15 Yoga Classes with Meditations — YOGA PRACTICE

Yoga is more than a physical practice, but is instead a path of toward spiritual enlightenment that combines mindfulness (meditation) with physical postures to facilitate physical and spiritual health.

Meditation is a key component of a well-rounded yoga practice. By joining guided breathing exercises with asana, a meditative practice has physical and emotional benefits beyond spiritual awareness. Meditation is associated with improved stress relief, coping skills (coping with stress, grief, or hardship), focus, and empathy toward others.

Meditation also has physical benefits: a regular meditation practice has been found to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, control pain, and can be both relaxing and energizing. Meditation helps manage depression and anxiety, and has been linked to increased immune system health.

Adding a meditative component to a yoga practice can help in calming the mind, relaxing muscles, and improving self-awareness.

Meditation is more than just breathing. While meditation focuses on controlled, purposeful breathing, it is also accompanied by visualizations, mindfulness, mantras, and self-reflection. The earliest yoga practitioners used poses (asana) as a mode of meditation. Poses should be used with meditation and breath-work to reach spiritual enlightenment. Therefore, a well-rounded yoga practice incorporates meditation and breathing with physical postures.

There are several types of meditation, and when paired with a physical yoga practice, can promote wellness in many areas. Meditation is a solitary practice, but there are benefits of starting with guided meditation in a class-setting — that is, not by oneself.

Meditation in a Class: Guided Meditations

While meditation is a solitary journey, many beginners find it helpful to begin meditation with the guidance of a teacher, in a class environment. This gives the foundation for the practice, and reduces the stress of practitioners wondering, “Am I doing this right?”

Beginners can introduce a meditation practice with the help of an instructor, who can guide posture, breathing technique, attention, and concentration. Classes can be in-person or remote, but having a classroom setting or an instructor is one of the easiest ways to get started, for those new to the practice.

Meditating with a guided class or instructor is the easiest way to begin focusing on the breath. Instructors can help facilitate a calm meditative session. Instructors can also continually reinforce the importance of breath, mantras, and intention during the class; this helps beginners whose mind wanders or struggles to concentrate. Incorporating regular classes into your meditative yoga practice can build duration and focus-and a stronger yoga practice.

Tips for Beginners

Posture: Sit cross-legged or lie comfortably on the floor in a quiet space. It is more important to be relaxed and comfortable than in one specific posture, so sit or lay in a way that is natural and comfortable. Keep your back straight, but not tense.
Close your eyes: This helps take away visual distractions and allows you to connect with your body and breath.
Breath: Breathe naturally-do not focus on controlled breathing at first. Relax the body and mind, and start by just observing your natural breath.
Attention: Focus your attention on breathing, how you feel, and how your body moves with each breath. When you get distracted or the mind wanders, gently draw your attention back to your body and breathing.
Duration: Meditation is an exercise in focus, which takes time to build up. Start with short sessions of 5–10 minutes each day. Set a timer with a gentle alarm sound.

Incorporate short sessions into your daily routine to help build familiarity and mental stamina.
Try instructor-led classes:
New to meditation in the yoga practice? Try using one of these 15 classes with guided meditations. Classes range from 10 to 45 minutes in length, and are suitable for most levels:

Easy Morning Yoga Meditation: 15 Minutes before Work

Yoga Meditation for Beginners: Meditation for Stress Relief

15-minute Sunrise Flow

30-minute Restorative Yoga with Meditation

Your Breath, Your Story: Mindful Movement with Jade Alectra

Meditation Vinyasa Flow: Cultivate Contentment

Hatha Yoga for Hips and Hamstrings

Happy Hips & Happy Heart: Vinyasa Heat flow

Full-Body Restorative Reset

Feel Good Yoga Flow

Hatha Flow: Deep Release for Hips, Hamstrings, & Lower Back

Divine Vinyasa Flow with Breath Work and Meditation

Beginner Morning Yoga Sequence to Wake Up

Yoga for Bloating and Digestive Health

10-minute Yoga before Bed: Winding Down and Relaxing

Bonus

For guided meditations only (no asana), try these instructor-led videos:
Meditation for Anxiety
Guided Meditation for Strength and Grounding
Breathing for Better Sleep
10-minute Morning Meditation for Positive Energy and Gratitude
Meditation for Positivity and Peace
Headspace: Meditation App for iPhone & Android

Summary

Meditation is an ongoing practice toward peace, wellness, and self-awareness. The earliest yogis taught “yoga” as both a spiritual and physical practice-more than poses, the full yoga experience should blend mindfulness and meditation with physical asana. By incorporating meditation into a yoga practice, this honors the roots of yoga and has positive physical and emotional benefits.

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Rebecca James

Having been a teacher’s assistant at over 50 yoga teacher trainings worldwide, Rebecca Rebecca has a firm grasp on the fine art of yoga and meditation. In her work, she carefully reflects on a vast expanse of knowledge to help others find peace in both body and mind.