Thanks for the new fave, too! I wonder how prevalent contortion meditation is out there.
As far as I can see it, in the places where both are culturally accepted, they are definitely seen as separate practices.
I half remember someone - Bayarma Zodboeva Parry, perhaps? Probably not. One of the earlier generation Mongolian performers writing about trading meditation lessons with a Buddist monk with contortion lessons. As in, such lessons were completely absent from normal training. Communism may very well be a factor there.
That, and depending on region, yoga competitions place a rather low value on actual flexibility. Like, some published rules I've seen, 1 point out of 10 - though I wonder if this is an allowance to let the Hindu caste system definitely not have a sway.
Most forms of meditation it'd be seen as a distraction. Not that training of the body is seen as a bad thing. Just, usually, a separate thing.
Belated thanks for the writeup, and thanks for the new fave! Can't wait to see what else Natalya Chistyakova can do - she's the main inspiration for the pose there.