Advanced Yoga Practices

Main lessons

by Yogani

Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 147 - Sequencing of Asanas, Pranayama and Meditation

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, “Why This Discussion?”

From: Yogani
Date: Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:31pm

Q: I combine some other strengthening exercises like push ups, squats, etc. along with yoga. Some of these exercises consume lots of energy. So, when I follow this with pranayama & meditation, I feel the ‘freshness’ of the meditation is reduced due to the other activities. So, is it alright if I first do the meditation and then do the Yoga/Exercises and then pranayama? I would like your suggestion to resolve this problem. Thanks a lot for the continued guidance.

A: Thank you for writing and sharing.

As you have figured out, exercise is best done after meditation, not right before. With meditation, we are systematically bringing the mind and body to stillness. This stillness is a primary source of all spiritual progress.

Asanas and pranayama are part of this process of going to stillness. With easy bending and stretching we begin to quiet the nerves, and prepare the spinal nerve for pranayama. With pranayama, we further quiet our entire nervous system and cultivate it in a way that prepares it for deep meditation. That is the traditional sequence for best results in a routine of practices — asanas, pranayama, and meditation. And it really does work.

I suggest you consider doing the easy bending and stretching portion of your asanas at the beginning, then do pranayama, and then meditation, so you can get the full benefit of the above-mentioned sequence. After meditation and adequate rest coming out, then it is a good time to do more vigorous physical exercise.

So, first we do those things in the best order to take us in to pure bliss consciousness, and then we come out refreshed and ready to be active in the world. Vigorous activity after meditation is not a problem once we have taken time to come completely out. Activity helps stabilize the bliss and ecstasy in our nervous system. That is how we transform to become the walking enlightened, instead of the walking whatever we were before.

The guru is in you.

Note: For a detailed overview on building a daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.

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