Old thread but bumped into this today. Meditation like Yoga is taken to cheaply these days, when Classically Meditation "Dhyana" is a very advanced stage. I wrote this somewhere else and borrowed some words from Swami Laxman joo
There is Yoga and the process of Yoga, at both times one can be considered a yogi if they are sincerely engaged within the process.
The study/practice of patanjali as complimentary to Bhagavad Gita, its a great aid. Yoga or the state of yoga only happens when one reaches niruddha. We sometimes consider that Yoga is like the rung of ladder, but in fact there is only the stages of the mind, and within the yoga system these stages are kṣipa, agitated state, the ordinary state of the human being, where mind just moves from one state to the next without any real purpose direction or meaning. Second is vikṣipa where one applies Sadhana to control the mind from wandering. Then comes third state of mind when you are bent upon putting it on one point with concentration. That is called ekāgratā, one-pointed. This understanding and practice can applied very nicely to Japa. And afterwards the state of mind comes in such a way that it becomes nirudha, it does not go away at all. If you drive it away it won’t go, it will go to one point. That is nirudhāvāsta, that is when this mind has taken the position of nirudhāvāsta. Nirudhā-vāsta is one-pointedness, automatic, when you have not to drive him again back and back to return to his point.
When one reaches Nirudha one has attained the stage of Yoga, perfect union with the Supreme in the first initial stages. This is where actual yoga starts. Asana as I am sure your aware of in Sanskrit means seat, so in the stage of Nirudha ones seat is steady and fixed as Spoken by Sri Krsna in Gita and even in the midst of the greatest of difficulty he remains fixed.
So what people think as meditation in the classical sense is not really meditation what one is more than likely doing is vikṣipa or practice of controlling the mind, even if it we hit some form of equilibrium or calmness or peace it doesn't make it as Samadhi or true mental absorption in the finer recces of mind/consciousness. When the third state comes ekāgratā, one-pointed this is ( and correct me if I am wrong ) is when real Sraddha comes in, Sraddha often gets translated as meaning faith, which usually means something closer to accepting a belief system, but Sraddha is much more powerful, so I like or prefer the word conviction over faith.
I think in this day and age, unless one has a very good supporting environment, of which I have only found on Buddhist retreats which observe noble silence , or your in a quite place where there is concentrated practice, or living out in nature meditation in the classical sense is very difficult.
Also unless one has a natural inclination, which is more to do with past lives then meditation for modern times is not recommended, I think this is slowly becoming more apparent in the west, often now when people talk about mediation they say it doesn't work and many people struggle. So chanting, japa/mantra yoga and reciting of verses and so on with what ever tradition inspires one I think will bring much faster results and give the same benefits as within classical meditation and other types of yogic methods, also for the ones who have a mind for study and memory of Shastra I think this is better than most mediation practices, as this will give one a lot of things for deeper contemplation and will purify the intelligence.
Most people in the west associate mediation with Buddhism, Hinduism too especially with the recitation of AUM. But if the life of the Buddha is studied he did not teach meditation to everyone, perhaps only a few who were already adapt Yogis and ascetics and then he taught the Jhanas and insight meditation.
One can hear direct from Swami Laxman Joo here, the sound quality is not the best but beneath there is a transcription.