Meditation is the central practice of Yoga. In the Raja Yoga system codified by Sri Patanjali, meditation is the seventh rung on the ladder to self-realization, preceded by withdrawal of the senses and concentration. Meditation leads to Samadhi – levels of enlightenment. On a practical level, meditation helps us organize our mind and emotions. It leads to greater self-awareness and awareness of the world around us. In a sense, it can be a tool for self-therapy as it helps us uncover the subtle forces of the subconscious mind and allows us to remove obstacles to our self-development.
In modern Yoga here in the west, people think of meditation in terms of a style or technique. People often ask “what type of meditation do you do?” In reality, meditation is purely a state of mind. There may be different means and methods to arrive at that state of mind. Some include breathing, mental focusing techniques, or mantra repetition. The main purpose of these techniques and methods are to bring the mind to a state of concentration. Without concentration, meditation is not possible. A disciplined mind is most fit for a consistent meditation practice.