The ’12-step salute to the sun’ is one of the all-around yoga exercises. As you do it once or twice in the morning it will help loosen up any stiffness in your body and rejuvenate it. Then to help you relax at night you can do several multiple repetitions, in fact, some people who suffer with insomnia find by completing six - twelve rounds often helps them to fall asleep better.
1. Stand with your feet slightly apart, palms together, thumbs against your chest.
2. Inhale deeply, while slowly raising your hands over your head, and bend back as far as possible, while tightening your buttocks.
Then continue to hold that position for three seconds.
3. Slowly exhale and bend forward, keeping your knees straight, until your fingers touch the floor outside your feet.
You may not be able to touch the floor but you should get as close as you can to it and then bend your head inwards, towards your knees.
4. Now slowly inhale, bend your knees and try again to touch the floor just outside where your feet are.
Slide your right foot back as far as you can go, with the right knee an inch or so off the floor, (a lunge position). Next arch your back and look up as high as possible, while holding your breath a few seconds before exhaling.
5. Before exhaling again, slide your left foot back until it is beside the right one, and with your weight supported on your palms and toes, straighten both legs so that your body forms a flat plane.
All the time while doing this yoga exercises you need to make sure your stomach is pulled in.
6. Slowly exhale, bend both knees to the floor, bend with your hips in the air, lower your chest and forehead to the floor.
7. Now, inhale slowly and look up, bending your head back then raising it, followed by bringing up your chest, then lowering it.
Remember, the lower part of your body should be on the floor with your elbows slightly bent. Stay in this position for 3 - 5 seconds.
8. Exhale slowly and raise your hips until your feet and palms are flat on the floor and your arms and legs are straight in an inverted V position.
9. Bring your foot forward as you slowly inhale the same way you did in the forth position.
The right foot will need to be flat on the floor between your fingertips. The left leg should be almost straight behind you, with its knee slightly off the floor. Raise your head, look up, and arch your back.
10. Slowly exhale and bring your left foot forward next to your right one.
Straighten your legs and stand, trying to keep your fingertips on the floor, and try to touch your head to your knees as in position 3.
11. Slowly inhale, raise your arms up and stretch back as in position 2.
Remember in both position two and eleven you need to tighten your buttocks and hold for three seconds.
12. Slowly exhale, lowering your arms to your sides and then relax.
By repeating these yoga exercises you will improve much of your overall health, both mentally and physically.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The ’12-step salute to the sun’ is one of the all-around yoga exercises. As you do it once or twice in the morning it will help loosen up any stiffness in your body and rejuvenate it. Then to help you relax at night you can do several multiple repetitions, in fact, some people who suffer with insomnia find by completing six - twelve rounds often helps them to fall asleep better.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
It also makes it easy for people of all ages to participate in yoga exercises. The minimal effort involved is more than balanced by the many benefits offered.
It's not just that it's one of the more beneficial fitness programs you can take up. It’s also one of the few that requires virtually no investment of money. Loose clothing is the only essential requirement; you need to be comfortable while you're moving through the poses. Bare feet are the norm when practicing yoga. Therefore, there isn't even a need for expensive athletic footwear.
As you become more advanced in your practice of yoga, you might feel the need to add some pieces of equipment to assist in taking yourself to higher levels. This might be as easy as getting a yoga mat. This useful product lowers the risk of slipping when you're performing standing poses, and gives you cushioning when you're sitting.
Yoga straps are another useful item that can give a boost to your stretching abilities. Straps improve your flexibility because they make it possible to handle positions that you couldn't do without their help. But this doesn't have to be much more than a belt or piece of rope that you probably already have. Even if you spring for the genuine yoga straps you won't be paying out a lot of money.
These basic pieces of equipment definitely won't set you back a lot of money. And equipment such as yoga mats, straps and bolsters will help to get your body in the correct position, providing alignment for your spine and legs. They're certainly worth the price, however they're not essential.
Really, the only other thing that's necessary is a blanket. Just about anyone has one Yoga is practiced extensively in countries where the people can't afford to spend money on exercise equipment. So there's no reason to break the bank in order to get the benefits of yoga exercises.
Traditionally, Hatha yoga (pronounced "ha-tuh") translates to "sun-moon." It is believed that each person harbors a "sun" energy channel and a "moon" energy channel. The sun channel is said to govern our thought processes, while the moon channel governs our emotions. The millions of chakras (literally translated from Sanskrit to mean "wheels" or energy centers) swirling around us keep the sun-moon channels in motion. On a deeper level, practitioners believe in a moral code based upon self-restraint, quietude, concentration, regulation of breathing, uniting body and mind through action, withdrawing from the senses and studying religious texts.
The first step is the practicing of the different asanas (poises) to help the mind and body align with one another and open the inner channels of communication. By finding the right posture, one can remain comfortable for long periods of time while meditating. Secondly, proper breathing techniques (sometimes referred to as "pranayama") are taught. Next, some students may choose to delve more deeply into the philosophical roots. Yoga instructor David Williams (from Hawaii) once noted, "Before you've practiced, the theory is useless. After you've practiced, the theory is obvious."
The end result of practicing this style of yoga is markedly noticed almost immediately. Suddenly you can stretch a bit further and touch those toes. You're not huffing and puffing carrying laundry up to the top floor of the house anymore. Your bowel movements are even more regular than usual and you find that stomach aches and head aches rarely occur these days. Your abdomen, legs and gluteus are looking more defined too. When you're at work and start to feel stressed, you take a deep breath and reconnect with the relaxation techniques you learned in class, although the anxiety rarely reaches you on a physical level anymore. Your energy levels are revitalized, your hormones are balanced and a calm sense of euphoria and appreciation for each day takes root in your soul. Life is good, thanks to Hatha yoga, a practice that goes back thousands of years to some infinite source of knowledge the West generally seemed to have overlooked.
For the curious, local Hatha yoga classes can be found at YogaFinder.com. Whether you want to set aside time for personal reflection or sculpt your muscles, a yoga class can add another layer of personal satisfaction to your life.
The world is a fantastic place filled with diversity and new discoveries at every turn. One of these discoveries for the Western world came in the form of Yoga. This ancient practice was known primarily in Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism but has since become a very popular form of exercise. It is more than that though. It is a process of centering the mind and body into one fluid machine that is highly aware of itself and surroundings. Yoga can be performed by anyone of any age and is great for those beginning their trek into a healthier lifestyle. If you are ready to begin your trek, click here for more information: Yoga Books and at Yoga Books also at Yoga Posture Techniques
For the vast majorities of Hindius, the word "yoga" stands for a type of "technology of the spirit" (even though it doesn't actually translate directly into that), which involves meditation, asceticism. The main goal of "yoga" in this type of circumstance is to get a more beneficial understanding of yourself, of nature, and of the various concepts of existence itself.
Ideas as well as beliefs have been influenced outside of the Indian subcontinent by yoga. Buddism in all of its various forms has been highly shaped by the constructs behind yoga, as has the numerous other asian philosophies and religions. For disciples of other religions, the question of "what is yoga" will be different in a significant way. There are many people who will carry out practices that are highly influenced through the use of yoga without really knowing what it is.
What is Yoga in the Western Environment?
For western culture yoga is a relatively new introduction. It was first introduced in the latter half of the nineteenth century by Swami Vivekananda, an Indian spiritual philosopher and spiritual leader whose speeches on the philosophy behind Indian culture and yoga mesmerized audiences in both the United States as well as the United Kingdom.
He passed away at a relatively young age in his late 30's, however the seeds of ideas that he planted would later develop into the current day practice of yoga in Western society. The counter-culture of western society that sprung up in the latter half of the twentieth century. It's assorted interests in many things Eastern furnished the practice of yoga with the drive it required to arise into the prevalent practice in western culture that it is today.
Yoga in the context of western culture affiliated with Hatha Yoga postures or "asanas" as a type of exercise. Even though there are traditionally only 6 styles of orthodox yoga, (Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga) people in western culture have integrated various ideas from these types of schools of thought with each other or even with completely foreign concepts to arrive at other types of styles which might arguably be named "yoga". Amongst these are "laughing yoga" and "chair yoga".
In the west yoga is very well liked, particularly in the United State of America. People in America spend in excess of 3 billion dollars each year on classes for yoga as well as associated accessories. Whether or not this Commodification of a ritual that is ancient is helpful or not to the overall practice is debatable; however it does beg more in depth questions on "what is yoga" and what it's practices stand for.
What is Yoga And How Does It Benefit a Person?
There have been many different benefits that have been shown to the practitioners of yoga. Firstly, the traditional forms of practices pf yoga have shown to enhance strength, flexibility, endurance, as well as general well being and lower the psychological stress and trauma.
Helpful effects on people suffering from asthma as well as individuals with heart conditions who practice yoga breathing techniques have also been demonstrated. There have also been numerous other advantages to using yoga that have been claimed, however unfortunately, not all of them have been proven.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Amid the clamor of obligations, rush hour traffic, nagging bosses and the chaos of daily life, the last thing most Americans want is a high-volume vacation that requires a lot of running around and planning. Why not try a week at a relaxing yoga retreat, where you will leave with a deep-seated serenity and awareness? You can go anywhere from India to Mexico in search of rejuvenation and spiritual connectedness. With a combination of yoga, massages, jacuzzi tubs and healthy eating, a yoga retreat is more than just a vacation -- it's a whole new way of life and in some ways, a rebirth.
Yoga retreat vacations are great for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. A Yoga instructor since 1997, Jillian Pransky says, "Many of my students are city dwellers. Their yoga is fit in between running in and out of busy streets and wedged into their busy workloads. They get little respite and often don't get the dramatic effect they experience on retreat. Your body has more time to open, change, purify and cleanse in a retreat environment than in a daily practice."
Older yoga enthusiasts will love the Como Shambhala, located 575 miles from Miami in the Caribbean Islands (Turks and Caicos, specifically). This 1,000 square foot sanctuary offers the kind of soft, white sand and turquoise water you'd expect from a tropical vacation destination, while providing you with simple yet beautiful teak and white cotton furnished rooms. For your free time, diving and snorkeling are favorite pastimes. Choose from annual retreats such as: Yoga Play & Discovery, On Top of the World With Judy Krupp, The 7 Chakras on Kundalini Yoga, Yoga Shanti Retreat and Bali Ashtanga Yoga Adventure. Yoga retreat rates run around $6,240 for one week, all inclusive. In 2006, Como Shambhala won Spa Finder Magazine's "Best Spa In Indonesia," The Ultimate Spa Guide's "Top Spas In Asia" and Travel & Leisure's "World's Best Hotel Spa Caribbean Bermuda and the Bahamas" awards, to name a few.
You can go alone or with friends and spouses, you can take a high-intensity work out or a slow methodical yoga class, you can go to India or Thailand. Yoga Retreat destinations are varied and breath-taking, so start planning your spiritual vacation today!
Perhaps more than any other form of exercise, Yoga has been around the longest. Originating in India, this popular form of exercise has been practiced around the world. Why? The physical portion of the workout is very low-impact and can be performed by anyone of any age. The same cannot be said of kick boxing classes or Jazzercise. But there is more to Yoga than just working out the body. It is also a lifestyle that can bring clarity to the mind through spiritual exercises of meditation and concentration. Are you ready to begin your path to a healthy body and mind? Click here to find out more: Kriya Yoga and at Yoga Books also at Yoga Pants
Fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, tenderness, swelling, cravings, constipation, cramps, headaches. Pregnancy can really get you down. However, many women are turning to yoga for the duration of their pregnancies to alleviate many of the unfortunate symptoms, for keeping excess weight off during those trying months and to provide their babies with the healthiest possible start.
Pregnant women practice yoga for physical benefits. For instance, yoga practice can teach techniques that will be helpful during labor, such as breathing and relieving tension around the cervix and birth canal. Additionally, prenatal physicians recommend combining a light cardiovascular exercise (like walking) with a relaxing, muscle-toning exercise (like yoga) to maintain your physique, in spite of the intense cravings and normal weight gain associated with pregnancy.
Other pregnant women practice yoga for mental benefits. For one, it can be a great support to meet other women going through the same thing you are. Also, there is much emphasis on focusing on the moment and deriving happiness from each and every day, which can be vital when your hormones are out of whack. Yoga has been known to stimulate beta-endorphins, which also brings comfort and a sense of relief.
Yoga for pregnancy improves circulation, leg strength and increases energy. Sitting and standing positions are the most recommended, with pressure put on the shoulders and back, rather than the abdomen.
Yoga videos can be previewed at YouTube.com -- or you can read user reviews on Amazon.com as well. There are many options featuring yoga for pregnant women, so it's all a matter of your personal preference regarding setting, instructor, technique and comfort. Some focus more on emotional benefits, whereas others are designed to help strengthen muscles. You may also want to look into communal yoga classes at Yoga.com. Either way, this is a special time to bond with your baby -- don't pass this up!
The world is a fantastic place filled with diversity and new discoveries at every turn. One of these discoveries for the Western world came in the form of Yoga. This ancient practice was known primarily in Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism but has since become a very popular form of exercise. It is more than that though. It is a process of centering the mind and body into one fluid machine that is highly aware of itself and surroundings. Yoga can be performed by anyone of any age and is great for those beginning their trek into a healthier lifestyle. If you are ready to begin your trek, click here for more information: Yoga Books and at Yoga Accessories also at Yoga Retreat
Life moves too fast. One lesson we can all benefit from is the ancient Indian practice of yoga, which reminds us that every day is sacred and we are comprised of a connected series of energy channels that can be manipulated to regulate body processes, improve strength and facilitate mental clarity. Yoga classes are offered all across America -- and in fact, attract over 16.5 million participants! Adding yoga to your weekly workout can give you the muscle toning and mental stamina you need to succeed in all other areas of your life. Continue reading to figure out where to find a class near you.
Before searching online for yoga classes, you may want to contemplate which style of yoga will best suit your needs.
YogaFinder, the largest internet directory of its kind, can match you up with classes, events, retreats, products, jobs and teacher training opportunities. You can get the yoga center address, phone number, website, browse available styles and read a general description of what's offered. This directory pulls results that others may not have and worldwide retreats are listed. The site is colorful, easy to navigate and very comprehensive!
Yoga. website lists studios and classes near you by address, phone number, styles, levels, cost and certification information. You can also check out yoga vacations, read articles, browse the store and participate in forums here. It's a simple site but can give you all the basic statistics quickly and easily.
FindYoga website is another expansive, well-designed site with multiple search engines to find yoga workshops, teachers, retreats, classes and training centers (within the US). If you're really busy, you can even search for classes by the days and times you have available! Results are listed by school, suburb, day, time, style, level type and teacher. There are many resources for people looking to learn more about yoga, get their corporation involved in a yoga program, or to find a mentoring program.
Yoga classes will whip your mind and body into shape by following ancient Indian practices developed over 5,000 years ago. No matter which stage of life you're in -- whether you're a hyperactive child, a rushed mid-aged professional, a pregnant woman, or an aching senior, there is a style of yoga to help. You may even want to get away to a yoga spa retreat or become a yoga instructor yourself one day!
There are many different forms of Yoga that people around the world practice. Some use it primarily for its low-impact workout whereas others love the feel of meditation and concentration required in some of the many poses. Yoga is a great way for those suffering from injury or unused to a cardiovascular workout to begin their path to becoming physically and mentally fit. Exercise is an important part of our daily lives and the added benefit of learning relaxation techniques is enough to entice anyone onto a mat. Find your relaxation and work out by clicking here for more information: Power Yoga and at Yoga Chairs also at Yoga Retreat
Yoga and pilates may seem to be one in the same to a lot of Americans. However, there are some basic differences.
To achieve maximum balance, coordination, flexibility, body sculpting and strength, it is recommended that you add at least one yoga and pilates class to your weekly regimen. While you won't achieve the weight loss or endurance that cardio workouts provide, you will gather other important skills to help your performance in other activities. Yoga focuses more on breathing, relaxation and spirituality, whereas pilates will give you more of an athletic strength training.
Clear differences between yoga and pilates include some of the following: First, yoga is an ancient Indian practice that dates back approximately 5,000 years, whereas pilates is an adaptation of yoga dating back eighty years to a German athlete, Joseph Pilate. Secondly, in addition to physical activity, yoga is an entire holistic program that encompasses diet, meditation, breathing techniques, religious edict and a moral code; Pilates is simply a form of exercise and body sculpting technique. Thirdly, yoga aims to unite mind and body, as well as cleanse the body of toxins, while pilates is fashioned to strengthen, define and improve posture. Additionally, in yoga, you are taught to inhale and exhale through the nose, whereas pilates employs the traditional athletic mode of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth while performing an action. Lastly, yoga can generally be done with just a mat (although sometimes props are used), while instructors ensure everyone's in proper form; pilates, on the other hand, has specific machinery designed to assist practitioners.
Athletes and dancers often engage in "pilates for sports" classes, either in large groups or one-on-one with an instructor. However, one needn't attend a class to get started with pilates -- in fact, there are many videos (Eleonora Goya, Dian Ramirez, Leslie Sansone, Kathy Smith, Denise Austin, Karen Voight, The Method yoga, MTV, Prevention, etc). Of course, you won't get quite the same workout without the elaborate weight systems, but it could be a good launching point for people who are curious but not quite ready to commit to a gym or studio. Some of the most popular yoga videos include: "Yoga Zone," "Living Yoga - AM/PM," "Basic Yoga Workout For Dummies," "Total Yoga: The Flow Series," "Yoga: Mind & Body with Ali Macgraw," "Crunch Yoga Mama: Prenatal Yoga," "Yoga Practice For Strength," "Ashtanga Yoga with Richard Freeman," "The Power of Hatha Yoga" and "Kundalini Yoga: With Grace and Strength." For yoga practitioners seeking spiritual teaching as well, classes and yoga center training are best. Choosing between yoga and pilates classes or videos is all just a matter of preference.
It may surprise you to learn that Yoga dates back to 3300-1700 B.C.E. and has long been a practice of Buddhists, Hindus and other Eastern religions. But what should not be surprising the tremendous benefits that this form of exercise and meditation can bring to your life. Working professionals, students, home-makers and the retired alike are finding how wonderful they feel after participating. The sense of calm that prevails as well as the satisfaction of muscles well worked all make Yoga the perfect blend of philosophy, religion and exercise. Even if you do not practice the spiritual aspects of this ancient practice, you can still benefit. Click here to see more: Basic Yoga and at Yoga Accessories also at Hatha Yoga Techniques
Western Researchers are currently studying the healing effects of beta-endorphins released during yoga and meditation that may be curing people of everything from asthma, ADHD and high blood pressure to diabetes, multiple sclerosis and cancer. "Ayudervedic healing," as it's called, has been in practice for over 5,000 years but didn't arrive in the United States until the 1970s. The healing is based on three areas -- diet, herbs and meditation yoga -- particularly "Sahaja Yoga."
One type of meditation yoga is called Sahaja yoga, meaning "spontaneously born within". This form of yoga and meditation has been in practice in the US since the 1970s but borrows from ancient religion. Spiritual awakening is encouraged mainly through posture and breathing, relaxation techniques and visualizing energy flow. While some forms of fitness yoga stress physical movement, Sahaja emphasizes spirituality and teaching.
Students of this branch will study the three vertical energy channels within the human body: the sun channel (governing our thought processes), the parasympathetic / nervous system channel (governing our body processes) and the moon channel (governing our emotions). In addition to these three channels, millions of chakras (literally translated from Sanskrit to mean "wheels" or energy centers) are swirling around us, keeping the channels in motion. Chakras can vary from religion to religion, but Sahaja Yoga focuses on several in its yoga and meditation: the crown chakra (pituitary gland / consciousness), the third eye chakra (pineal gland / sleep and awakening), the throat chakra (thyroid / growth and maturity), the heart chakra (thymus / stress and wellbeing), the solar plexus chakra (pancreas / digestion and energy), the sacral chakra (groin / sexuality and reproduction) and the root chakra (adrenal gland / basic fight or flight instincts and kundalini awakening).
Another study is the Raja Yoga tradition (the "king" of yoga or "royal path"), which is heavily steeped in spirituality. Practitioners believe in a serious code based upon self-restraint, quietude, concentration, regulation of breathing, uniting body and mind through action, withdrawing from the senses and studying religious texts. Often retreats are offered (by places like the Margaret Austin Retreat Center in Texas or the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California) to help students immerse themselves in a new way of thinking. Students will learn about the Eightfold Path and the seven chakras, in addition to yamas and niyamas (code of conduct and religious observances, respectively).
Yoga and meditation have been restoring energy and balance for thousands of years. For that tattooed man at Rikers Island prison, finding that much-coveted sense of spirituality has been his only relief from his physical captivity. For the mother of three, this hour of quietude has calmed her nerves and boosted her spirits. For the man with intermittent explosive anger disorder, his emotions are now subdued and connected with something larger than himself. For the cancer patient and the arthritic elderly, yoga and meditation has relieved pain that hundreds of harmful prescription medications could not. Miracles are happening everywhere, so why not get started today? More information can be found at SahajaYoga.org, Yoga.com and IAYT.org.
It may surprise you to learn that Yoga dates back to 3300-1700 B.C.E. and has long been a practice of Buddhists, Hindus and other Eastern religions. But what should not be surprising the tremendous benefits that this form of exercise and meditation can bring to your life. Working professionals, students, home-makers and the retired alike are finding how wonderful they feel after participating. The sense of calm that prevails as well as the satisfaction of muscles well worked all make Yoga the perfect blend of philosophy, religion and exercise. Even if you do not practice the spiritual aspects of this ancient practice, you can still benefit. Click here to see more: Yoga Stretches and at Tantric Yoga also at Yoga Music
Do you ever get so busy you can't even think straight? Do you frequently suffer from headaches and feel lethargic? Instead of indulging in all the "one-pill cures" on late night television, why not take an hour of your day to do yoga? Millions of Americans are finding a sense of peace and relaxation, while improving circulation, muscle definition and flexibility.
Iyengar yoga helps individuals with coordination, balance and circulation by emphasizing concentration and slow, methodical stretching. The breaks between positions and props (like straps, mats and blocks) take some of the strain off the body, making this ideal for older participants and beginners. Practitioners are encouraged to find a sense of oneness and peace through regulated breathing and posture.
Fitness yoga aims to increase flexibility, muscle strength and improve energy and cardiovascular systems. This is a more modern approach to the ancient principles and targets certain areas like the gluteus muscle or abdomen to tone and strengthen. Similarly, Pilates yoga is one of the most popular forms, with over 11 million regular practitioners in the US and over 14,000 instructors. The core postural muscles and spinal cord are emphasized, in addition to utilizing flowing movements to strengthen and define.
Ashtanga Vinyasa (also known as "power yoga" or "Raja yoga") is derived from an ancient Indian manuscript called "the Yoga Kurunta." The word "ashtanga" literally translates to mean "eight limbs," which refers to eight positions: yama (moral codes), niyama (self-purification and study), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense control), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (contemplation). Vinyasa means "breath-synchronized movement." After warming up with "Sun Salutations," the different postures are repeated with smooth flowing movements and specific breathing patterns. This advanced style of yoga attracts people who may typically be the cardio types, participating in kickboxing or step classes, and is intended to help extroverted high-stress personalities find their inner quietude.
A couple of forms of yoga are used for therapeutic purposes. Bikram yoga (also known as "hot yoga") occurs in a sauna-like room maintained at 95-100 degrees to induce sweating, leading to body cleansing and additional weight loss. These twenty-six positions loosen the muscles in a relaxing way. The Forrest style meditation yoga from Santa Monica California is intended to release inner emotional pain, purify the body of toxins and strengthen the abdomen through deep breathing and stretches.
Some styles focus on the spiritual side, with chanting, meditating and contemplating, borrowing inspiration from the eight principles of ashtanga. Jivamukti and Kundalini use chanting and rapid repetitive movements to free trapped energy. Karma yoga is derived from the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient sandskrit Hindu scripture and is based around the idea of "union through action." It is believed that one can express love for God by giving up selfish desires and participating in "detached, selfless action," which will eventually result in liberation. The Anusara style is a form of meditation yoga for beginners because teachers believe in positive communication to open the heart and mind. All levels are welcomed and there is a philosophical belief in the intrinsic goodness of humankind. This light-hearted approach to alignment is a good springboard to more intense forms.
There is a yoga class for you. Some people like fitness yoga, while others prefer meditation yoga. Either way, you'll enjoy the increased flexibility, toning, happiness and mental clarity long after your yoga lesson is over.
It may surprise you to learn that Yoga dates back to 3300-1700 B.C.E. and has long been a practice of Buddhists, Hindus and other Eastern religions. But what should not be surprising the tremendous benefits that this form of exercise and meditation can bring to your life. Working professionals, students, home-makers and the retired alike are finding how wonderful they feel after participating. The sense of calm that prevails as well as the satisfaction of muscles well worked all make Yoga the perfect blend of philosophy, religion and exercise. Even if you do not practice the spiritual aspects of this ancient practice, you can still benefit. Click here to see more: Yoga Retreat and at Yoga For Kids also at Yoga Supplies
Thousands of miles from America, in the small village of Belur Karnataka, India, a poor Brahmin child who suffered from malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and malnutrition found the key to enlightenment and healing. It is the ultimate miracle of mind-over-matter, as spiritual teachings cured this young lad, who was then quick to pass on his new knowledge. After publishing several books, Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar brought his 3,000 year old spiritual practice to the West with Iyengar yoga, a distinct style based upon posturing and contemplating.
Spiritually, Iyengar yoga is based upon Patanjali's eight limbs of raja yoga. The first is Yama, meaning physically and mentally abstaining from the following five things: violence toward others and oneself, from coveting others' belongings, from sexual intercourse, from attachment to possessions and anything that is untrue. The second limb is called Niyama, referring to the five observances: cleanliness of body and mind, satisfaction with what one has, penance and mental control, introspection and surrender to God. Asana refers to posture and position (ideally an erect stance with relaxed muscles) and Pranayama is the directed control of one's breath, which is so vital to successful yoga practice. Pratayahara calls for the quieting of senses connected with the outer world. Only then will Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (oneness with the Supreme Being) naturally follow.
A typical Iyengar yoga lesson will cover up to 200 posture positions and 14 breathing techniques. Certified instructors pace around the room, assisting students with these techniques and sharing various props, including: buckles, straps, benches, chairs, blocks and even sandbags. This form of yoga is often used for physical healing, as the movements are minimal and the props take much of the strain off the body. Beginners also like this style because they receive individualized assistance and with the mastery of these positions, it will help them in other yoga classes.
Iyengar yoga has spread like wildfire in the United States, with hundreds of teachers. Major branches of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States are located in California, Colorado, Washington, New York, Nevada, Texas, Michigan and Minnesota. To find classes near you, check out Iynaus.org as a starting point toward enlightenment and happiness.
The world is a fantastic place filled with diversity and new discoveries at every turn. One of these discoveries for the Western world came in the form of Yoga. This ancient practice was known primarily in Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism but has since become a very popular form of exercise. It is more than that though. It is a process of centering the mind and body into one fluid machine that is highly aware of itself and surroundings. Yoga can be performed by anyone of any age and is great for those beginning their trek into a healthier lifestyle. If you are ready to begin your trek, click here for more information: Yoga Positions and at Laughing Yoga also at Yoga Positions
Thousands of students flock to the Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India each year in hopes of finding that missing piece to life's puzzle. The Institute's style of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is particularly attractive to Westerners because they enjoy the physical rigor and discipline. While many forms of yoga are more about relaxing, this style is more about physically challenging poses that evoke mental release. Some people say the method attracts the "overachiever" personality type, but in reality it caters to people of every level.
Philosophically, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga means "eight-limbed yoga" and was described by the sage Patanjali Maharishi in the Yoga Sutras. To reach internal purification, he speaks about the importance of moral codes, self-purification and study, posture, breath control, sense control, concentration, meditation and contemplation.
In the beginning of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a yoga instructor will help students master "external cleansing practices." They learn about morality and study, while practicing specific postures and breathing. Instructors help beginners find the correct positions and inspire students to live a just and moral existence. Next, after days of mastering the proper poses and gaining strength, students will learn to control their minds. Through posture, breathing and focusing, the practice purifies the body, nervous system and mind over time.
In practice, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga involves six specific postures (otherwise known as "asanas") that are always completed in the same order. In the opening asana, there are ten standing "Sun Salutations" or "The Primary Series," which is intended to align and detoxify the body. The "Intermediate Series" works on the nervous system by opening and clearing internal energy pathways. "The Advanced Series A, B, C and D" helps students achieve maximum flexibility, strength, definition and humility. Teachers emphasize the mastering of each level before moving on, with special focus and attention given to each step of progress.
The ujjayi (meaning "victorious breath") method of exhaling and inhaling, combined with the fluid, dynamic asanas, heats the blood and generates a detoxifying sweat, or what is known as "internal cleansing." Advanced methods of breathing techniques (bandhas) teach students how to "lock" or "seal" energy and redirect it to one of the 72,000 energy channels within the body. To obtain maximum benefit from the asanas, learning to lock in positive energy is crucial. Nine different focus points seek to purify and stabilize the mind, facilitating concentration.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga welcomes all different levels and allows individualized attention from a yoga teacher who wishes to help students master each posture (and corresponding breathing and focus) perfectly. Many beginners start with Hatha Yoga, but people who are serious about fitness and mental determination will love this life-affirming workout!
The world is a fantastic place filled with diversity and new discoveries at every turn. One of these discoveries for the Western world came in the form of Yoga. This ancient practice was known primarily in Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism but has since become a very popular form of exercise. It is more than that though. It is a process of centering the mind and body into one fluid machine that is highly aware of itself and surroundings. Yoga can be performed by anyone of any age and is great for those beginning their trek into a healthier lifestyle. If you are ready to begin your trek, click here for more information: Yoga Accessories and at Laughing Yoga also at Yoga Positions