Showing posts with label power yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label power yoga. Show all posts

The Process of Yoga

The Process of Yoga

The Best Times To Practice Yoga
While you can practice yoga anytime, many people like to practice right after they wake up and before they go to bed. If you prefer to only practice in a classroom setting, then you must wait until class is in session. Having a yoga session first thing in the morning is a great way to wake up your body and to set your intentions for the day. Even if you only have 20 minutes to set aside before rushing off to work or to get the kids ready for their day, you will be better prepared for the day.
Ideally you want to include a yoga session in the evening before you go to bed. It will help you to release all of the action and any stresses accumulated from the day so you might be able to have a more relaxed and better night's sleep.
There might also be ideal moments throughout the day that you can add in some mini yoga sessions to help with relieving any extra intensive or stressful events - 5 or 10 minutes would help you if you can manage it, even it you have to practice in the bathroom! It's better to relieve any stresses immediately if possible, so that it does not stay in your body which can build up over time to help create disease that you don't want.
Yoga can be about escaping reality by focusing your mind on your yoga practice in the here and now, but you should also want to better yourself to achieve maximum results body, mind and soul. The best way to start and maintain a relaxation practice is to incorporate it into your daily routine. The most important thing is to listen to your body when practicing yoga so that you may gain the maximum benefits and to learn what is best for your body.
Relaxing Your Muscles
The practice of relaxing the muscles of the body will bring rest to the body and to the mind. Yoga helps you to create symmetry throughout the body by training you to be strong, flexible and balanced.
 Yoga is an excellent way to keep your body and mind healthy. Yoga will improve your flexibility, overall health and put your mind and body in a more peaceful state. Yoga has always been a source of numerous health benefits, both for the body and the mind. Due to the strong mind-body connection of yoga, there are many emotional benefits to be gained from a consistent yoga practice.
Popular Yoga Styles
There are several different styles of yoga in the world. Two of the most popular forms of yoga are Bikram yoga and Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is the most widely practiced form of yoga in the world and is great for beginners; Bikram yoga is most popular with people who like to do yoga in the heat - which is beneficial for muscle and joint issues provided you don't have high blood pressure or heat sensitivity. Yoga has become very popular here in the West in the last couple of decades.
A Challenging Series Yoga Postures And Breathing Exercises
Yoga postures and breathing techniques will help you learn to release muscle tension and relax the body. Children can learn to stretch, breathe deeply, relax, and concentrate.
 Older people are able to get back in shape relatively safely in case 'life got in the way' or begin to learn how to improve physical limitations that tend to occur as you get older. Athletes are able to cross train with yoga to help expand their performance and help with reducing injuries or the help heal themselves from injuries that have occurred.

Yoga Essentials - A Checklist

Yoga Essentials - A Checklist
Yoga has been booming in popularity for years now. Offering a way to connect with yourself through exercise and relaxation. However, if you are new to the world of yoga it can get confusing. While many instructors will give you a list of what you will need, and what to expect. Some might not, which will still leave you with the question; what exactly do you need to practice yoga?
Well, with this yoga essentials checklist you no longer have to worry. Simply print it out, and bring it along on your yoga shopping spree. If you'd like to make it an even easier shopping trip, look around the store. There is everything that is a must-have with yoga, and many more accessories that will help to make it much easier.
* First and foremost you need to get at least a couple yoga outfits. While it is a common misconception, that normal workout wear is fine. They can often times be too cumbersome and loose to practice yoga, without having to worry about adjusting your clothes. Most yoga workout wear is snug-fitting, and meant to help you achieve inner peace without worrying about your clothes.
There are shorts, tops, pants, and even capris that are produced for yoga. Giving you a wide variety of clothing to choose from. The one key to selecting the perfect yoga outfit, is by keeping the weather in mind. Chances are, if it is snowing outside you don't want to be caught wearing shorts. However, yoga pants will last throughout the year.
* Second, you have your yoga mat. Whether it is a tai inspired mat or your standard issued yoga mat. They can be found almost anywhere these days, and are affordable for any budget. Some yoga mats have even been made to be somewhat sticky, which will keep the risk of slipping at a minimum. Try going organic! One of the major players in yoga, is living with the world. Giving you more reason to go green.
* The third essential item you must have for yoga, is a few props. Depending on what your instructor plans for the day. It wouldn't be wise to be caught unprepared. From bolsters to meditation stands, there are a lot of props and accessories that are essential for yoga classes. They can be found almost anywhere, from online yoga specialty shops like this one to local shops. However, be mindful of quality. Chances are, if it is too cheaply priced you aren't going to get the amount of use out of them that you'd want.
* The fourth essential yoga item is the yoga bag. Giving you the ability to keep all of your yoga essentials in check. There is nothing worse, than your yoga mat falling into a pile of mud before your lesson. Keep them all in one snug place, all with a little additional style.
* Meditation cushions, while an accessory can help with your yoga practices. Giving you the ability to attune yourself from within. There is nothing worse than a sore bottom on the floor, when you are trying to reach inner peace.
* Yoga dvds to keep your lessons going. Can't make your appointment this week for yoga class? No problem! You've got a couple yoga dvds meant to keep you in the yoga mind set. They are essential for any yoga practitioner, especially those who are short on time.
* Foam blocks, while they would be considered props. Are by far one of the highest priority props for yoga. Thus giving them a spot on the essentials checklist. They can be found separately, or in yoga essential kits.
* A yoga strap is your friend! They are utilized frequently throughout a yoga class, or at home on your own. Much like the foam blocks, they can be found both in a kit or stand alone.
* The yoga ball and hand pump. While they can be found separately, they usually come as a pair. It will give you a leg-up at your class, when you come prepared with these two fantastic yoga essentials.

Why Do Christians Practice Yoga?

Why Do Christians Practice Yoga?
Yoga is exercise. It is a form of fitness that promotes strength, flexibility, and stillness. Most yoga classes that I attend are void of religious references. You pose, you hold it, and you release the pose. Many times you're trying so hard just to balance, keep your arms elevated, or stand in a strenuous position for several minutes that you don't have the time or energy to think about anything else. I am persuaded that most Christians who oppose yoga have never even taken a yoga class.
Yoga is also form of meditation. It is a moving meditation. It has a spiritual side, which is probably where most of the controversy about yoga resides. Yoga has a mind-body-spirit connection. Central to yoga is our breathe. When the breathe slows down, the mind slows down as well. In fact, the purpose of yoga was to prepare the body for meditation. 
When the mind becomes still, we enter into a state of inner peace. When our mind is at peace, we create a greater space for God in our lives, to hear and experience Him on a deeper level, a spiritual level. The Bible says that "the spirit of God is within you." Therefore, it is up to us to prepare our hearts to fellowship with Him. This is why yoga appeals to many Christians.
Those who are against yoga believe it opens Christians up to evil spirits and demons lurking in the darkness. They believe by being still and quieting our minds, we become prey to a host of spiritual unknowns. The majority of Christians who practice yoga know where their allegiance lies and they're not so easily persuaded or manipulated. We know that Jesus is our Lord and we can use yoga to strengthen our relationship with him. We know in our heart and mind how to use yoga as a form to worship God.
I believe there are far more sinister practices that lead Christians down the path of deception and darkness than yoga. These include television, godless movies, popular music, and secular magazines. If Christians want to denounce evil and lead people towards the path of righteousness and holiness, help them to realize how the media is undermining their Christian walk every minute of everyday, not just the several hours per week spent at yoga class. Through the media, we are being feed a daily diet of anti-Christ propaganda that is deceiving us and keeping us from pursuing an intimate relationship with the Lord. Yoga on the other hand, does quite the opposite. Christians can use yoga to detach from these illusions, enter into oneness with God, and create a deeper connection with His spirit.
Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23: 13, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. The growing interest in yoga to the Christian is a result of spiritual hunger.
 Going to church, listening to a sermon, serving in the church is not filling the gaping hole that continues to grow in Christians who don't want more programs but more God. They are not finding it in the building, so they are looking elsewhere. Yoga or a Christ-centered yoga alternative is just another tool that allows Christians to put into practice the scripture that says, "Be still and know that I am God."
When was the last time you we're taught about meditating on God or practiced meditation in the church? When was the last time you spent time dwelling in God's presence in the sanctuary? I can honestly tell you that for me the answer is very rarely. Most churches don't value the quiet. Many may argue that abiding with God is a personal matter; however, many modern-day Christians aren't even familiar with this concept and if they are, they have been discouraged to do so.
 In fact, there are Christians who have been brainwashed to believe that meditation is of the devil. But I believe that there is "no" greater practice that can help a Christian realize a personal, thriving, and growing relationship with God, than to spend time with Him in silence and solitude meditating on his word and abiding in his presence.

Yoga Philosophy

Yoga Philosophy
Yoga is an ancient art that goes way beyond the practice of asanas - postures. It is a philosophy that goes back to the times before the religions existed more than 2,000 years ago. It is a philosophy that talks about union. It talks about union between all human beings and also about union with a greater energy that itself connects us all.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient art that has the aim of bringing the practitioner back to the true self. The ancient scriptures tell us that the true self is the state of bliss. It is a state of inner happiness. The sage Patanjali who wrote the 'Yoga Sutra' - an ancient recorded text on yoga codifying the system to date - gave the definition of yoga as 'Yoga chiti vriti nirodha'. This translates from the original Sanskrit into English to meaning that yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of the psyche. Historically there have been two main paths of yoga -- raja yoga and hatha yoga - and these both ultimately aim for control over the mind. Asana practice - the practice of yoga postures - was created in order to stabilise us for sitting during meditation. Yoga was created ultimately to bring us into meditation and hence deeper states of awareness.
Dhyana
Now the next question arises what is meditation or dhyana in Sanskrit? Meditation is the stilling of the mind by the stilling of the body.
Also pranayama - the breathing techniques of yoga - aim to still the breath and hence still the mind.
Our meditational practices in yoga help us to overcome the ego. The ego is individuality. But in reality we are all connected and with yoga we realise this connection. The definition of yoga is union. Through the practice of yoga one realises the union between the you who you think you are, that is your individual consciousness, and the you who you really are - that is you are a part of a supreme consciousness. In order to transcend between the individual consciousness and the supreme consciousness one needs to overcome the ego. And in order to overcome the ego we need what the Upanishad texts describe as Vivek Chudamani. This is the crown jewel of the power of discrimination over what is real and what is not. Hence we need to be able to see that really there is no I but that we are all connected.
We need to establish what it means to come back to the true self - or what is self realisation. Self realisation is in essence identifying yourself as peace and happiness. Once you have made this true identification you will just radiate peace and happiness.
The Chakras
One way of looking at yoga is in terms of the chakras (energy points within us). Now yoga aims for the ultimate functioning of all the chakras within us. This lifts us from individual consciousness to supreme consciousness.
The Vedas
Now the Vedas - the scriptures which talk about knowledge - say that there are three defects in the mind. These are mala which is dirt, waste, excessive thoughts and emotions. Then there is vikshep which is instability and then there is avaran which means cover. The presence of avaran means that it is very hard for us to see the truth.
The ancient philosophy of India was named Sanathana Dharma which can be translated as meaning the eternal law. It saw everything in the universe as being connected, as having a spiritual union - that is man, animals, nature, the whole universe. In Vedic times - the times in which the Vedas were written - the world was called Vasudevakudambakam which means one world family. When we consider the world as one family, we experience true spirituality. The world at that time was seen as being beyond the differences brought about by race, country or religion. Spirituality is about seeing the unity in all things.
The Paths of Yoga
Moving on from this knowledge, it is important for us to understand that there are several different paths of yoga all of which lead us back to self realisation or inner happiness.
Karma yoga is the yoga of action. It is about removing mala. There are two different types of action or karma. Sakam involves looking for the fruit of one's actions whereas nishkam is purer. It involves not looking for the fruit's of one's actions but acting through a pure heart and pure mind with no thought for expectation. Living a life of nishkam karma leads to a happier, more well balanced and peaceful life.
Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion. There exists conditional devotion, however unconditional devotion is what is needed to remove vikshep or instability.
Gyana yoga is the yoga of knowledge. It exists in order to remove avaran or cover. Gyana yoga talks a lot about the nature of consciousness. Now the nature of consciousness can be described as 'sat chit anand'. 'Sat' is existence or truth. We are all immortal in the sense that we are all souls and the soul itself is immortal. This is our true nature. We are all in search of our true immortal selves - our souls. This is why we constantly aim to live a longer life - we are trying to connect with our true selves - our immortal souls. 'Chit' is wisdom - hence we are all looking for wisdom, we are looking for the wisdom that inherently is inside every one of us. 'Anand' is bliss. Happiness is that which we have all always looked for and in the deepest core of our beings we are all essentially happiness or bliss. On the basis of sat chit anand we are all looking for self realisation or inner happiness through knowledge.

Seven Types of Yoga

Seven Types of Yoga
One of the best things about yoga is that it is easy on the body. Anyone, of any fitness level, age or gender can do it. Even those with previous injuries or physical ailments can do yoga. You have the ability to start out slowly performing some of the easier positions and then work your way up to the more difficult stances. For those who are very fit, some yoga offers a much more intensive workout, so there is definitely something for everyone.
How many types of yoga are there?
Contrary to popular belief yoga is not simply one set of poses. There is much more to it than that and a wide variety of different yoga styles that you can choose from, although in the West, the practice is normally referred to as yoga, as Western instructors normally combine a few of the methods and create their own unique styles of yoga to suit their goals.
Traditionally, there are 6 different types of yoga that are practiced around the world, but 7 if you include the new form, Bikram, which has been widely commercialized and is extremely popular.
1. Hatha 
2. Raja 
3. Karma 
4. Bhakti 
5. Jnana 
6. Tantra 
7. Bikram
So let's go into more detail about each type of yoga and what it involves:
Hatha Yoga
Hatha (meaning sun) is the most commonly practiced form of yoga in the Western hemisphere with two important principles that are promoted:
• Meditation 
• Improving Energy Within the Body
The meditation includes finding a position that is the most comfortable for you and as you gain strength and become more advanced you will find the one that is best for you. Most people go with the lotus position. The lotus position is done seated with your legs crossed and intertwined. The left foot is over the right thigh and the right foot is over the left thigh.
Improving energy within the body is done using various poses and focusing on the light energy that travels through your body. It is about bringing positivity and healing into your body.
Raja Yoga
Raja (royal) is slightly more difficult than Hatha, but similar, and requires more control and self discipline, as it aims to achieve awakening and enlightenment. It is also known as Classical yoga or Ashtanga yoga and focuses on the principles of meditation, concentration, and mind/body discipline. As per the eightfold path to enlightenment teachings, there are 8 limbs, or parts, to Raja yoga:
1. Moral discipline 
2. Self restraint 
3. Concentration 
4. Meditation 
5. Breath control 
6. Posture 
7. Sensory inhibition 
8. Ecstasy
Raja yoga aims to control thought waves and calm the mind, allowing you to eventually achieve self awareness.
Karma Yoga
Karma (discipline of action) is generally referred to in the sense of doing good or bad to others will result in the same thing happening to you. In yoga terms, Karma means a selfless action and to perform this kind of yoga, you are supposed to surrender yourself and serve humanity and mankind selflessly.
Karma yoga is based in Hinduism and was founded by Bhagavad Vita. The main aim of this type of yoga is to purify the mind and heart, getting rid of negative energy and negative thinking. The important aspect of Karma yoga that you must understand is that you will learn to have no attachment to the results of your actions, as this will lead you to freedom of fear and sorrow.
Karma yoga as you can see is more spiritually based than physically and there are no specific poses that are linked to this type, but it is more about using the best postures that you are comfortable with, therefore they tend to be simpler.

Yoga Has A Rich History In The US

Yoga Has A Rich History In The US
It might surprise many people to learn that yoga has a long history in the United States. For a lot of Americans, their knowledge of yoga may only date back to the 1960s, when the concepts of spiritualism and meditation were embraced by the country's counterculture.
But it might surprise you to learn that yoga has a far longer history in the U.S., dating back to the late 1800s.
In 1883, Swami Vivekananda made an appearance at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago where he greeted his "sisters and brothers of America", a salutation that brought a standing ovation from the large audience in attendance. His idea that all of the religions of the world are merely separate parts of a larger religion was a new concept to those hearing him speak about the mind, body and spirit.
Shortly after the arrival of Swami Vivekananda, Yogendra Mastamani also traveled to the U.S. from India and set up a base in Long Island, N.Y. in 1919 and created the American branch of Kaivalyadhama, which is an India-based group that was a leader in the exploration of yoga from a scientific perspective. Mastamani introduced Hatha Yoga to the United States.
One year later, one of the most popular yogis of all time, Paramahansa Yogananda, arrived in Boston to introduce kriya yoga to the U.S. He created the Self-Realization Fellowship, which now has its headquarters in Los Angeles. Yogananda also wrote the world-famous best seller, "Autobiography of a Yogi", a book that is still an inspirational resource for many yoga instructors and students.
Beginning in the 1930s, Jiddu Krishnamurti achieved a new level of notoriety for a yogi when he began giving well-received, eloquent seminars on Jnana-Yoga, or the yoga of discernment. His enlightening talks brought him attention from a number of celebrities, including actors Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo and writers Aldous Huxley and George Bernard Shaw.
In 1924, the U.S. imposed a restriction on the number of Indians it would allow to move to the U.S., meaning students who sought the teachings of yogis had to travel to India. One of these students was Theos Bernard, who traveled to India and came back in 1947 to write the book "Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience", an influential book which is still widely today.
In that same year, yogi Indra Devi, born in Russia, opened one of the original Hatha Yoga studios in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area and was given the title of "The First Lady of Yoga". Devi was admired by housewives across the U.S., as well as Hollywood stars such as Gloria Swanson, Jennifer Jones and Robert Ryan. Devi passed away in her Buenos Ares home in 2002.
But there is one man who is credited with bringing yoga into the mainstream of America and, ironically, he is not a native of India. While Richard Hittleman did study in India for several years, he came back to the U.S. in 1950 and worked as a yoga instructor in New York, introducing a non-spiritual version of yoga to the country and altered the way yoga is perceived in the U.S. Hittleman emphasized the physical aspects of yoga to a Western audience used to focusing on the body rather than the mind. Hittleman's goal was to teach American students to gradually embrace the spiritual side of yoga, which many people have.