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The power of yoga and transcendence
by Rolf Erickson

Transcendental Meditation Blog    Translate This Article
22 December 2013

''When you want a superior quality of action, then you should practise Yoga on all levels. Yoga is a good word, but it should be properly understood and practiced beyond the physical level. The result will be a rapid, holistic evolution of life.''
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Following are excerpts from a recent interview with yoga teachers Jenny and Ian O'Laughlin. Jenny and Ian are the owners of two yoga studios in the Detroit, Michigan area in the USA. They also practice the Transcendental Meditation technique and have found that the experience of transcendence is a powerful complement to experience gained through yoga practice.

Q: There's been an explosion of interest in yoga in recent years, with over 10 million people practicing yoga in the US today. Why now?

Today our society is so over-stressed, and yoga is a way to help us come back into balance. Yoga asanas bring more equilibrium to all systems of the body. They're good for the joints, and they support the cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems. . . .

Ian: When people discover yoga, they begin to feel empowered to take care of their own health. They feel so much better when they do yoga. It's a restorative practice they can do on their own. . . .

Q: When did you learn the TM technique?

I learned TM in college in 1994. It was a high-pressure environment, and TM helped me focus, discover what I really loved to study, and dramatically improved my health.

Jenny: I learned TM in 2007. I had wanted to meditate ever since I started yoga. I felt like something was missing in my practice. I tried so many different types of meditation, but I always felt restless, always looking at my watch, very antsy. It was very frustrating to me that I wasn't able to meditate.

When I met Ian, he told me that the TM technique was easy, but I didn't believe him. Then one day I met a TM teacher, and I felt so calm just being in her presence that I sensed TM could also bring that experience for me.

The moment I learned TM it was like falling in love. I felt like I had been a seeker before, and suddenly I was a knower. I was so grateful for that experience of transcending, after looking so long for a deeper experience of consciousness.

Q: Yoga has many meanings and connotations today—what does it mean to you?

Many people tend to think of yoga as a practice of postures. But TM gives the direct experience of yoga as a state of consciousness. It's an experience of the inner unity of life that you can achieve effortlessly through transcending.

Most people in the yoga world think of Samadhi or transcendence as something unattainable. Yet TM is a technique that plugs us into that transcendental consciousness right from the start.

Q: How are practice of yoga and the experience of Samadhi connected?

The classic text of yoga is called The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras describe eight limbs of yoga, which include development of personal virtues, the practice of asana or yoga postures, pranayama or breathing exercises, the practice of meditation, the experience of transcending, and the state of Samadhi or transcendental consciousness.

Maharishi points out in his translation of the Bhagavad Gita that transcendence, or Samadhi, can actually be the easiest limb to achieve. The TM technique allows our mind to experience Samadhi directly, and this helps the other limbs of yoga develop more effortlessly in our life.

Q: What is the value of adding the TM technique to a physical yoga practice?

Adding TM to yoga was like a godsend for me. When I learned TM I had a profound sense of coming home to myself, a deep peace and feeling of being connected with everything around me. I do feel that yoga prepared me for that, and also stimulated the desire for it.

Many people have told us that after learning TM they can go more deeply into their yoga practice, that they can do postures they've never done before. Everyone says they get more flexible, and their practice feels deeper and steadier.

Ian: What I see is that yoga practitioners are yearning for something more. When they learn TM it helps fill that void, it satisfies something deeper inside that they were seeking. Our students do yoga because they want to feel better, and they find that TM adds a new level of fulfillment.

Click here to read more of the interview, which is posted on Transcendental Meditation Blog.


Rolf Erickson is editor-in-chief of Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation Magazine. He and his wife, Renee, teach the TM program in Portland, Oregon.


Related posts:

1. Samadhi is the beginning, not the end of Yoga
2. The Yoga Sutra and Deep Meditation
3. Maharishi on the complete meaning of Yoga
4. Conference on Yoga and Naturopathy Focuses on TM and Science
5. Doing ''yoga'' with Russell Simmons

SOURCE: Excerpted from Transcendental Meditation Blog

Copyright © 2013 Maharishi Foundation USA

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