Why it is important to integrate both asana and meditation in Chiang Mai Yoga
Chiang Mai, has many opportunities for all to practice, from Hatha Yoga to Vinyassa Yoga, the dilemma is where is the best place to find the opportunity to practice real yoga, not just with working with the yoga postures as it is the primary focus as in western yoga. Finding a yoga school that applies the way to really integrate the deeper aspects of yoga, as it was originally taught by the real yoga masters of the pass could be a little difficult, like trying to find a needle in a haystack, if we take the foundation practices which are the yoga asanas (postures) and incorporate the higher elements of yoga science which is yoga meditation (Raja Yoga), then we are heading on the right direction on the path to really receiving the true benefits of what yoga truly has to offer. Really there are no best schools, as each yoga practitioner has their different preferences when it comes to yoga and each school has its own methods which the practicing yogi would appreciate. Generally there are very few schools in Chiang Mai that offer that interrogation in their classes of yoga asana and real yoga meditation together, possibly due to lack of experience. Some schools or ashrams in India do offer that kind of integration, though again the dilemma here is one element may be compromised, which is generally the yoga asana part, this is where western yoga teachers come into play, as the yogis of the west do have a great way of working with the basics and sometimes in India the basics could be flawed in some way, saying that there is a yoga school in Indian, that seems to have integrated away with working with all aspects of yoga that some yogis would appreciate, the school known as Bihar school of yoga founded by Satyananda Saraswati in 1963.
Chiang Mai is a great place to live and study, with many opportunities to learn many different disciplines, though generally many yoga practitioners will not have the opportunity to practice with all the schools and teachers that are available to them here, especially when it comes to yoga. One thing to remember is what is the purpose of why you are practicing yoga?, if it is just for the yoga asana to increase flexibility or to be concern more with the bodily dynamics, than really it cannot be called yoga but some form of gymnastics instead.
Why is it important to develop the higher levels and with whom?
To answer that question we have to look at the dynamics of how the energy in the body works and also have an understanding in the energy cycles of our lives as we start to age, the body is machine and when we were young reaching into our teenage years the body had access to vast amounts of energy reserves, allowing people at that age to work on their yoga practices more dynamically as in Ashtanga Yoga of Mysore India, as we progress in the our cycle of life, the energy dynamics of the body change, which start to leave the body with less power and energy then in adolescents, this should signify to most that lifestyle changes need to be applied on how one is practicing their yoga, when we go deeper in that cycle around say 40 years of age, our yoga practice should deeply change into something that can integrate the way the energy of the body is changing and transforming , the yoga focus should balance out with more introspection (meditation), if we wish to work with the meditational aspects of yoga practice, we need to have the right environment and the right teacher’s who have not only good yoga asana experience, but also have deeper yoga meditational experience in their own practices, it cannot be an intellectual understanding of what a teacher has learned from reading yoga books, but a real deeper experience of what the yoga teacher has experienced in his or hers own yoga meditational practices and hopefully that teacher has also gained some insight into what is meditation and how to help and guide others on their journey into their meditation, the famous concept is the blind cannot lead the blind, comes to mind.
When practicing yoga we have to have a deeper respect to our purpose, the real aspects of yoga are losing their essence as more and more yoga teachers are coming into the frame, if one can find teachers and schools here in Chiang Mai that can help the yoga student to invest time in both aspects of their yoga practices, asana (physical) and meditation (spirit) then at least when coming to learn to practice yoga in Chiang Mai Thailand, one can say they are practicing real yoga.
We have 3 evening yoga and meditation classes, those who have any interest can check Yoga and Meditation Chiang Mai fore more info.