how is yoga different from meditation

How Is Yoga Different From Meditation?

It’s a common misconception that yoga and meditation are the same. They share certain characteristics, yet each is identical to the other. These two methods couldn’t be more different in many crucial respects. The yoga way of living incorporates meditation. The goal of meditation is mental calm, while the practice of yoga includes both physical and mental workouts. Asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises) form the backbone of yoga, while meditation is the focus behind the practice.

Yoga and meditation are only two examples of mindfulness practises that can have a positive impact when incorporated into daily life. Keep reading to learn the basics of yoga and meditation, as well as the differences between the two.

Yoga: What Is It?

In ancient Sanskrit, the word yoga meant “union.” In this sense, the practitioner becomes one with the greater forces of the cosmos. When people talk about “doing yoga,” they refer to both the spiritual connection of body and mind and the practice of bringing about that union.

Mental, physical, and spiritual practises make up the Indian tradition known as yoga. Different postures and breathing techniques are used. When someone says they are “doing yoga,” they mean exactly that. Some forms of yoga are easier than others, and there are many to choose from.

Yoga positions come in a wide variety as well. Forwards bend and supported back bends are examples of calming poses, whereas arm balances and sun salutations are energising poses.

To activate the sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flight” reaction) in yoga, the “activating poses” are typically done first. They’re followed by restorative poses that soothe the body and mind by stimulating the parasympathetic nerve system. The most common forms of yoga done today are:

Hatha Yoga: In hatha yoga classes, the poses and how the body is aligned are given much attention. Each physical stance has a corresponding breathing practice, and vice versa, to facilitate the free flow of breath throughout the body.

Ashtanga Yoga: This session is a vigorous physical yoga practice based on predetermined pose sequences. Sun salutations serve as a gateway to more advanced postures and sequences.

Vinyasa: This method often combines Yoga positions into one continuous flow. This indicates that every breath is separate and that you must stay in the here and now if you want to keep up. This kind of yoga incorporates various poses and difficulty levels, making it appropriate for practitioners of all experience levels. Vinyasa is the most well-known contemporary yoga practice.

Yin –a class that takes time and holds positions for three to five minutes to promote relaxation and health. Yin yoga, which is more about stillness than movement, complements the more dynamic styles of yoga. Yin is also not so much a physical as it is a mental and meditative practice.

Antaranga Yoga –This line of yoga practice abandons asana (posture) and pranayama (breathwork) for the meditative states of Dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (meditation). This style of yoga has been called a “yoga meditation” because of its resemblance to meditative practises.

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Meaning Of Meditation

As the seventh limb of yoga (Dhyana), meditation is an integral aspect of the yoga way of life. Meditation is the practice of stilling the mind and expanding awareness beyond the confines of any one idea. The goal is to strengthen one’s mental fortitude and access a higher state of consciousness.

Meditation aims to train one’s mind to be fully present in the moment without letting any other thoughts enter or influence it. Concentration on a single thing or symbol is common. The difficulty of meditation often exceeds first expectations. Though they are distinct practices, yoga and meditation, aim to help you calm your mind and feel more connected to the rest of your life.

Currently, the most popular forms of meditation are:

Mindfulness Meditation: this method focuses on the here and now. One common technique for maintaining presence is to focus on one’s breathing or to develop a heightened awareness of internal states. Awareness of the present moment is the primary goal of mindfulness meditation practises such the body scan, thought observation, and breathing exercises.

Vipassana Meditation: Silence and introspection are central to this form of meditation. To be properly introduced to Vipassana and delve deeply into the practice, one must complete a 10-day silent retreat.

Moving Meditation – a different method that emphasises motion instead of stillness. In this mindfulness exercise, you’ll concentrate on your physical motions, such as walking, to increase your awareness of the here and now.

Yoga And Meditation Benefits

Better Mental Health

When combined, yoga and meditation’s mental and physical health benefits are even greater. Mindfulness is a component of both meditation and yoga; it facilitates the presence of the mind through breathing exercises that direct attention inward, away from the chattering, wandering mind. 

The mental health advantages of both yoga and meditation are similar. Both activities require sustained mental concentration, which is good for mental health. Unlike traditional meditation, when attention is entirely on the breath, yoga meditation focuses on both the breath and the body’s movements.

Enhances Cardiovascular Health

The physical advantages of yoga and meditation are numerous. The sympathetic nervous system benefits from yoga. If your blood pressure is up due to stress, meditation can help bring it down. Those who regularly engage in parasympathetic nervous system-activating practises like yoga and meditation are more likely to see a decrease in heart rate. An elevated heart rate is often seen as a health risk. 

Daily meditators tend to have slower heart rates than the general public. If you suffer from constant chest pain due to stress, you may find relief through meditation. Always check with a doctor or medical professional before beginning a yoga or meditation practice since it may be a sign of a more serious condition.

Cognitive Changes

The brain undergoes profound, beneficial changes from doing yoga and meditation. Yoga has been shown to enhance memory and learning. The breathing techniques of meditative practice bring more oxygen to the brain. Therefore, you will gain similar benefits to yoga and enhanced awareness and concentration.

Yoga Vs Meditation: What’s The Difference?

Individual Versus Group Settings

The vast majority of yoga sessions occur in a group setting. You can practise it on your own at home, just like any other kind of physical activity. On the other hand, yoga is typically practised in a group setting with the guidance of an instructor. However, meditation is typically done in silence and solitude. 

Although there are opportunities to meditate with others, such as at a retreat, the practice is mostly done on one’s own. After all, working on one’s emotional and mental steadiness is usually done privately. Group yoga classes, which can last more than an hour, are a great way to push yourself to practise consistently. Since most meditation sessions last 10-20 minutes, using an app alone is required to complete the practice.

Your Point Of Concentration

There is a subtle distinction between the concentration required for yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation aim to help you live more fully in the here and now. Yoga, on the other hand, is about more than just looking after your body. On the other hand, the central focus of meditation is on the breath. In contrast to meditation’s more mental focus, yoga’s holistic approach incorporates both your mental and physical health benefits. 

After all, our thoughts usually need to be enhanced to boost our spirits, vitality, and general health. But that shouldn’t make you think yoga isn’t worthwhile. Through asana (yoga posture) practice, we can get into a higher spiritual realm. However, you should prioritise the one that serves your immediate needs. Ten minutes of meditation can do wonders for your mental state. Physical asana practice might help you get in shape.

Energy Use

Yoga requires more physical effort than meditation does. Yoga’s physical postures and breathing techniques drain stamina more quickly than sitting quietly. During a yoga session, you’ll move through a series of yoga positions designed to build strength and flexibility. Both asana yoga and hot yoga may be intense workouts that leave you feeling the burn. You can focus on your breathing whether you’re seated or lying down. 

It is not uncommon for people to nod off during a guided meditation practice. Consider a yoga session if you need a way to release pent-up vigour. But if you want to quiet your thoughts, meditation may be a better option.

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The Two Are Interconnected

The goal of yoga is to bring mental and physical calm and harmony. Yoga has a physical and mental component, with meditation playing an important role. Physical yoga poses are just one part of a well-rounded yoga routine. One practice of mindfulness that occurs naturally during yoga is concentration on the physical body. 

Instead, you may pay attention to your breathing as you meditate. However, combining yoga with meditation is the secret to a long and healthy life. Both are essential to maintaining a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. It unifies the various physiological processes in the organism.

Our Senses

Yoga and meditation provide slightly different sensory experiences. When meditating, it is common to close one’s eyes to remove visual distractions and concentrate solely on one’s breathing. To fully experience the benefits of yoga, it is important to keep your eyes open and move your body in a variety of asanas. Yoga and meditation are distinct in this way. Sitting still with closed eyelids during meditation makes it much simpler to become aware of oneself. It will also be easier to notice any bodily problems as they crop up throughout a yoga session. 

However, you would be able to sense the unpleasantness of it in meditation. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you notice it visually or tactilely; the only thing that changes is how you react to it.

Various Postures

Sitting or reclining flat on your back are common positions for meditators. You won’t change positions much during the practice because of how still you need to be. When you first begin doing yoga, you may find some postures too difficult or too taxing for your body. If trouble walking prevents you from meditating, consider sitting still instead. If you have trouble sitting still, you may find that the many different yoga poses are exactly what you need.

Which Is Better For My Health: Yoga Or Meditation?

Integrating meditative practices like yoga into your everyday routine can yield several benefits. Yoga is a great exercise to help you lose weight. Instead, try meditation to reap meditative benefits, such as better breath control and lessened tension. There are several advantages to both methods. Yoga meditation is a great way to blend the two practices.

Yoga And Meditation: Combining The Two

When combined, the benefits of yoga and meditation extend far beyond the realm of mental health, and include, for example, better sleep and longer life. Try yoga if you want to get stronger; try meditation to get healthier mentally. However, to maximise the benefits of meditation and yoga, practise both regularly (even for a few minutes each day).

Doing a few yoga positions (or even just some calming poses in bed) and then meditating for five to ten minutes first thing in the morning can set you up mentally for success no matter what the day brings.

You will want to experiment with lengthier lessons and meditations as your practice develops and seek to cultivate a stronger connection to your inner self. Remember that your true self is the compass that will lead you safely through life.


Yoga and meditation are two different things that have some similarities, but they are also very different in many important ways. Yoga focuses on how the mind and body are connected spiritually, while meditation focuses on making the mind calm. Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Antaranga Yoga are the most well-known types of yoga.

Yoga is an old Sanskrit word that means “union,” and it includes practices for the mind, body, and spirit. It has a lot of different poses and breathing methods. The poses can be relaxing or energising. The goal of yoga is to wake up the sympathetic nervous system, while the goal of meditation is to train the mind to be fully present in the moment.

Mindfulness meditation, which focuses on the present moment, Vipassana meditation, and moving meditation, which focuses on movement instead of stillness, are the most famous types of meditation. Yoga and meditation are both good for your mental and physical health. For example, they can improve your mental health, make your heart healthier, and make your heart healthier.

In the end, yoga and meditation are two different things that can help you in your daily life. Both practices are meant to make people’s minds stronger and help them feel more connected to the rest of their lives. Before you start yoga or meditation, you should talk to a doctor or other medical professional because it could be a sign of a more serious problem.

Yoga and meditation have been shown to have big effects on the brain, like making it easier to remember things and learn new things. Meditation’s breathing methods bring more oxygen to the brain, giving it the same benefits as yoga and making it easier to focus and be aware. Most yoga sessions are done with a group, while most meditation is done alone and in peace.

Yoga and meditation are both about the breath, but meditation is more about the body. Yoga is more about how you breathe, while meditation is more about how you feel in your body. Both practices are linked, and the goal of yoga is to bring calm and balance to mind and body.

Yoga and meditation offer different sensory experiences. In yoga, you have to keep your eyes open and do different poses, called asanas, to get the full effects. Meditation helps you control your breath and feel less stressed, and yoga meditation is a great way to combine the two.

When yoga and meditation are done together, the benefits go beyond mental health and include better sleep and living longer. To get the most out of both ways, use them regularly, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.

You can set your mind up for success by doing a few yoga poses and relaxing for five to ten minutes in the morning. As your practice gets better, try longer lessons and meditations and try to build a stronger link to your inner self. Remember that your real self is the compass that will help you get through life safely.

Content Summary

  • Yoga and meditation, while sharing some characteristics, are distinct practices with different objectives and methods.
  • The practice of yoga includes both physical and mental exercises, whereas meditation’s goal is mental calmness.
  • Yoga’s foundation consists of Asanas (poses) and Pranayama (breathing exercises), while meditation concentrates on mental focus.
  • Both yoga and meditation are mindfulness practices that can positively impact daily life.
  • In ancient Sanskrit, yoga means “union,” symbolising a spiritual connection of body and mind.
  • Yoga involves various postures and breathing techniques, with different forms offering varying levels of difficulty.
  • Calming poses in yoga include forward bends and supported back bends while energising poses include arm balances and sun salutations.
  • Yoga starts with “activating poses” to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, followed by restorative poses to calm the body and mind.
  • Hatha Yoga emphasises alignment and corresponding breathing practice with each physical stance.
  • Ashtanga Yoga is a vigorous practice with predetermined pose sequences, beginning with sun salutations.
  • Vinyasa Yoga is a continuous flow that integrates various poses, making it suitable for all experience levels.
  • Yin Yoga focuses on holding positions for extended periods to promote relaxation and is considered more meditative.
  • Antaranga Yoga emphasises meditative states such as Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (meditation).
  • Meditation in yoga is the practice of stilling the mind and accessing higher consciousness.
  • The primary goal of mindfulness meditation is to maintain awareness of the present moment through techniques like body scans and thought observation.
  • Vipassana Meditation requires silence and introspection, often involving a 10-day silent retreat.
  • Moving Meditation emphasises physical motion, like walking, to increase awareness of the present moment.
  • Combined, yoga and meditation can enhance both mental and cardiovascular health.
  • The practices of yoga and meditation have been shown to decrease blood pressure and heart rate, beneficial for heart health.
  • Both yoga and meditation have positive cognitive changes, enhancing memory, learning, and concentration.
  • Yoga is often practised in group settings with an instructor, while meditation is typically practised in solitude.
  • Yoga’s focus includes mental and physical health, while meditation concentrates mainly on mental well-being and breath focus.
  • Yoga requires more physical effort and can be an intense workout, while meditation involves sitting quietly.
  • The practices of yoga and meditation are interconnected, with yoga, including meditation bringing mental and physical harmony.
  • Yoga and meditation offer different sensory experiences, with yoga emphasising open eyes and movement and meditation focusing on closed eyes and stillness.
  • Meditation usually involves sitting or lying still, while yoga includes various postures and movements.
  • Both yoga and meditation offer unique health benefits, and their combination can provide well-rounded support for mental and physical well-being.
  • Yoga is often seen as a means to lose weight and gain strength, while meditation is known for breath control and reducing tension.
  • Combining yoga and meditation extends their benefits beyond mental health, including better sleep and potentially longer life.
  • Even practising yoga and meditation for a few minutes each day can contribute to a successful start to the day.
  • As your practice develops, you may experiment with lengthier sessions to strengthen your connection to your inner self.
  • Yoga focuses on a spiritual connection, unifying the practitioner with cosmic forces.
  • Energising poses in yoga, such as sun salutations, activate the “fight or flight” reaction.
  • Contemporary yoga practice like Vinyasa is widely popular, integrating various poses and difficulty levels.
  • The slower and more meditative Yin Yoga complements more dynamic styles of yoga.
  • Meditation, as the seventh limb of yoga, strengthens mental fortitude and is essential in the yoga way of life.
  • The practice of Moving Meditation offers a unique approach to mindfulness by concentrating on physical motions.
  • Regular practice of yoga and meditation can decrease heart rate and provide relief from stress-related chest pain.
  • Yoga is typically practised in a group setting, fostering consistent practice, whereas meditation often utilises apps for individual sessions.
  • The concentration in yoga extends to both breath and body movement, differing from meditation’s exclusive focus on breath.
  • Yoga’s physical postures may leave you feeling the “burn,” whereas meditation may sometimes induce sleep.
  • Both yoga and meditation unify various physiological processes, contributing to overall well-being.
  • The sense of vision is more engaged in yoga, while meditation often involves tactile or visual awareness.
  • If physical difficulties prevent meditation, yoga’s variety of poses might be beneficial, and vice versa.
  • Both yoga and meditation can be integrated into daily routines for diverse health benefits.
  • Yoga meditation blends the practices of yoga and meditation for a harmonious experience.
  • Experimenting with the practices of yoga and meditation allows for personal growth and understanding of one’s inner self.
  • The word Antaranga in Antaranga Yoga refers to a yoga practice that resembles meditative practices.
  • Different forms of yoga cater to varying preferences and needs, from the intense Ashtanga Yoga to the still Yin Yoga.
  • The practices of yoga and meditation are not only about physical or mental well-being but also about achieving a deeper spiritual connection with oneself and the universe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Yoga Similar To Meditation?

Both meditation and yoga have elements of mindfulness incorporated into their practices, which helps you live in the present moment via breathing exercises where you focus on your breath instead of that busy, wandering mind.

Why Yoga Is Better Than Meditation?

Yoga incorporates more aspects, such as physical poses and breathing exercises, than just meditation. Like meditation, yoga also focuses on developing discipline, concentration and balance. Meditation is aimed towards mental training. Only a few exercises focus on physical health.

Is Yoga A Part Of Meditation?

The main difference from yoga is that meditation is performed after yoga when your body is filled with vibrations, and it is also part of it. Meditation helps to gain stable conditions in both mind and body. That is why it is executed after a yoga session.

Which Yoga Is More Meditation?

Yin yoga. Yin yoga is a slow-paced style with seated postures that are held for longer periods. Yin can also be a meditative yoga practice that helps you find inner peace.

Is It Better To Do Yoga Or Meditate First?

Ideally, Derfuss says meditation is best after yoga and breathwork since these practices balance the nervous system and stimulate your subtle energy. However, if you don’t do yoga or breathwork, she recommends practising after exercise.