What is Yoga?
Yoga focuses on harmony between mind and body. Yoga derives its philosophy from Indian metaphysical beliefs. The word yoga comes from Sanskrit language and means union or merger. The ultimate aim of this philosophy is to strike a balance between mind and body and attain self-enlightenment. To achieve this, yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation in order to establish a healthy, lively and balanced approach to life.
Though the exact origins of Yoga are unknown but Yoga is considered to be the oldest physical discipline in existence. Yoga, thus symbolizes balance in every area of life. In the earlier times, the rationale of the Yoga postures and breathing exercises was to bring stability and relaxation so practitioners could prepare for the rigors of meditation, sitting still and alert for long periods of time. In modern context also Yoga can play an important role in maintaining a fine balance between work and healthy mind.
- The most appropriate time for practicing Yoga is in the morning. It is the time when the mind is calm, composed and fresh and the body movements can be performed with considerable ease and vigor.
- To get started you need to have the urge and confidence in yourself.
- To practice Yoga you must choose a place which is calm, quiet, ventilated, dust free, moisture free and distraction free.
- Before you start Yoga, you must clear your bowels and bladder; clean your nostrils and throat of all mucus. You must also drink a glass of lukewarm water.
- Wait for a few minutes and then you can start.
- Like all other work outs you must begin with easy poses, thereafter you can advance to the tough ones. Be methodical and systematic.
- Remember, to start with your movements should be light and if you feel fatigue in between you must discontinue.
- Yoga must energize and not cause weariness and depression.
- You must take breaks in between if a particular step or exercise proves tiring.
- If you practice Yoga, your diet should be a balanced and you should eat after an interval of 4 hours.
- The quantity of food should be such that it satisfies your appetite.
- Over eating and fasting should be avoided. At the same time you must try to avoid stale food.
- Yoga clothing should be loose and as comfortable as possible. Form-fitting cotton/Lycra pants and shirts are the best.
- While performing Yoga your breathing should be long and deep. You must remember to keep your mouth close and inhale and exhale only through the nose.
- You should always keep a Yoga mat made of some comfortable materials. For lying postures use a woolen carpet, and spread a clean sheet over it.
Yoga TypesUnder this section of Yoga types, different Yoga styles and Yoga paths have been discussed. The prominent Yoga types or Yoga styles are Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Purna Yoga and Raja Yoga. Though all the above Yoga styles are popular among the Yoga followers but the Kundalini Yoga type is most sought after in the west. It is interesting to note that different Yoga types have their unique virtues. Some Yoga styles are useful for physical strength whereas some are useful for increasing mental prowess.
Bhakti Yoga emphasizes love and devotion whereas Hatha Yoga is an easy Yoga style and most popular in the US. Jnana Yoga highlights the use of the mind to surpass the mind i.e. to discern the mind. Karma Yoga lays emphasis on selfless action and service. Kundalini Yoga uses sexual experience as a means to enlightenment and knowledge. In the Mantra Yoga meditation one has to chant a word or a phrase until he/she transcends mind and emotions. Purna Yoga lays more emphasis on the importance of Karma in day today life. Raja Yoga provides solution for complete and holistic healing.
The benefits of Yoga are numerous. In terms of energy Yoga is like a universe in itself. Some of the important Yoga benefits include anti-ageing, balance and flexibility of body, increase in knowledge and wealth, improvement in mental health and development of personal and social values. This is not the end of story; Yoga also helps in improving strength, sexual life and reducing weight. Yoga makes you feel good. Yoga is relaxing. It's energizing. It's strengthening.
Healing benefits of Yoga are so great that you feel better at the end of every Yoga session than before you began and life runs effortlessly when you keep up a steady discipline than when you don't. Yoga enhances your understanding of life. Yoga changes an individual's perspective about life. After coming in the fold of Yoga a person finds himself taking up a broader view of life. Yoga helps a person to know who he is, how life works, who is God and so on. One starts looking at things differently, with less confusion. It helps in more peace of mind, better health, more keenness for life, and an ever-growing sense of internal well-being.
As one practices Yoga, positive effects of Yoga begin to show. The sense of feeling good envelops around the individual. This feeling is so natural and so genuine that it goes entirely in an individual's life. In this way it helps clarify deepest cravings, motivations and aspirations, thereby restoring confidence, hope, meaning and rationale to life. We all like feeling good, peace of mind, being joyful, peaceful, animated and calm. There can't be two opinions about this. But the sad part is that most of us know that we are not feeling as good as we should.
The driving force of yoga is aimed at the monumental, life-changing discovery of who and what you actually are. This is precisely how yoga works, how it makes you feel good. Yoga helps you experience the truth. The truth- which, you discover is goodness. The implications of knowing the truth is massive. Thus Yoga gives you the strength to unravel the truth with which you will begin to live with security, confidence and inner psychological peace. Such great are the benefits and properties of Yoga. Yoga changes your life.