Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The main components of yoga are postures and breathing. The practice entails low-impact physical activity, postures (called asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), relaxation, and meditation which is paramount to keeping a sound body and mind.
|Yoga styles chart|
Yoga is the science of life and a healthy way of living. It is an easy mode of exercise to be fit physically and mentally. The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit root "Yuj" which means 'join' and 'unite'.
Dimensions of Yoga
The eight limbs (dimensions) of Yoga are as follows and is thus called Ashtanga Yoga :
- Yama (Universal Moral Commandments)
- iyama (Self Discipline and Purification)
- Asana (Posture)
- Pranayama (Controlling and Expanding the breath)
- Pratyahara (Withdrawal from the senses)
- Dharana (Concentration)
- Dhyana (Meditation)
- Samadhi (Being one with the Universal Consciousness)
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.
The best time for practising yoga is early in the morning with empty stomach and evening before going to bed.
Styles of yoga
This type of yoga features ancient yoga teachings. However, it became popular during the 1970s. Ashtanga applies six established sequences of postures that rapidly link every movement to breath.
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.
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.
This type focuses on finding the correct alignment in each pose using a range of props, such as blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and bolsters.
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.
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 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 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, this type of yoga features asana, pranayama, and meditation customized to create a specific outcome.
In the late 1980s, practitioners developed this active and athletic type of yoga, based on the traditional ashtanga system.
This is yoga features 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
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has numerous benefits which all aim at keeping a sound body and mind.
- Helps in self-discipline and self-control, also in self-awareness.
- Attainment of a higher level of consciousness, improve hygiene, integrate moral values.
- Improves attention in studies, better stamina even in sports.
- Peace at a mental level, leading to inner and outer harmony.
- Helps to manage stress and anxiety, keeps you relax, increase flexibility.
- Removes negative thoughts Flow out toxins.
- Yoga benefits heart health.
- Helps with back pain relief.
- Better capability to cope with oxidative stress.
- Higher endurance at extreme cold conditions.
- Optimum oxygen utilization by the body.
- Improved lung capacity.
- Better sleep quality.
- A relatively happy and positive mind
Conclusively, It takes lot patience and perseverance to practice yoga. Initially we just perceive it as a physical activity. With time, we realise that it is not something just physical. It influences your thoughts, your emotions, how you react to stressful situations, how you tackle an everyday problem, how aware are you about your surroundings, how focused are you in your tasks. Keeping a sound body and mind is up to you literally, and you can start today by practising yoga, start with the basic yoga styles and you can gradually move to the complex.