So What Exactly is Yoga?
I bet you have heard and read many different explanations about yoga. Even heard differing opinions about its origin. If you are seeking clarification…keep reading.
Yoga originated in India. In Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, yoga means “union”. Union of the body with the mind to reach a balance or equilibrium through strength and flexibility.
It is not a religion in the sense that it focuses on belief or faith. It is not a hippy fad. It is not some cult following.
It is a science that seeks to verify cause and effect to build principles based on objective observations.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga?
Experiencing it cannot be put to words any more than reading a book about eventing can prepare you for the act. However, the goals and principals of yoga can be discussed.
Yoga involves a series of postures. During each posture you pay attention to your breathing, exhaling and inhaling during the appropriate and corresponding movements. It is a way to promote physical flexibility, strength, and endurance as well as a way to enhance your personal spirituality and self-consciousness.
- Increases flexibility through postures that trigger different body joints, including those that receive no benefit from regular exercise.
- Increases joint, ligament, and tendon lubrication. Yoga positions exercise different tendons and ligaments of the body resulting in remarkable flexibility in the parts of the body consciously worked upon, even in the most rigid of bodies.
- Decreases joint and muscle pain.
- Massages all organs. It works through to your internal organs in a thorough manner, including those rarely stimulated during a lifetime.
- Stimulates and massages organs. By working through to your internal organs in a thorough manner yoga helps keep diseases away and provides insight at the first possible instance of the onset of disease or disorder.
- Allows the yoga participant to develop a sense of self, resulting in awareness about possible impending health disorders or infections. Thus enabling pre-emptive corrective action.
- Detoxifies. By gently stretching muscles and joints the body receives optimum blood supply to various parts. This helps to flush out toxins within the whole body as well as provide nourishment throughout. Benefits include delayed aging and a remarkable zest for life.
- Tones muscles. Flaccid and weak muscles are stimulated repeatedly thus shedding excess fats and flaccidity.
How Do You Achieve the Union of Body and Mind?
The union of body and mind is achieved through the 8 sections of Yoga known as limbs. Each limb relates to a facet within accomplishing a healthy and fulfilling life. Each builds on the one before it.
These limbs are ordered sequentially. The first six are action-oriented and last two are experiences. Each limb depicts a productive and healthy way of positively interacting with yourself and the world. These eight limbs are:
- Yamas (restraints) – a list of actions to avoid when dealing with yourself and others. It deals primarily with honesty, honor, and loyalty.
- Niyamas (observances) – also a list of actions to take when dealing with yourself and others. Primarily deals with self-worth and cleanliness, as well as love, light, and truth connected to universal energies.
- Asana (postures) – the most widely recognized component of yoga, physical poses consisting of fluid transitions and strong, static postures. These poses heighten awareness of mind and body, fostering strength, flexibility, and spatial awareness. The sequential ordering of poses makes up total-body routines. And these routines are mind and body boosters that allow you to locate areas of tension and to release energy. The exercises include challenging core and upper- and lower-body work.
- Pranayama (breathing) – controlled breathing with intention calms the central nervous system and allows access to higher realms of consciousness.
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) – detachment from sensory distractions; stay in the present to see what is; not seeking external stimuli. The ability to concentrate without distraction. Receiving a stream of information at any given time distracts from inner peace.
- Dharana (intense focus) – the first stage of meditation. Learn to focus on one thing and allow other thoughts to drift away. Concentration.
- Dhyana (meditation) – the stage in meditation in which consciousness is unified. Bliss; when the mind is completely quiet producing few if any, thoughts. Most are still trying to achieve it.
- Samadhi (state of oneness) – defines the space beyond regular consciousness. Ego disappears, the mind re-attaches to the unconscious energy of creation, and you are in a state of pure bliss. It is liberation and joy. The result of achieving the seven limbs before it.
When I first started learning about yoga, I was surprised to learn what yoga is not. And what yoga is.
Yoga is a wonderful low-impact workout that makes you feel awesome. It provides flexibility in exercise with less undesired outcomes, such as tightness, soreness, aches, and restrictions. In addition, it can provide a gateway to personal spiritual exploration by sequentially moving through each of the 8 limbs.
If you are feeling skeptical, don’t fret. There are many attitudes about yoga from which you can select the one that personally fits you the best. It’s ok if you only want to achieve up to a certain level. Spirituality through yoga is a personal experience and up to each individual to learn at what level satisfaction is achieved. For me, the fun of yoga is going through the journey and experiencing the “new”. Remember, it is not a test or a competition. Some might need to achieve all 8 limbs to be spiritually satisfied, others may only need to go to a certain level or be satisfied practicing poses best suited for them. Others might just find satisfaction in the experience.
What it is – yoga is a rewarding and life-changing experience. Its practice results in improved health, stamina, and a totally positive outlook on life.
What Do You Do Now?
Learn more about yoga.
- Start with this introduction to yoga. Be open to something new. You might find an interest that you like and is really healthy for you!
- Become more informed. After assessing its values or if you just know you must learn yoga, check out these advanced techniques.
- Take yoga to lose weight. Yes, that’s right! Lose weight as well as become healthier through fitness with yoga. Are you a woman who wants a great workout in 15 minutes? Watch this video to learn more.
- Learn how to increase your metabolism with yoga. Try this 3-phase program in which you only workout three times a week for 45 minutes!
- Improve posture and ease back problems, aching joints, poor balance, stress, and fatigue.
- Join an online yoga membership. Online memberships provide incentive through daily routines within a community while allowing you privacy. You can easily follow yoga instructions within a group setting that offer personal development and growth, improved health, spiritual connections and more. Try these out to see what online Yoga Memberships have to offer. These two approach yoga very differently. Try one or both to see which style suits you.
- Clubbell Yoga. The program offers 36 workouts and an online yoga store with DISCOUNT COUPONS IF YOU JOIN THE PROGRAM!
- Ancient School of Yoga. Provides an educational background as well as approaching yoga through spiritual practices. Presented by a yoga instructor who, before teaching, spent 18 years in spiritual practices and whose time in the Himalayas brought him into contact with yogis possessing a profound knowledge of all that is yoga.
To learn about different styles, begin with this popular one so you can find local classes for guidance on your fantastic journey into yoga!
Are You Shy? Really Busy?
Are you shy or maybe you just don’t think you are ready just yet to go to a public class? Maybe you are really busy and don’t have time to go? I’ve got you covered. Start with these FREE online yoga videos for beginners. Yoga Download is your personal yoga studio, open 24 hours a day! You can view these videos anywhere and anytime. It is a sampling of free videos to introduce you to yoga so you can then continue with the videos most suited for you.
Consult Your Physician
As with any physical activity, it is best to consult with your physician before starting an exercise routine.
Even though yoga is generally low-impact, there have been cases of physical strain and injury reported. To be better informed about the possibility of injury, refer to Yoga more dangerous than previously thought, scientists say, a report written for The Telegraph.
Only you with the help of your doctor can make an educated decision about determining if yoga is for you and if so, what is the best type to practice. Yoga is a discipline that takes time to develop. Be patient while learning how each yoga limb helps your mind as well as your body. Educate yourself about the poses that are best for your level of fitness.
I think you are in for a treat!