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What's the difference between meditation and yoga?

The meaning of the word "yoga" is "to yoke or to join, to achieve the unification of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness and harmony between the mind and body. It means that the inner universal mind calms the agitation and escapes the external bondage. In this way, yoga is more than what we now know as an exercise. Yoga is, in fact, a philosophy and a way of cultivating the mind and body. In the broad sense of yoga, of course, meditation was also included, and the ultimate purpose was to take control of the mind and find the True self. In modern times, with the popularity of yoga as an exercise, its philosophy and primary purpose not given much attention. Yoga and meditation emerged as two separate disciplines.

In the past, the two were fully connected. The yoga movements we know now were originally prepared to make the body suitable for long meditation. I feel that it was in order to get out of the mind that is tied to the body and get away from the me that is tied to the mind. In the end, from the point of view that meditation was the purpose of the yoga movements, it would not be wrong to say that the ultimate purpose of yoga is meditation.

But it is not a bad thing to approach yoga only as an exercise. Numerous movements release the body's chi energy and restore the balance of the internal organs. When you breathe while exercising, oxygen is supplied to each cell. The sympathetic nerves and the parasympathetic nerves find a balance in harmony by the repeated tensioning and relaxing the body.

Then, what really is meditation? It is emptying your mind. Let's think about the inside of your head that never seems to be at rest. Where do these countless thoughts come from? Studies have shown that on average a person has 60,000 thoughts per day. It is almost impossible to control a mind that is racing here and there. These countless thoughts arise from all the pictures of my life’s experiences that I hold in my mind. From these images I defined the world, others and myself and live trying to maintain this illusion built out of pictures. On top of that I inherited the effects from my ancestor’s pictures both biologically and from association. Meditation clears the mind of these pictures we hold that confine our consciousness. When my mind becomes emptied of these images that create a false reality, I can finally find my inner truth.

What I have learned from practicing yoga and meditation for 18 years is that whatever its name is, we should not lose the essence and primary purpose. In the end, the purpose of yoga and meditation is to put an end to the delusional mind that was just created out of our life’s experiences and being freed to find our true mind and true self. Truth exists within me and finding the Truth within me is a long journey on your own. If there is really a way to empty your mind and be reborn as the true you, that would be true meditation and yoga.

The most important thing is that yoga and meditation do not have to be difficult. It's easy to get started if you think of it as a tool that allows you to quietly empty your mind and find peace and balance in your body and mind. Once your mind is freed from its delusions you will also have great peace living in harmony with the world. You don't have to be too serious; you don't have to be a truth-seeker. These simple principals can work for anybody. If you understand meditation as a way to find true meaning in your life by finding the truth within, then you can achieve true peace and happiness.

I'm attaching a video to help you understand meditation more easily. May everyone find their true self!

Written by Mago Kim

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