Yoga Blog

OCTOBER 14, 2010

Learn How To Walk Before You Run

Posted by Dorothy under Philosophyno responses

Running - Active Meditation

Hands up for those of you who have tried or are still trying to sit down cross legged with the intention of meditating, while trying endlessly to prevent thoughts from coming into the mind or worse still, trying to keep yourself awake. Stop feeling guilty for not being able to come to a ‘focus on nothing’ situation. You probably have not heard or been exposed to the different types of meditation: active and passive.

Passive meditation is the type of meditation which is commonly known. I would now like to introduce the concept of active meditation to my fellow readers. Active meditation takes place when you focus your mind on the activity that you are performing at that moment and not on anything else. This in fact is the aim of Yoga, to experience a meditative state in everyday life.

During my research about the concept of active meditation, I found the method of Dynamic Meditation introduced by a spiritual teacher who is famously known as Osho. Osho supports active meditation as seen in his quote below:

“Don’t try to be passive. How can you try to be passive? You can sit like a Buddha, but that passivity will just be skin-deep. Deep down you will be in a turmoil, you will be boiling, a volcano – you can erupt any moment…. People sit in Zazen for years…just trying to make the mind silent, and it goes on working, goes on working, goes on working.
“Hence my emphasis on active meditations. That’s a balance. First be active, so totally that passivity follows automatically. When you have been active and the whole energy has moved, you would like to rest.”

Osho’s theories can further be supported by the teachings of the well respected yoga guru, B.K.S. Iyengar, who explained meditation in his book, “Light On Life” :

“Contrary to what many teachers try to tell you, meditation is not going to remove stress. Meditation is only possible when one has already achieved a certain “stressless” state. By learning how to relax the brain, one can begin to remove stress. This process of relaxing the brain is achieved through asana. In asana our consciousness spreads throughout the body, eventually diffusing every cell, creating a complete awareness. In this way stressful thought is drained away, and our mind focuses on the body, intelligence, and awareness as a whole” B.K.S Iyengar

To put it briefly, passive meditation is not the only way to develop the mind and body connection. Our everyday activity of walking, eating, cooking and cleaning, if done mindfully and with focus, constitutes active meditation. For instance, while performing a yoga asana, be mindful of how your body feels as you perform that action, the stretch and contraction of the working muscles and the rhythm of your breath. Imagine what the activity would be like for a child or for someone who had never experienced it before.

Therefore, let us all go active before we turn passive.

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