Friday, May 14, 2010

Yoga for Better Meditation

I had forgotten what a gift yoga can be for the body, until a few days into the retreat, when hours after hours of just sitting, and slow walking meditation, exacted their toll on my already stressed lower back. To my great surprise, not only did the yoga stretches help with keeping up with the retreat, but they also left me at the end with a much happier body. 

A sample of my early morning yoga routine during the retreat:

- Illustrations, from Yoga Circle website, with tribute to Gabriel Halpern, my first yoga teacher, from which I learned much of what I know about yoga! -

I adapted slightly to take into account contraindications for my lower back, and skipped Setubanda pose.

I also sprinkled these few poses throughout the day, as needed: neck stretches, shoulder rolls, eagle pose, half moon pose, chair pose, dog pose, and table stretch - most of them explained on Yoga Journal website here.

Yoga to take care of body aches. Yoga to stretch the limbs, and spine. Yoga to massage the muscles, and the internal organs. Yoga to prepare the body for sitting meditation. 

A keeper, not just for future retreats, but also every day life. 


  1. Asana practice really helps steady the mind for sitting meditation too! My teacher teaches an extra-long class about once a month where we do asana followed by pranayama and meditation. Yoga the way it was meant to be practiced, she says :)

  2. Absolutely! When pressed for time, instead of doing whole routine, I just do the downward dog pose before my daily sitting meditation.