Taking The Mystery Out of Yoga

By Gretchen Karros


Yoga and the philosophy of the Yogic path has many different interpretations, explanations and definitions.  This monthly section is intended to enlighten, expand and inform both Yogis and non-Yogis about this very ancient science of well-being.


The topic for this month is:



First of all, it is important to know what meditation isn’t.  It is not concentration, or even praying (but it is close to that).  It can happen spontaneously for example, when you are in a state of reverie in nature, when playing an instrument, or even day-dreaming . These states only approximate meditation.


It is easy to learn the basics of meditation that are spelled out below but there are two important points to reach a deeper state than reverie – and that can only be accomplished by using the two “P’s”. They  are Practice and Patience!  Once you start getting over these hurdles, meditation becomes a practice that produces so many benefits, you will soon be “hooked.” and asking yourself why you didn’t start sooner.


Eastern religious people have been doing meditation since ancient times. With the introduction of Yoga in America over 100 years ago, there were only a few meditation groups (perhaps mostly Zen or Buddhism) who were aware of this practice because meditation is especially suited to “spiritual” types of people who are interested in going inward to find peace, quietness, or maybe “nirvana” or samadhi (two words meaning liberation and/or enlightenment.)  Besides Zen and Buddhism, that have become ever more available here, are now sharing the limelight with Transendental Meditation, Vipassana, (mindfulness), Tantra, Dhyana, Kundalini, and many other kinds of ways to “reach the summit” or seek spiritual understanding.


To learn a basic practice, one simply sits, but in a particular way.  One can sit in a chair, or sit on the floor with the back against a wall.  The back should be straight with the chin slightly tucked in, the arms folded on the legs.  If using a chair, put the feet flat on the floor and if using the wall, fold the legs together into a Lotus position, if possible.  The time allotted in the beginning could be as little as five minutes.  Simply be aware of each breath going in and out.  When a thought comes in, be aware of the content and return to the breath – always returning to the breath and not getting carried away with the content of the thought.


There will be a free meditation class starting on Thursday, June 3 at Ullola Yoga Center, Sarah and Laclede from 7:00 – 8:30 p..m.  It will be a weekly class, emphasizing a different style of meditation each week.  Class will meet every Thursday until August.  Call Angela Culbertson at 314-330-5717 or Gretchen Karros 314-772-8848.