a friend recently sent me, the author discusses the curious development in the West of Yogic practitioners and teachers who don’t actually practice Yoga. At least not in the sense Patanjali described. Yoga has become synonymous with stretching exercises, just one aspect of Yoga’s 8 limbs. While there is certainly benefit to asanas, will they alone bring you home?

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10 Responses to Why Yogi’s Don’t Meditate

  1. rakesh says:

    meditation or yoga is an external tools(saadhan) when one qualify for internal tools he has to leave external one.

  2. Davidya says:

    Hi Rakesh
    If I understand you correctly, one leaves sadhana like meditation after a certain point. We may be meaning different things by the word “meditation”. I refer to an internal practice. You can follow the links in the article for more on this.

    I know some who became Self realized and stopped meditating. And others who continue as they still see a value in stepping out of the world. Even great sages and devas practice samadhi.

    Patanjali taught 8 limbs or practices that together brought a person along the path. He also taught other practices to help refine perception and so forth. I notice that some people with deep traditional knowledge think little of meditation or siddhis yet have not maintained a practice to reach the higher skills they trumpet. Sadhana has no use if it’s just an intellectual debate.

    That’s my take at least.

  3. aly says:

    I don’t know much about yoga, but for me, embodiment practice is really important for integration of energetic shifts. I would say that going for a hike or doing a workout at the gym can be an embodied meditation practice as much as yoga. And yoga can be ‘just a workout’ too.

  4. Davidya says:

    The way they describe it in India is with the analogy of dying the cloth. You dip the cloth in the dye, then hang it in the sun to bleach. Repeat until the colour is fast.

    In this case, you experience Tao/ Brahman/ transcendence/ God in meditation, then you go out into activity to stabilize. By alternating, you come to make transcendence “stick” in activity. This is the first stage of enlightenment, living Self while in activity.

    When you have sufficient Self enlivened through transcendence, you may find you can practice embodying it in activity. But you have to make sure thats actually what you’re doing. That you’re not just culturing an idea or mood of embodiment.

    Yoga comes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. They were written some time before Jesus. Yoga means union and revolves around 8 limbs or areas of life and their appropriate practices.

    Understanding this short book is key to understanding much current Indian thought on meditation, enlightenment, and so forth. But there are some big misunderstandings. Like seeing the limbs (concurrent) as steps on a ladder (sequential). Thus, they see Samadhi as only available to people who have perfected prior techniques. Not so. They are to be done together, each supporting the other.

    In the west, Yoga has become synonymous with stretching exercises or asana, just one of the limbs.

    You can search Patanjali here for other bits on the subject.

  5. aly says:

    I see. thank you for the explanation : )

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  9. JD says:

    I assume that the word Yogi is an individual who is in the state of Unity Consciousness, since the word Yog mean to be tethered to or united in “Something”, if I may use the word.
    I know it is not a “thing”, but the English Language does not have the rich vocabulary of Sanskrita.
    Or it could simply mean one who practices the methodologies which are supposed to bring about the EXPERIENCE of Union (Yog).

    So, I am not certain what it means to say that a Yogi does not practice “meditation”. Even the fully Enlightened ones are in a continuous state of Meditation, because they do not “exit” from that state of being, and then enter into activity. To them they remain in “Meditation”, or in the “Goal” of meditation, even while they are in activity. One who is not Fully Enlightened is not in a position to determine the state or activity of the Fully Enlightened.

    Thus, to say that the Yogis do not practice meditation is
    at best, an incorrect assertion.

    Jai Guru Dev

    • Davidya says:

      Hi JD
      Actually, Yogi is generally understood to mean a practitioner of yoga. Yoga itself is described in the Yoga Sutra. The approach has 8 limbs which include both inner and outer practices.
      I agree English is lacking in this arena. It’s one of the reasons I use a lot of Sanskrit terms.
      The point of the article is that there are many “yoga studios” where they teach exercises, not actual yoga. These practitioners often call themselves “yogis” but don’t actually practice yoga.
      The goal of Yoga is Self Realization. Yoga means union but in the context of the Yoga Sutra is union with the observer aspect of consciousness aka Self or Atman.
      Yoga isn’t actually an experience but a shift in who we know ourselves to be. We may certainly have tastes in samadhi prior. The Unity stage comes later and is covered more in Vedanta.
      I would also observe that the goal of meditation is not waking up. No one ever becomes enlightened. We wake up FROM the person. Meditation is for preparing the ground so that grace can be sustained when it arises. The majority of people I know who are awake continue to meditate because there is much more refinement and deepening possible. Yes, they are effectively meditating 24/7 but dropping the world for a period each day can still be good too.
      Jai Guru Dev

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