When we practice yoga, we are participating in a unification. In fact, the word yoga, in Sanskrit, means, to merge, or to unite. When we practice, sailing gracefully from pose to pose, we actively connect our body, our breath, and our conscious mind.

But there’s a large meditative component to yoga that is frequently lost in translation in the West. It’s true we’re busy people. We lead busy lives. And not everyone is interested in the spiritual dimension of this multifaceted practice. Some people participate in yoga for its health benefits. Others are simply curious to investigate a new form of exercise.

But perhaps the spiritual component of yoga, often glossed over and neglected, is the one we should be paying attention to. Perhaps this ingredient we’re leaving out is the one that will turn our humdrum efforts into something rich, expansive, and nourishing.

Here are 6 quotes on yoga and meditation you can reflect on during your practice.

1. “Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you.” –Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

When we find a home in our breath, this is where our innermost selves become the most accessible to us. This innermost self connects us to the divine, the sublime. The breath can become the purest passageway to our inner lives.

A large component of every yoga practice is the connection to the breath. As you stretch into up-dog, sweep backward into down-dog, one of the central points of focus is the breath. When we match our breath to our movements, we are able to harness the prana, or life energy, that radiates from within.

2. “Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat.” –B. K. S. Iyengar

Yes, cultivating an awareness of what lies within is certainly a noble goal, but for a beginner yoga practitioner, this can be a daunting concept.

The wonderful thing about yoga is that when you apply yourself, when you’re working hard, when you’re dedicated to learning, lengthening, stretching, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, this is where growth happens.

Yes, there’s a spiritual, meditative dimension to yoga, but there is also a prevalent physical component that cannot be denied. To lean deeper into our poses, to sink heavier into our alignment, is to move closer to conscious awareness.

3. “The sun shines down, and its image reflects in a thousand different pots filled with water. The reflections are many, but they are each reflecting the same sun. Similarly, when we come to know who we truly are, we will see ourselves in all people.” –Ammachi

This poetic metaphor can help us better understand what it means to connect, not only to ourselves, but to the people around us in our everyday lives.

Yoga can be undertaken as a solitary endeavor, or as part of a group activity. In fact, many who practice yoga on a routine basis mix elements of individual practice with group practice.

Practicing yoga with a group can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Most especially when you’re able to foster a connection to those around you—even if they’re strangers. In fact, this exercise can be even more fulfilling if it’s practiced within a group of people you don’t know.

In application to Ammachi’s metaphor, we can think of the sun as an expression of prana. In the way that the sun’s reflection is captured in each individual pot of water, so too can we recognize the presence of the same life energy, the same prana, in the people around us.

The next time you step into your yoga studio, keep this metaphor in mind, and see if you can see the “reflection of the sun” in each person you encounter.

4. “Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal bliss and supreme joy in the end.” –Swami Sivananda

Perhaps one of the reasons many shy from the meditative component of yoga is because, well—it’s intimidating.

Sitting down to center your mind and concentrate on your thoughts can be a formidable task. It’s not something that comes easily to anyone. It’s a challenge across every spectrum, and has the potential to stir up unpleasant emotions and sensations.

But, as Swami Sivananda suggests, meditation is a worthwhile journey. It’s a journey that may have a rocky start (and this is entirely natural!), but almost invariably leads to a place of joy, beauty, and harmony.

5. “Whatever forms of meditation you practice, the most important point is to apply mindfulness continuously, and make a sustained effort. It is unrealistic to expect results from meditation within a short period of time. What is required is continuous sustained effort.” –Dalai Lama

Meditation, as we just discussed, is a journey. It is not a singular effort, but a collection of repeated attempts. And that’s how we should view our meditative practices: as an attempt. An attempt at listening. An attempt at stillness. There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s no incorrect way to meditate. If you’re coming to your meditative practice with intention and desire, that, in itself, is meditation.

The key to success in your efforts is persistence. Don’t give up if you have a bad day and your meditation feels as if it wasn’t as productive as you would have liked. That’s part of the process! Just keep at it.

6. “Do your practice and all is coming.” –K. Pattabhi Jois

This is perhaps the most important thing to remember about yoga. Do your practice. If you’re uncertain, do your practice. If you’re tired, do your practice. If you aren’t sure you’re doing it right, do your practice.

It is called yoga practice for good reason. It is an ever-changing, ever-evolving expedition we take, straight into the heart of ourselves, our bodies, our minds, our spirits. We must continue to practice. We must continue to take part in this unification of what is within and without. We must strive to see the reflection of the sun in others. And we mustn’t give up on ourselves, even when we’re having a difficult time.

Motivational quotes, like the ones featured above, have the power to inspire us, keep us focused, on track, and hungry for more. If you’re feeling that your yoga practice has lost some of its spark, perhaps write a few of these quotes down and put them up in a place you can see them each day. They can serve a gentle reminder of the journey at large, and what we all hope to achieve.

Author's Bio: 

Founded in 2003 by Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley Academy works with the best authors and the most innovative technology to provide learning experiences on personal growth, health and fitness, spirituality, productivity, mindfulness and more.

We serve over three million students, subscribers and followers worldwide, empowering our audience to lead healthier, happier lives and fulfill their greatest potential.We are ambitiously determined to change education globally and provide innovative, holistic education at all levels of life - from infancy to high school to late adulthood.

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