What is Yoga?
If you thought that yoga was all about bending and twisting your body in odd shapes, it’s time to rethink. Yoga is much more. In very simple words, giving care to your body, mind and breath is yoga.
Derived from the Sankrit word ‘yuj’ which means ‘to unite or integrate’, yoga is a 5,000-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing exercises, yoga poses (asanas) and meditation.
Yoga is well known for its postures and poses, but they were not a key part of original yoga traditions in India. Fitness was not a primary goal. Practitioners and followers of yogic tradition focused instead on other practices, such as expanding spiritual energy using breathing methods and mental focus.
Branches of Yoga.
Each “branch” of yoga represents a different focus and set of characteristics.
The six branches are:•
Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental branch designed to prime the body and mind.
Raja yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the “eight limbs” of yoga.
Karma yoga: This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
Bhakti yoga: This aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga is about wisdom, the path of the scholar, and developing the intellect through study.
Tantra yoga: This is the pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.
Modern yoga has evolved with a focus on exercise, strength, flexibility, and breathing. It can help boost physical and mental well-being.
There are many styles of yoga, and no style is more authentic or superior to another. The key is to choose a class appropriate for your fitness level.
Types and styles of yoga:
Ashtanga yoga: This type of yoga uses ancient yoga teachings. However, it became popular during the 1970s. Ashtanga applies six established sequences of postures that rapidly link every movement to breath.
Bikram yoga: Also known as “hot” yoga, Bikram occurs in artificially heated rooms at temperatures of nearly 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. It consists of 26 poses and a sequence of two breathing exercises.
Hatha yoga: This is a generic term for any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. “Hatha” classes usually serve as a gentle introduction to the basic yoga postures.
Iyengar yoga: This type focuses on finding the correct alignment in each pose using a range of props, such as blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and bolsters.
Jivamukti yoga: Jivamukti means “liberation while living.” This type emerged in 1984 and incorporates spiritual teachings and practices that focus on the fast-paced flow between poses rather than the poses themselves.
This focus is called vinyasa. Each class has a theme, which is explored through yoga scripture, chanting, meditation, asana, pranayama, and music. Jivamukti yoga can be physically intense.
Kripalu yoga: This type teaches practitioners to know, accept, and learn from the body. A student of Kripalu learns to find their own level of practice by looking inward. The classes usually begin with breathing exercises and gentle stretches, followed by a series of individual poses and final relaxation.
Kundalini yoga: Kundalini means “coiled, like a snake.” Kundalini yoga is a system of meditation that aims to release pent-up energy. A class typically begins with chanting and ends with singing. In between, it features asana, pranayama, and meditation customized to create a specific outcome.
Power yoga: In the late 1980s, practitioners developed this active and athletic type of yoga, based on the traditional ashtanga system.
Sivananda: This is a system based on a five-point philosophy. This philosophy maintains that proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking work together to form a healthy yogic lifestyle. Typically uses the same 12 basic asanas, bookended by sun salutations and savasana poses.
Viniyoga: Viniyoga can adapt to any person, regardless of physical ability. Viniyoga teachers require in-depth training and tend to be experts on anatomy and yoga therapy.
Yin: This is a quiet, meditative yoga practice, also called taoistyoga. Yin yoga allows the release of tension in key joints, including:
• the whole back
Yin poses are passive, meaning that gravity shoulders most of the force and effort.
Prenatal yoga: Prenatal yoga uses postures that practitioners have designed for people who are pregnant. It can support people in getting back into shape after pregnancy as well as supporting health during pregnancy.
Restorative yoga: This is a relaxing method of yoga. A person spends a restorative yoga class in four or five simple poses, using props like blankets and bolsters to sink into deep relaxation without exerting any effort in holding the pose.
Tips for beginners.
1. Choose a convenient time
2. Choose a comfortable place
3. Practice on a relatively empty stomach
4. Keep your yoga wear simple
5. Warm-up before doing intense yoga postures
6. It is your own body; be gentle on it
7. Be consistent
8. Make yoga time as ‘fun time’
9. Include a variety of yoga techniques
Yoga poses to start with:
It is essential to be regular with your yoga practice. Making it a part of your daily schedule will help turn it into a habit. “Twenty minutes of daily yoga practice is more likely to show positive results sooner than two hours of occasional practice.” Do not push yourself too hard while starting and remember to breathe and take rest between asanas. You are tend to be bored or get irregular with the practice but keep yourself motivated by doing different asanas everyday and on Sundays you can do all the asanas together. Practice a variety of yoga poses and breathing techniques. Remember this is a fruit that will reap after regular practice you won’t see the results the next day you start practicing. Eat light before you do your practice or atleast keep a gap of 2 hours in between. There’s no such particular time to do your asanas, mostly people prefer to do it early morning so that their day goes with positivity and full of energy.
I hope this blog helped you to gain more insight to start your Yoga journey. Comment on the blog and let me know what you think, what was your take away from the post.
If you would like to learn more things like this, continue the journey with me.
If you would like to learn about benefits of practicing headstand, then click here.
Benefits of yoga, then click here.
Know how your heart works, click here.
To know why you get anxious, why you feel certain emotions, click here.
For weight loss, click here.