Difference Between Yoga and Meditation


In the present-day world, people seem to use the words meditation and Yoga interchangeably. Such people think that both are the same. This article targets such people and educates them about the two practices. Both the words are totally different. In fact, they are bays apart.

Origin of Word Yoga

To understand the words, we should first understand the origin of the words. Let us first start with the word Yoga. This word is a Sanskrit word. In that language, the word means union. This word represents the connection between Soul and the Spirit. In reality, this word describes the state of union and the means to make that happen. An ancient sage from India PatanjalI has formulated the bible of Yoga. He discovered the Eight Limbs of Yoga. They are Yama, Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. According to this sage, these are the basic steps of Yoga. Thus, yogi is a person who has permanently attained the lofty state of spiritual union after passing through these stages.

Origin of Word Meditation

If you look closely, the word meditation comes from Dhyana, the Seventh Limb of Yoga proposed by the sage Pathanjali. It is essentially a state of awareness or consciousness. In the beginning, it is a spiritual state wherein the practicing yogi has become successful in turning his or her attention inward, and shutting off the senses and other outward distractions. By doing so, the yogi would have transcended the restless mind to reach inner self. Technically, one cannot meditate, instead he or she could do or practice certain things to bring about the state of meditation or dhyana.

Interplay of Yoga and Meditation

In reality, we practice certain things to bring about meditation or dhyana and ultimately reach Yoga or union. Sages make this happen by relaxing their body, calming their mind, and maintaining proper breathing to control the life force. The practices of yoga are truly designed to help one learn to control this life force. Prana is known as the subtle intelligent energy that sustains all the creations and is most correlated to the breath in man. In fact, one cannot wilfully do meditation (dhyana) or reach Yoga (union) until he or she learns to control this life force. Hence, Yoga practitioners devise methods to teach people who want to reap the benefits of meditation and Yoga. Therefore, the students of the Yoga class need to follow the instructions given by the practitioner.