Yoga means union. In the Western world the term yoga is most often thought of as physical asana practice (yoga pose). This form of yoga combines asanas, pranayama (breathing), and mudras (gestures) to unite the body, mind, and spirit. There are six principle paths of yoga; Karma, Jnana, Kriya, Hatha, Raja, and Bhakti, Hatha is the system in which all physical yoga practice falls under, although this does not emphasize the more esoteric practices all systems including Hatha ultimately aim to lead to the same goal of unification and enlightenment (Samadhi).
Some of the benefits of a regular Hatha Yoga Practice:
In Vinyasa-style yoga classes, poses will flow from one to another in conjunction with the breath.
Vinyasa is a term that covers a broad range of yoga classes. The word Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement.” In other words, the teacher will instruct you to move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale.
This technique is sometimes also called Vinyasa Flow, or just Flow because of the smooth way that the poses run together and become like a dance.
Ashtanga (also spelled Astanga) means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit, which refers to the eight limbs of yoga laid out in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Ashtanga method of asana practice was interpreted by T. Krishnamacharya and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois from an ancient text called the Yoga Korunta, which described a unique system of hatha yoga developed by Vamana Rishi. The first or primary series, called Yoga Chikitsa, is described in Yoga Mala. Yoga Chikitsa, which means yoga therapy, realigns the spine, detoxifies the body, and builds strength, flexibility and stamina. The series of about 75 poses takes an hour and a half to two hours to complete, beginning with sun salutations (surya namaskara A and surya namaskara B) and moving on to standing poses, seated poses, inversions and backbends before relaxation.
The Origins of Yin Yoga
In Yin Yoga, poses are held for several minutes at a time in order to the stretch the connective tissue around the joints. The most prominent advocate of Yin Yoga is the American teacher Paul Grilley, who learned the basic method from Taoist Yoga teacher and martial arts expert Paulie Zink. Grilley also studied with the Japanese Dr. Motoyama, whose research posits that the connective tissue may actually be the key to discovering subtle energy channels in the body (called nadis in yoga and meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Despite having an advanced asana practice, which is supposed to help prepare the body for meditation, Grilley found himself uncomfortable when he began to attempt long, seated meditations. Yin Yoga directly addresses the demands that sitting still in one position for a long time places on the body by focusing on stretching connective tissue instead of muscle. Sarah Powers, who studied with Paul Grilley, is another well-known Yin yoga teacher.
Yin and Yang
In Chinese philosophy, the Yin Yang symbolizes the duality and interdependency of the natural world. Things that are yang are moving, changing, and vigorous. In contrast, things that are yin are still, static, and calm.
The majority of western yoga practices have evolved into being very yang- lots of movement, with an emphasis on stretching the muscles. Muscles are yang, while connective tissues like tendons and ligaments are yin. Sitting for meditation is more yin, and therefore requires a practice that adresses this use of the body. While joints like the knees and ankles are fragile and easily over stretched, the body also contains joints in the pelvis, hips and lower spine that are naturally much less flexible. It is these joints that yin yoga primarily addresses.
Hatha Yoga describes any of the physical practices of yoga. (Remember that yoga has eight limbs, only one of which, asana, involves doing yoga poses.) When you do Iyengar, this is hatha yoga; when you do Ashtanga, this is hatha yoga too. “Hatha yoga” can be used interchangeably with “yoga.”
So, What is a Hatha Yoga Class Like?
If you see a class described as Hatha, it will likely be a slow-paced stretching class with some simple breathing exercises and perhaps seated meditation. This is a good place to learn basic poses, relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with yoga.
The practice of Reiki and Yoga go hand in hand. The practice of Yoga increases the flow of Reiki energy in a persons life. Yoga helps a person understand Reiki in a much deeper way. Reiki helps a person understand the deeper energies of Yoga.
A regular practice of yoga can bring very good results in therapies such as physiotherapy, psychotherapy, and in treatments of arthritis, asthma and hearth problems. Also it gives excellent result in eliminating alcohol, tobacco and drug addictions.
Scientist around the world are studying the effects of yoga on human body. They came to a conclusion that certain asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing) were connected with certain internal organs, endocrine glands and psychological states.
The seven basic asanas (postures) associated with seven chakras according to Dr. Vigh :
The little-known but hugely beneficial aspects of detoxification in Yoga can help prevent various health disorders as well as treat several others.
A simple yet a very powerful technique, Neti works wonders for chronic sinusitis, allergies and in several cases for Asthma. It has a remarkable effect on upper respiratory tract infections, especially hay fever. In fact, so beneficial is this method of sinus nasal irrigation, that responses change from:
“YUK, no way am I ever going to try that” … to .. “WOW. That’s fantastic”
During pregnancy, you want to stay in shape and do what is best for your baby-to-be. Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to do both. Whether you are new to yoga or already an experienced practitioner, you can enjoy the benefits of yoga while pregnant.
Yoga classes are a great way to prepare yourself for the process of giving birth.
Smooth pregnancy and a natural childbirth are just some of the benefits of yoga. But more importantly, yoga does wonders on the physical and mental development of the foetus.
Ensuring a healthy baby is every woman’s dream and yoga can help you with that.
When followed together, they work wonders on your health and your capability to have a smooth pregnancy.
Your breathing and relaxation skills that you learn can be applied during and after birth with great success and can alleviate the discomforts caused by pregnancy.
If you feel any discomfort, stop. You will probably need to modify each pose to your body’s physical changes.
After you have your baby, you may be eager to resume your yoga practice to get fit and look better again. Doctors usually recommend six weeks of recovery time for new mothers after a vaginal birth and longer after a cesarean.
When you have been given the OK from your doctor and have no significant bleeding, you are ready to start again with Yoga.
Your postpartum body will be different than the body you had before getting pregnant and you will have to work with the body you have now, not the one you had nine months ago. For example, if you are breastfeeding, you may now be uncomfortable lying on your stomach in poses that squash your chest like knees, chest, and chin.
Growing Old is the stage when you have more time for yourself, your family, for leisure, recreation and relaxation.
However, it is also the time when you are more susceptible to some ailments that are linked to old age like Arthritis, rheumatism, incontinence, and High Blood Pressure.
Yoga is a form of exercise that adapts to your needs and abilities that makes your body fitter, the mind calmer and more relaxed. Yoga is also beneficial in the prevention and control of common health and emotional problems that is linked with Old Age. It helps you in becoming more in touch with yourself and your body enabling you to accept who you are and the state you are in which creates a positive approach in life.
Some Yoga Asanas are designed to normalize your blood pressure and balance the Nervous System and are essential in the prevention of heart ailments and problems in the nervous system. The Breathing Techniques can make you feel refreshed and cleanses the air passages which can help prevent respiratory ailments.
1. Yoga is a gentle exercise. compared to many other forms of exercise which are rough on the joints and which can cause joint pain and arthritis to flare up, Yoga even pregnant women can do.
2. Yoga focuses on your whole body and spirit. You will get a complete workout and likely experience feelings of relaxation and peace.
3. Yoga fights common ailments of senior citizens. There is a lot of slow, rhythmic stretching and flexing in yoga, which alleviates aches, pains and arthritis.
4. Yoga improves balance. Yoga poses strengthen the muscles that help you balance and train you to balance. This is especially important to seniors because it will help prevent falls.
5. Yoga is a new, social adventure. You’ll likely learn a lot of new things and meet a fun group of new people.
Be sure to speak to your doctor before trying yoga, especially if you suffer from any chronic conditions or are very inactive.
Those with spinal disk problems or glaucoma should take special care, as there are poses to avoid (twists and inversions, respectively).
Our children live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, pressure at school and competitive sports.
Parents usually don’t see these influences as stressful for our kids, but very often they are.
Yoga can help the children to counter this stress they experience in this world.
Physically, Yoga enhances the Kids flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness, helping to reduce the risk of getting injuries when doing physical sports.
In general, Yoga develops a stronger and healthier body.
In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves.
By doing Yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them, bringing that marvelous inner light that all children have to the surface.
And moreover, kids get to meet new friends when attending Yoga classes, further developing their social skills.
There are different kinds of Yoga programs designed for kids, ranging from serious sessions to playful classes.
Children as young as three weeks old can perform Yoga with their parents.
Independently, they can start as young as two years old, however, Yoga is best begun at the age of seven.