Are Holen, founder of Acem Meditation, Norway, speaks to Priti Agrawal about meditative yoga. The interview was printed in Speaking Tree, published by The Times of India, on 16 November 2012.
What is meditative yoga?
Meditative yoga is a special way of doing Hatha Yoga, very different from the hurried, sweaty, gym-like yoga of many schools around the world. It is in line with Patanjali’s chitta-vritti-nirodha and of slow movements that are well-coordinated with deep and unforced breathing. The attention is, initially directed towards the movements, later towards breathing, and finally, towards the wholeness of the postures. Meditative yoga brings the mind to silence and focuses on slow movement yoga with abdominal breathing for maximum relaxation.
After an interview with Acem’s founder Dr Are Holen in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, one of the several hundred readers who went ahead and learned the technique asked for the advice of a local yoga teacher who writes for the paper:
I joined a beginner’s course and found it very stimulating. Years ago I practised meditation based on maintaining the right attitude towards the world and oneself, as well as visualisations. In contrast, the Acem method places no importance on any of this, but is simply based on repeating a sound mentally for half an hour twice a day. Nor is there any emphasis on the breath. And instead of the classic lotus position, you sit in a chair with support in your lower back. … What do you think?
The yoga teacher appears to be open-minded:
As I often tell my students: “If you’re ok with it, then it’s ok.” Let each person take advantage of whatever can help him become more mature, more balanced and more wise.