On the eightfold branches of Classical yoga, meditation, or dhyana, is the penultimate step to achieve samadhi, or self-realization. The practice of yoga ultimately allows the student to access the atman, or self, and in that manner come to know the brahman, or absolute reality. The word “yoga” literally means “union” in Sanskrit, and its practice joins the individual with the universal. By knowing yourself, you understand how the world relates to you, and meditation mediates this interaction.
is a natural pain and stress management technique developed by Mikao Usui and based on the principles of Buddhism and Shintoism. Reiki, from the Japanese words “rei” (spirit) and “ki” (energy), accesses the universal life force through the practitioner, who channels healing energy through the patient by the laying on of hands. The Shinto religion believes that energy (kami) flows from both animate and inanimate objects while the Buddhist tenets that Usui followed involved chakras, or energy sites, in the body that can be activated by practice, just as in yoga.
On the eightfold path of Classical yoga, the asanas, or positions, are one of the physical ways, along with pranayama, or regulated breathing, to attain samadhi, or self-enlightenment. Yoga asanas can be performed standing up, seated or lying down; they can be structured in terms of how they’re performed and in which order, such as in Bikram yoga, or free-flowing and at the whim of the yoga instructor. However, yoga asanas are all designed to ultimately challenge the student’s flexibility and motor control.
The surya namaskar, or sun salutation, series of yoga asanas is ideal for the beginning student.