The key teaching in the first book of the Yoga Sutras is the verse: “Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ.” While a number of different translations for this Sanskrit (the primary holy language of Hinduism) line exist, they all essentially mean the same thing: “Yoga is a quieting of the mind.”Another interpretation which I love is:

“Yoga is the neutralization of the waves of feeling.”

Yes! If you can visualize thoughts as vibratory waves, propagating as concentric rings from the mind outward into the world, then you get a good representation of the manifesting powers of waking consciousness.

Propagation of a Mirage - DrNickCampos

By envisioning these propagating waves of feeling, we can see how our desires and fears, likes and dislikes, attachments and repulsions drive our perceptible experiences, and ultimately become manifest in the world. So yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ is a neutralizing (I love this term) of the thought waves of feeling, which is the goal of yoga—to be thought-less (without thought), to quiet the mind. It is within this quieting that meditation—and ultimately samadhi, or union—takes place. ~ Dr. Nick Campos, Seeking The Self Through Meditation

This excerpt from my upcoming book illustrates the final goal of yoga—union—along with its means: quieting the mind. Silence and union are the hallmarks of a complete yoga practice, which according to the Yoga Sutras includes eight limbs, or observances, that lead to the ultimate state of samadhi. While Patanjali (author of the Sutras) outlines one clear path to union, by no means does it stand alone; in fact, within the Hindu based philosophies, a number of equally viable alternative paths exist. The eight limbed yoga of Patanjali, however, is an excellent foundation for beginners, of which asanas or poses (what we typically refer to as yoga here in the west) are an essential limb. A weakened, tight, restricted and painful body is not really conducive to yoking, so if one cannot sit comfortably in silence (meditation), samadhi is rather unlikely.

While asanas are essential to yoga, true yoga comes from quieting the mind. Regular silencing has massive effects on the body (backed by extraordinary research), mind (more studies), and character (yup, studies even here). But the most valuable benefits which come from silence cannot be understood by mere words—they must be experienced.

Seeking The Self Through MeditationI believe every serious yoga student deserves to have this experience, and that is why I have created Seeking The Self Through Meditation, a twelve-hour comprehensive course on the meditative components of yoga.  The course covers technique, philosophy, movement and silence, the necessary foundations for a powerful yoga practice. This course is as much experiential as it is theoretical. While history and philosophy lay the ground work, this course uncovers tested and proven techniques for entering and maintaining  a state of “mindlessness,” along with multiple opportunities to practice during guided meditations. Additionally, this course addresses some of the physical obstacles to maintaining a long-term sitting posture, and the specific corrections to removing them.

I am offering this course to yoga, fitness and dance studios as a way for their instructors or members to deepen an already existing asana practice. It means little if your current asanas are traditional, gym training or dance, your practice/workout/sport/art will all benefit from the principles emphasized in this course. Further, you will learn ancient secrets to a complete body, mind and spirit vibrancy—timeless teachings of Self-awareness that are the spark of immortality.

For bookings: contact drnick@drnickcampos.com

2 Responses to Taking Your Yoga Practice to the Next Level

  1. Carol Gardner says:

    Over the years I have tried meditating and am not good at it. Have not tried yoga. Attended a couple of workshops to learn about these modalities and just did not seem to “fit.” My method of mind quieting is to do physical labor–as in gardening, home maintenance, and even snow shoveling. Do meditators and practitioners of yoga have better experiences? When I work outdoors, I feel enraptured and am captivated by nature. I have never seen “working meditation” addressed. Does such a thing exist?

    • Dr. Nick Campos Dr. Nick Campos says:

      Meditation is a quieting of the mind. It is not “mindfulness,” although mindfulness is necessary to enter a true state of meditation. And even meditation isn’t the final goal—samadhi or union is. So it is a progression.

      Saying all that, anything done within a consciousness of non-separateness, or oneness, is acting within the Supreme awareness. So one can certainly connect to the Self while gardening. In fact, the goal of Karma Yoga is to see and be the divine in all actions—or as some teachings state: acting in “Krishna consciousness.”

      But again, meditation is a tool, not the end goal, and as a tool it requires practice. Never is any attempt at meditation wasted, because like practicing the piano (you can tap into Mozart when in Krishna consciousness :) ) each attempt strengthens the neurons that control focus and release.

      Thank you for the great question/comment, Carol. I would love to bring my course to your community, so if you can get a medium to large group of people together, I will travel. Contact me via Twitter if that would be something of interest and benefit to you.

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