If you've ever wondered if you're missing something by taking yoga classes in a busy gym setting, you aren't alone. Maybe it's the distracting setting with weights clanking in the background or the fact that these classes are designed to provide the best physical workout, but something about the way we do yoga in the West makes some master teachers cringe.
Many worry that something special has been lost in American-style yoga, and that something is meditation. Meditation, not postures, is the heart of yoga, they point out. In Patanjali's India, yoga and meditation were nearly synonymous, yet meditation plays only a minor role in many American yoga courses. In others, it is not taught at all.
Some yoga students regard meditation as boring cultural baggage and appreciate learning postures without it. It's OK if you never get into meditation. But if your experience with yoga has inspired you to go deeper into yogic spirituality, meditation is a wonderful place to start. Today, try to sit in the presence for just five minutes to see how it feels. If it feels good, you might consider working it into your daily routine.