Dylan Warner on Meditation

One of my biggest yoga inspiration – Dylan Werner

Do you have a meditation practice?

Dylan: Well is meditation only sitting in one spot with the eyes closed? That’s what people think meditation is. How do you define meditation?

Me: Being still in both body and mind.

Dylan: How do you create stillness?
Me: Through breath.

Dylan: Which is movement.

Me: That’s true.

Dylan: How do you calm the mind?
Me: With the breath.
Dylan: Which is movement. We use the breath to slow down. But anybody who tries to meditate realizes you can’t control the mind.

Me: But I don’t think that’s the point.

Dylan: I’ve been studying “yogás citta-vrtti-nirodhah” (the second verse of the yoga sutra) and trying to understand all the different translations of what it means. The common translations of this sutra basically read: “Yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of the mind.” Generally something that has to do with ceasing, stopping, controlling the way that the mind vibrates and fluctuates. Vrttis – one of the translations is “modification”. What modifies the mind are emotions, thoughts, anger, happiness, these are the vrttis. Who you are… If it can be taken away from you then it’s not apart of who you are. If it can be taken away, how is that you? What is constantly making the mind move is not necessarily you, they are just things like emotions that come and go. And nirodhah, “cessation” or “removal”… Well the mind or mind stuff (citta) is something that is always thinking. That’s the purpose of the mind. To stop the purpose of the mind is impossibility. Even if you say, “I’m not thinking” you are still thinking. There is a saying: Trying to meditate is like trying to smooth water with your hands. The more that you try the worse that it gets.

Joseph Campbell talks about the mind being a body of water, like a lake. And “reality” is everything that happens above the water while our mind is the surface of the water. The vrttis would be any of the distractions, a lot of it is ego, these things that cause the ripples on the water like leaves and wind, it’s our ego, our emotions, all these things that distract us or change us. So when you look into the water, what you see is a reflection but it is a distorted reflection of reality. And this is where we live.

Meditation is finding stillness, not for the sake of just being still. If you do anything you have to understand what the point is. Why do we want to be still? Why do we want to let the thoughts come to rest? When all the things stop, the water becomes smooth, no fluctuations, it’s completely still and clear. So when you look into the water all you see is the reflection of the truth. Meditation is basically coming to this point of understanding of living in truth. One effective way to do that is to sit there, close the eyes, breath and allow you to come to rest. Another way is to challenge yourself in the most physical manner to bring yourself to the presence so the only thing you could experience is what is happening right now.

Before I started yoga I was a skydiver and I was looking to be present. I found my meditation in jumping out of planes. But once that became routine, my mind went to other places. When I found yoga I was still skydiving, but all of a sudden I had an intention behind what I was doing. To be present, to allow this laying to rest, or allowing to be or in the flow. Everything in nature moves in flow, moves in harmony. The stillness is moving. The stillness is constantly changing. Even if there is no movement at all.

Original yogis who started to meditate, I don’t think they all meditated with their eyes closed. This is what I did when I was on my vision quest: When you sit there in nature, you look out and lose the separation of what separates you from nature and you look to see how the outer nature of your surroundings reflect your inner nature. And then you understand what it means to be in that flow, what it means to settle in, to surrender to that. Meditation is a practice of surrendering to the now, that’s all it is. It can look like anything, but you are surrendering to the now. So however you do that becomes your meditation practice.

12 thoughts on “Dylan Warner on Meditation

  1. very beautiful post. thank youso muchfor sharing your kind views. really enjoy your writeup. keep sharing and stay in touch. if you want to know more about yoga and meditation then visit our blog or site if will definately help you . happy blogging

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  2. Awesome post Aarya! At one point I thought you were a skydiver 😀 Dylan Warner also on the top of my list of most inspirational. Have a great weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I remember I think you told me already. 🙂 But interesting to know that you’re teaching in Mumbai though! Robin Sharma enlightened me a lot over the last few weeks.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems to me that Mr. Werner isn’t a fan of being still, which is actually quite common. He tries to relate that he can achieve stillness of mind through physical exertion, but I think he’s missing something in his practice. Yes, you can still your mind by focusing all of your energy on one thing (advanced asana practice), but meditation is more than just quieting the mind.

        As you know, yoga means to “yoke” together mind, body, and spirit. In his style of athletic yoga, Werner joins body and mind by pouring energy out of one vessel and into another. In meditation, we can join our mind and body by turning our intention inward and listening to our higher selves, exerting as little energy as possible. The reason I’m not keen on Werner’s approach is that it’s all yang and no yin. There are some really wonderful insights and skills (like patience) that can be learned through sitting in silence that I don’t think would be possible with the distraction of a physical practice. When does he have time to listen to the back of his head if he’s always standing on it?

        To elaborate, I think Werner is wrong in saying stillness is impossible. We use the breath to join mind to body, not to control it. His particular form of physical exertion yoga, in my humble opinion, is escapism, and I think this is supported by the fact that he used to be an adrenaline junkie, as illustrated by his former skydiving hobby. I actually used to skate roller derby and have used running as a form of meditation, so I’ve experienced the grass on both sides of the fence. One’s not greener than the other, but Werner denies there’s grass at all on the yin side, which is a mistake.

        To conclude, I completely agree with Werner’s assertion that meditation is about “surrendering to the now,” and I think if he has trouble sitting then he has more to learn about what surrender truly is. I hope that’s clear and not too blunt or critical. I’m happy to discuss further.

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      2. Thank you so much. I’m impressed. I’m sure your life is very significant and you are experiencing something miraculous. I every saw him from this perception.
        It’s clear and definitely not blunt.
        Some things I learn from him about life is that nothing is impossible. We can reach the top in anything with sheer diligence and practice. How can a person be a musician, an athlete, a skydiver, a designer, a photographer, teacher, traveller, etc. and he gives 100% in doing what he wants to do.
        I remember, I came across an answer on his website that earlier he focused more on the physical aspects of yoga but later he discovered that yoga has other aspects as well. Now his practice has more time for meditation and he spends hours doing meditation.
        He’s Instagram captions are very insightful. He is aware of his strengths and weakness.
        Even I’m trying to understand those posts. Walking the talk is actual life❤️

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      3. I’m an open book. 🙂 Feel free to ask me anything, publicly or by email. jlbrowne85 at gmail. I had to stop following yogis on IG because I couldn’t keep my ego out of my practice, but I’m glad to hear that Werner continues to grow, as it is my wish for each and every one of us. Take care!

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