Yoga has been proven to relieve stress by using exercises that unify the mind, body, and spirit. If you are new to yoga, these seven tips will start you on the road to a more centered life. 1. Talk to your doctor and explain what type of yoga poses you intend to practice. Show your doctor pictures of the poses for illustration. Your doctor may rule out specific poses if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, a history of retinal detachment, or heart disease. Make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendations. 2. Find a yoga class that best fits your abilities. Talk to prospective teachers, and decide whether of not you can handle a program before you sign up. It’s very important to take it one step at a time. Try a few beginner classes before you attempt more vigerous classes. Don’t move ahead too quickly. Allow your body to adjust to your exercises. 3. Listen to your body and be aware of your physical abilities. You don't want to hurt yourself. Make sure the instructor understands your level of experience and any limitations you may have. Don’t allow anyone to push you ahead too quickly. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing. 4. If you can’t find a class that meets your needs, you can always practice yoga at home. There are many books, programs, and tapes available to help you get started. Search for the best products on the Internet and read reviews. Talk to others for recommenations. 5. Why not try private lessons? You can book some one-on-one sessions with a teacher in your area. Most yoga instructors offer private classes or can help you design your own program. This is a good way to get started. You can always take group lessons or practice at home after you’ve had private lessons and learned the basics. 6. Find a yoga buddy. It’s nice to practice with someone and it will help reduce injuries. It’s also a great way to keep up your enthusiasm and interest. 7. Eat lightly before practice. Wait at least two hours after meals before yoga class or practice. An empty stomach is best, but don’t let yourself get too hungry to think. You won't be able to focus on the poses or enjoy yourself during the relaxation or meditation exercises. Now it's time to grab your mat and a towel and get the most out of your yoga exercises.
An All-Around Yoga Exercise: 12-Step Salute to the Sun One of the all-around yoga exercises is the 12-step salute to the sun. Do it once or twice when you get up in the morning to help relieve stiffness and invigorate the body. Multiple repetitions at night will help you to relax; insomniacs often find that six to 12 rounds help them fall asleep. 1. Stand with your feet slightly apart, palms together, thumbs against your chest. 2. Inhale deeply while slowly raising your hands over your head, and bend back as far as possible, while tightening your buttocks. Hold for three seconds. 3. Slowly exhale and bend forward, keeping your knees straight, until your fingers touch the floor outside your feet. (If you can't touch the floor, go as close as you can.) Bring your head in toward your knees. 4. Slowly inhale, bend your knees, and if your fingertips aren't outside your feet on the floor, place them there. Slide your right foot back as far as you can go, with the right knee an inch or so off the floor, (a lunge position). Now look up as high as possible, arching your back. 5. Before exhaling again, slide your left foot back until it is beside the right one, and with your weight supported on your palms and toes, straighten both legs so that your body forms a flat plane. Make sure your stomach is pulled in. 6. Slowly exhale, bend both knees to the floor, bend with your hips in the air, lower your chest and forehead to the floor. 7. Now inhale slowly and look up, bending your head back, then raising it, followed by your upper chest, then lower chest. Your lower body - from the navel down - should be on the floor, and your elbows should be slightly bent. Hold for three to five seconds. 8. Exhale slowly and raise your hips until your feet and palms are flat on the floor and your arms and legs are straight in an inverted V position. 9. Inhale slowly and bring your right foot forward as in position 4. The foot should be flat on the floor between your fingertips. The left leg should be almost straight behind you, with its knee slightly off the floor. Raise your head, look up, and arch your back. 10. Slowly exhale and bring your left foot forward next to your right one. Straighten your legs and stand, trying to keep your fingertips on the floor, and try to touch your head to your knees as in position 3. 11. Slowly inhale, raise your arms up and stretch back as in position 2. Don't forget to tighten your buttocks. Hold for three seconds. 12. Slowly exhale, lowering your arms to your sides. Relax. Repeat the series.
Many who think of strength training equipment think of the massive muscles that many bodybuilders get and consequently show off in competitions. This can be a plus or a drawback for many consumers. The average consumer likes to be able to say feel good about themselves when they go swimming, but many are concerned about building too much muscle and suffering from stereotypical viewpoints. This needn’t be a worry for anyone considering strength training equipment. The average body builder works out a lot in order to get the muscles they are famous for, plus they have to be on a very strict regimen with lots of protein and little or no fat. It would take you a lot of effort to become as built as the average bodybuilder. Many consumers can use simple free weights in order to maintain the muscle mass that they have or to add a little muscle strength. Some use strength training equipment to add a little tone or shape to certain areas of the body. If you use them properly and alternate your strength training workout with some yoga or stretching exercises there is little risk of you bulking up too much. Many find that they enjoy the challenge of working out with strength training equipment. You can gradually increase the weight as you work out over a period of time and after your workout you really will feel the ‘burn’ in your muscles. Though you should be careful of using too much weight at once. Its easy to sprain a muscle and hurt yourself, putting you out of commission for a few days or more. A good rule of thumb is that if you think you can start out with a certain weight begin about five or even ten pounds lighter and after a few repetitions move up to the next weight level. You can check out strength training equipment reviews online for an idea of what others are doing.
While on the way to spot a friend of mine at the local YMCA, he asked why I didn’t just join the gym and I explained to him that I practice Yoga and occasional calisthenics at home for my exercises and really didn’t feel the need for a gym membership. His response was predictable: “Yoga…isn’t that just stretching?” I smirked at the familiarity of the question and proceeded to explain to him the theme of this article. As I told him and for those who may not know otherwise: No, Yoga is way more than just stretching or getting into supposedly awkward looking poses and positions. It is a combination of stretching, breathing exercises, meditation and perhaps the most overlooked limb, adherence to a proper diet. The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as a "union" or a method of discipline. Its ultimate goal is the union of man with God or the universe in one breath. Furthermore, it aims to liberate the spirit as the mind and spirit are equally involved in its practice. Yoga is indeed the oldest existing physical-culture system in the world. Besides being a systematic and scientifically proven path to attaining physical fitness, it delays aging, rejuvenates and improves one’s appearance, maintains suppleness and increases vitality and the creative part of life. With its core warm-up exercises known as the Sun Salutations (which are somewhat similar to the calisthenics exercise known as ‘burpees’), the inversion poses, forward and backward bending poses, balancing exercises for the arms and building focus, the average practitioner will attest to the fact that for attaining fitness, Yoga can stand its own. Think Yoga can’t help with building strength? Think again. Heck, I challenge the most adept body-builder to hold the simple yet powerful peacock-pose for 90 seconds straight. Bet you they’d crash half-way in its execution-if they make it that far. Yoga also offers unique breathing exercises which are wonderful for patients with respiratory disorders and even singers and public speakers, moreover with its unique relaxation pose, oft times practiced during and after its execution, Yoga offers a systematic means of deeply relaxing the entire body perhaps the way no other exercise can. (Keep in mind of course that several of the poses give a deep body massage not unlike the ones received in salons…just thought I should throw that in.) With countless books, DVD’s, videos and classes being offered for all ages, levels of fitness and experience (some of them being actually free for the first couple of lessons to try Yoga out), I suggest you give it a trial and see for yourself what it can do. One thing I promise you is this; you will walk out of your class and nod in agreement that indeed: “yoga is way more than just stretching.” It is THE exercise.
Swami Kuvalyanand once said: “Yoga has a message for the human body, for the human mind and the human spirit.” This is a truism as a healthy body is the prime requisite for success and happiness in life. People are increasingly being convinced that yoga makes for good health, contentment and happiness in present day stressful life and is not just an exercise regimen. In this article we will discuss Anuloma-Viloma (alternate breathing) pranayama. Pranayama simply means proper ‘management’ of the vital force - prana. Although the basic principle remains the same, many different types of pranayama have been devised, each with its own unique technique. Anuloma-Viloma or nadi shuddhi pranayama (nerve purifying pranayama) is one such kind and is considered one of the basic forms. The practice of Anuloma Viloma is somewhat like the squad that regulates traffic on roads, looks after their cleanliness, beautification, etc and keeps the traffic moving smoothly and efficiently. The method involves breathing in (pooraka) through one nostril and vice versa. Therefore this pranayama has the name anuloma viloma, i. e. alternate breathing. To practice this, you have to sit in any of the yogic sitting postures. To begin with, carry on normal breathing applying moola bandha (i. efortable anal contraction). Keeping a stable moola bandha, breathe in and breathe out completely. Ensure that the moola bandha is not loosened during the process. Pause for a while between breathing in and breathing out. Breathe in deeply through the left nostril and breathe out through the right; then breathe in through the right and out through the left. Continue breathing this way, i. e. alternately from left and right nostrils, for one to three minutes. After reaching a comfort level in this way, you may move to the next stage. Close the right nostril with the right thumb keeping the other four fingers together. Now, slowly breathe in through the left nostril at a uniform speed. Repeat with the other nostril. While breathing in, raise the shoulders and expand the chest taking the ribs up. The lower abdominal region, however, must be held in. Benefits: The respiratory passage is cleaned and this prepares one well for the practice of other pranayamas. Breathing becomes easy and regulated. The mind becomes and heartbeat rhythmic. Also aids in enhancing concentration, memory and other mental faculties. Contraindications: Severe pain in abdomen, swelling on account of appendicitis, enlargement of liver, very delicate bowels or intestines, disorders of the lungs, severe throat infections, growth in the nose (polypus) or blockage of the nasal passage due to cold, etc. Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article and the site. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
Applications in Cancer Treatment A cure for cancer exists through the use of yoga, a San Antonio, Texas, cancer specialist said during a seminar in Oklahoma City in the 1980s. But physicians refused to acknowledge the cure, said Col. Hansa Raval, M. D., a pathologist with the United States Army. Dr. Raval said her work in cytotechnology _ a diagnostic branch of medicine designed to pinpoint early stages of cancer _ was fruitless until she began researching the use of non-conventional methods of treatment. The specialist said she witnessed the use of Raja yoga and meditation cure crippling arthritis, headaches and even cancer. And even though Raval offers proof, which she said was collected during two years of study at the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in India, she has been dismissed by other members of the medical profession as a kook. Yoga's success as a treatment method is due to another hypothesis Raval proposes that 98 percent of all cancer is psychosomatic. This is not chanting or mantra reciting, the physician said. It's not based on scriptures. It's not a cult. It's not biofeedback. It's deeper than that. This is a full-proof method of meditation, a detailed understanding of what the soul is. Raval maintains that medical schools belittle the study of non-conventional methods of cancer treatment in favor of conventional methods such as radiation, chemotherapy, and treatment through machines.' Medical schools teach students that the human being is only a body. But the mind has the power to cure the body. By definition, psychosomatic means a combination of mind, or soul and body. The soul creates the disease, but the body suffers. If the psyche creates the disease, the only way to cure it is through the psyche. It's a very simple formula: treating the seed of the problem. Further, studies in parapsychology all point to the treatment of illness through treatment of the soul. The World Spiritual University, which has branches in 30 countries, teaches peace and perfection for health and happiness through the use of Raja yoga. The university gained status as a non-governmental member of the United Nations and has offices at the U. N. building in New York. Raja yoga teaches students to search their soul world for answers on where they came from and why the cancer entered their body. They learn what role religion, stress, family and lifestyle played in the cancer.
Ardha Kurmasana is also known as Half Tortoise Yoga Asana. Due to its resemblance to a tortoise it is known as the tortoise pose. This yoga asana can prove to be very beneficial to your body in every possible way. By performing this asana regularly and properly our bodies can be rejuvenated. The organs get stretched to its maximum with every movement of this asana. The shoulder movement gets improved and so does the muscles in the corresponding areas. The abdominal muscles gets toned and become more flexible. The asana stretches the lower part of the lungs which is good for your breathing. It also increases the lung capacity which proves to be crucial if you have breathing problems like asthma. The pressure put on your neck and head improves migraine problems. It can be stated as a stress buster due to its stress relieving capacity. Stomach related problems are solved too. If you suffer from indigestion or constipation this asana helps to improve it greatly. The digestive system is up and running with the help of the asana. Fresh supply of blood is provided to each and every organ for a smooth flowing bodily system. It relaxes the brain by the fresh supply of blood. Many of your sleeping problems are addressed by performing this asana. It is a good cure for insomnia. Backache problems can termed as a thing of past. Ardha Kurmasana stretches the spine which relieves you from any backache or spine problems. Due to the level of blood circulation, your heart remains fit and fine. The bending and stretching increases the level of flexibility of your arms and hips. Toning gives great shape to your body which keeps you positive and healthy. The internal organs are massaged very well to bring the extra zest needed for your body. It serves as a great remedy for anemic as well as diabetic patients. The pressure on the thigh and legs makes it strong and sturdy. It also tones the thigh muscles due to the position in which the asana is done. The spine is elongated by the stretch provided during the asana. It is a benefit in disguise, as it cures many ailments. Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article and the site. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
Ashtanga Yoga is the type of yoga which was urbanized and founded by K. Pattabhi Jois. This kind of yoga is known as the Eight Limb Yoga which has revolved in Pattanjali's massive idea. It presented that the path of purification is made up of the eight spiritual practices. The first four limbs that represent Ashtanga Yoga are - yama, niyama, Asana and the Pranayama. These are considered cleansing practices which are externally correctable. The other set of limbs which are the - pratyahara, dhyana, dharana are the internal practices. These limbs can only be corrected by the appropriate application of the Ashtanga Yoga method. This type of yoga method is quite dangerous to the mind. K. Pattabhi Jois said that practicing these Eight Limbs and also its sub-limbs of the external practices which include the niyama and yama is not possible. In doing so, the body should be strong enough so that it can perform the practices. If the body is weak, and the sense organs are not functioning well, practicing will never be useful to the person at all. The philosophy which K. Pattabhi Jois has applied is that you must keep in mind that after doing this Ashtanga Yoga the body will improve and it will be stronger and healthier. Vinsaya and Tristhana are practiced in Ashtanga Yoga. The Vinsaya is a style that makes Ashtanga and its principles discrete from the others. Vinsaya means the movement and breathing which is used for the internal cleansing process. Each movement done is accompanied by only one breath. Sweat is the most important product of Vinsaya. When you produce sweat, it only means that you are successfully applying the practice. When you perform the Asanas, the body creates heat which causes your blood to boil and excrete the toxins outside of your body. The toxins are found in your sweat. So the more sweat you create, the more toxins are released. These yoga poses are used to fully develop the strength and health of the body. The series of practices make this possible. There are three postures used in Ashtanga Yoga. The three are classified on different levels. The first is the Primary Series which aims on aligning the body and also detoxifying it. The second is the Intermediate Series opening and cleaning the energy channels which comes to the process of purifying the Nervous System. The last series would be the Advanced Series from A to D. in this series, the grace and strength is measured. The Tristhana is another yoga principle which represents the union of the three places of action and attention. First is the posture, second is the breathing technique ad last is the Dristhi of the Looking Place. All these three should work altogether to perform a function. Breathing techniques are simultaneous and synchronized. It is important to make a single breath for one movement. Ujjayi Breathing is the Yoga Breathing Technique used in the application of Ashtanga Yoga. Applying this technique must be prolonged after every practice. What you need to master is holding your pose longer at the same time hold your breath. This is an amazing breathing exercise that will increase your internal fire and will strengthen the Nervous System. Both Ashtanga and Tristhana deal with the series of Dristhi. The Dristhi is described as the point on which you gain your focus or attention while doing the Asana. This enables your mind to be purified and stabilized clearly. Setting the mind clear and cleansing it can only be done in the Eight-Limb Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga.
Astanga Vinyasa Yoga Astanga, or sometimes spelled ashtanga Yoga is actually taught today by a man named Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, in Mysore, India. He has brought astanga yoga to the west about 25 years ago and still teaches today at 91 years of age. Astanga yoga began with the rediscovery of the ancient manuscript Yoga Korunta. It describes a unique system of Hatha yoga as practiced and created by the ancient sage Vamana Rishi. It is believed to be the original asana practiced intended by Patanjali. The Yoga Korunta emphasizes vinyasa, or breath-synchronized movement, where one practices a posture with specific breathing patterns associated with it. This breathing technique is called ujayyi pranayama, or the victorious breath, and it is a process that produces intense internal heat and a profuse sweat that purifies and detoxifies the muscles and organs. This also releases beneficial hormones and nutrients, and is usually massaged back into the body. The breath ensures efficient circulation of blood. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body and a calm mind. There is a proper sequence to follow when practicing Astanga yoga. One must graduate from one sequence of postures to move onto the next. The Primary Series (Yoga Chikitsa) detoxifies and aligns the body, purifying it so that toxins do not block. The Intermediate Series (Nadi Shodhana) purifies the nervous system by opening and clearing the energy channels, allowing energy to pass through easily. The Advanced Series A, B, C, and D (Sthira Bhaga) integrate the grace and stamina of the practice, which calls for intense flexibility. It is best to find a trained and knowledgeable teacher to assist you through this discipline. It is an intense practice that is rigorous, six days a week. You are guaranteed to find inner peace and fulfillment with each breath you take.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) is also known as the Cobbler's Pose because of the similarity to a cobblers sitting position. It is an excellent asana which helps your groin and hip position. It is a forward bending asana which starts off from Staff Pose or Dandasana. You have to bend your knees by bringing the soles of the feet together. This forward bending asana is very different to the other forward bending asanas. The focus area in this asana is to open the hip and help the pelvic area. This help to the pelvic area stimulates the reproductive organs which are of great help to women as well as men. The performance of this asana also helps in alleviating the menstrual pain problems. It is very useful to have a comfortable child birth, if practiced regularly during the period of pregnancy. Also clears menopause related problems. Baddha Konasana stimulates the abdominal organs as well as the ovaries, prostate gland, bladder and kidneys. It energizes your heart which improves the blood circulation and provides the all needed help to your body. This asana stretches the inner thigh, groin and knees which gives your body an agile and toned look. If you have problems like depression or anxiety this asana can help you overcome that problem. People with sciatica problem can also be treated by performing this asana regularly. It is a great asana because of its tremendous benefits for our aching and paining body. Known to be a therapeutic treatment for flat feet and similar other problems to be dealt by this asana. The practice of Baddha Konasana prevents the attack of many other diseases. The forward bending asana helps in opening the back of the Anahata chakra. It can be greatly used for back pain problems. This asana should either be done in the beginning to open up the hips or at the end to relax your body. You should avoid doing this asana if you have a groin or knee injury. It is very important to perform this asana while sitting on a blanket as it gives support to your thighs. This asana is very important if it is done properly and enough time is given on every step. This is a very hard pose to manage on your own; maybe you should take help from your yoga teacher or a partner. You can make this pose much deeper by adding variations to it. The can be done by stretching their arms out in the front with the palms on the floor and forehead placed on the ground by extending the spine. Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article and the site. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
Basic Sitting Postures with Benefits JANU SIRSASANA: Correct foot placement Sit up straight with legs evenly extended in front. Bend the right leg at the knee and place the foot so that the heel is in the right groin and the front of the foot touches the left thigh. Turn the foot so that the bottom of the foot is facing upward and press the knee back to form an obtuse angle with the body. This position will be difficult at first; don't force it. Put a folded blanket under the knee and also under the hips. Gradually the knee will move farther back. Just keep the foot correctly positioned. JANU SIRSASANA: Correct, perfect posture Having positioned the foot and knee correctly, stretch the left leg out, keeping the leg firmly on the mat. Settle the heel firmly and stretch the toes up. (The heel should pull gently away from the ankle.) Now inhale and bend forward over the straight leg, catching the foot with both hands if possible. Beginners should bend only as far as they can without rounding the back. When this posture is done correctly and completely, the body will roll forward over the extended leg, absolutely flat from the tail bone to the head. Stay there breathing normally for as long as you can. Inhale, release the handhold, come up smoothly, straighten the bent leg and relax. Repeat on other side. JANU SIRSASANA: Wrong posture The heel is not positioned against its own thigh. The knee has not been pushed back as far as possible to form an obtuse angle. The back is humped and curved because the pelvis is jammed and unable to lift properly. Instead of a smooth, complete stretching of the spine, the lumbar is over-stretched and the rest of the spine constricted. The left leg is not flat on the floor. TRIANG MUKHAIPADA PASCHIMOTTANASANA: Sitting, forward-bending pose over one leg This posture generally follows the previous one. Sit with your legs stretched in front. Bend the right leg so that the right foot is near the right hip. The toes should point back. The right calf presses against the right thigh. The body will tilt in this position so put a small folded towel under the left buttock to keep the hips level and the forward stretch even and extended. Hold the left foot with both hands, inhale and bend forward, keeping both knees together as you stretch forward over the straight leg. Many students will find it difficult in this position to even take hold of the foot of the outstretched leg. Do not despair. Just hold the knee, shin or ankle, and sit, breathing deeply, in whichever position represents your best extension. If the back is tight and the spine inflexible, this will take time. Release the hold and straighten the bent leg. Repeat on the other side.
Basic Yoga Postures and their Variations 1. THE COBRA Do this in easy stages. Lie down, face prone, legs tightly together and stretched back, forehead on the floor. Put your hands, palm down, just under your shoulders. Inhale and raise your head, pressing your neck back, now use your hands to push your trunk up until you are bending in a beautiful arc from your lower spine to the back of your neck. You need go no further than this. However, if you are supple enough, you can now straighten your arms completely, bend the legs at the knees and drop your head back to touch your feet. Even if your head goes nowhere near your feet, drop it back as far as possible and hold the posture with deep breathinge out of the posture very slowly, returning to the face prone posture. Relax with your head to one side. Repeat. 2. THE BOW This is also an extreme version of the simple bow. It is surprising how many children can do it immediately. Take it, once again, in easy stages. Lie face prone on your mat. If you are very slim have a nice thick, padded mat for this one. Inhale and bend your knees up. Stretch back with your arms and catch hold of your ankles, keeping fingers and thumbs all together on the outside. Inhale and at the same time raise your head and chest, pulling at your ankles and lifting knees and thighs off the floor. Breathe normally, trying to kick up your legs higher and lifting your head up. You are now bent like a bow, balancing the weight of your body on your abdomen. You can stop right here but if you can still stretch further, then slide your hands down your legs, lift them higher, keep the knees together and pull back as much as you can. Hold for a few normal deep breaths, then relax back to the face-prone position, head to one side. 3. THE SHOOTING BOW In Sanskrit this is known as Akarna Dhanurasana and one leg is drawn up like a shooting bow. Sit with both legs stretched out in front and back straight. Reach forward with both hands and clasp your feet, catching the right foot with the left hand and the left foot with the right hand. Inhale, bend the left knee and pull the foot across the body, close to your chest, pointing the elbow up and twisting the body slightly to the right. The left hand stays firm and tight, holding the right foot. Hold posture with normal breathing, release slowly, and relax. Repeat on other side. In the beginning it is enough to hold the bent left leg with the right hand. When this is easy, stretch down and hold the left foot with the right hand. Continue to pull on the left foot, lifting it higher on each exhalation.
Beginners’ Yoga Video Offers Good Instruction Trying to find well-produced fitness videos that are truly suitable for beginners can be a daunting challenge. Most tapes these days aim at intermediate exercisers, the ones who know a grapevine from a box step and a lateral raise from a biceps curl. These tapes may offer a few easier moves here and there, but the instruction clearly is geared to people who already know what to do. The few tapes that are marketed for beginners often are unspeakably repetitive, as if flabby muscles always mean a flabby brain. And too often, they provide no way to add extra challenge or difficulty to the routine, as if beginning exercisers are going to remain beginners forever. It's nice, then, to discover Yoga Zone: Flexibility and Tone, a beginners' tape that offers the depth of instruction and easy pace that true beginners need. The instructor here is Alan Finger, a genial-looking middle-aged man who wears a polo shirt, rolled-up cotton pants and a chin-length bob. His physique is not the standard chiseled form of exercise videos; he looks as if he might carry a few extra pounds around the middle. But he has a lovely voice (with a hint of a brogue) and a calm manner, two essentials for a yoga tape, where relaxation is key. And he has a true gift for instruction, combining the nuts-and-bolts details of positioning with what it feels like to stretch and balance. When he describes how the muscles of the feet ought to rotate through to the little toe, you'll know -- and be able to feel -- just what he's talking about. But each move contains so many of these instructions that it can be a little overwhelming to try to master all of them at once. If you have tried yoga before, you'll recognize some of them -- the down-on-all-fours stretch called the cat, the inverted V that forms the down dog, and the corpse, which requires little more than lying flat on one's back, completely relaxed. In another nod to beginners, Finger also provides true modifications and tips for those who may not be as flexible as they'd like. Finger shows how a folded blanket can be placed under the knees or for better support while performing seated postures. A folded towel also is used for several poses, although Finger doesn't announce that in advance. The 50-minute session ends with stretching and relaxation, set to gentle New Age music that might lull you to sleep.
The benefit of yoga is twofold - increased health and unification of the spirit with the body. It is accomplished through the use of many different aspects, but mainly through the combination of Asanas, or postures, and breathing/meditation practices. This raises many question in the Christian community. In my research for this article, I was very surprised at the viewpoint of the Christian apologists, and their take on yoga and its practice. I have hesitated on writing this article because of that viewpoint. However, I feel that this question and the stance of the Christian community warrants reflection on the subject. Yoga has a history dating back over five thousand years, to the beginning of the civilization of man. Little is really known about Yoga. it is believed to have originated in Mehrgarh, a neolithic settlement in what is now Afghanistan. Scholars believe it has grown out of Stone Age Shamanism. In this early period of civilization's beginnings, Yoga was a community resource, because of its attempts to determine cosmic order through inner vision, and apply it to daily living. In later years, yoga evolved into an inner dialogue through which the Yogis sought to develop their own salvation and enlightenment. Archaeological evidence of the existence of Yoga first appeared in stone seals excavated from the Indus valley. It depicted figures in many Yogic Asanas, or postures, and officially put Yoga in the time period of approximately 3000 B. C. Of greater import, it also linked yoga to the great Indus-Sarasvati Civilization, a period in time that was considered modern and efficient. From the Indus-Sarasvati civilization came the ancient texts known as the Vedas, the oldest scriptures in the world. The Vedas are a collection of hymns that praise a higher power and contains the oldest recorded history of Yoga teachings. The Vedas required the practitioner to transcend human limitations, and reach a higher spiritual plane. In later years, texts known as the Brahmanas were written to explain the rituals and the hymns of the Vedas. Following this came the Aranyakas texts, which outlined the practice of Yogis living in the seclusion of the forest. This led to the beginning of India's medical tradition, known as Ayurveda. All in all, Yoga transformed into a practice of health, harmony of the spirit, and a way of life. The Christian viewpoint is thus - if one opens the mind to clearer thinking and inner vision, they open the spirit to demonic possession. It is felt that Yoga practice borders on occultism, and that opening one's mind and spirit to the benefit of yoga is both dangerous and against everything Christianity preaches. Christians believe that studying yoga is akin to practicing Hinduism, and one cannot separate the philosophy of Hinduism from their Christian beliefs, regardless of the health benefit of yoga. As a practicing Buddhist, I take issue with this viewpoint. To me, this smacks of tunnel vision and narrowmindedness. A Christian is expected to open their heart and minds to Jesus, and to give in to the spirit of the Lord. They are expected to rely on blind faith, and to accept the word of God as the only truth in the world. A thinking person would find this hypocritical, for on the one hand Christians preach that Yoga must be avoided because opening the mind to clearer vision encourages the possibility of demonic possession, yet on the other hand preaches that one must open the mind and heart to accept Jesus into their lives. Opening one's heart and mind is exactly that - whether it is to look into one's self, or to accept Jesus into their lives. If, as Christians preach, we are open to demonic possession if we look inside ourselves and open the mind to all the possibilities, how then can we safely open our hearts to the concept of Christianity? Is there a gatekeeper who makes this decision when we do so that determines what path we are to follow? I think not... For the record, I was raised in a Christian household. My father was the deacon of a small Baptist church in the farming community where we lived. My mother, who taught us children to question everything, moved from the Baptist community to the Assembly of God churches, and was ostracized by my father. I think that to her dying day, she resented my father for this narrowmindedness. Life is a matter of choice, and my mother believed that we are not required to operate under the illusion of blind faith, but to do what is right to us as an individual. And it is why I walk the Noble 8 Folded Path. It is simply a matter of choice, and questioning everything in this universe. I believe that the practice of yoga is a good thing. It provides us with great health benefits, clearer vision, and harmony in our souls. And in this day and age, what else is there? Whether we be Christians, Muslims, or Buddhists, we must not disrespect the feelings and thoughts of others, their rights to practice as they wish, or try to push our views down other people's throats. To live in harmony is exactly that... To find out more about the benefit of yoga, visit my website at benefitofyoga. blogspot.
The practice of Yoga brings with it many physical and emotional benefits that the majority of people are unaware of. This article is quite long, so we have broken it up into two parts. The first part is an introduction to Yoga and a overview of the major physical and psychological benefits of Yoga, while the second part shows how practicing yoga daily can have a profound effect on your ability to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself. Yoga is a science; and indeed, in many places in the world (such as India), it is referred to as a science. This is not merely playing with words; it truly is approached as a science, which means that it is understood in terms of scientific methods. Yogic science seeks to verify cause and effect, and build principles based upon objective observations. Indeed, in many places in the world, to be a yogic master of any credibility, one must be highly educated in the sciences, including physics and the biological sciences. This discussion on yoga as science is important for us to include because it allows us to sensibly ask the question: what are the benefits of yoga? After all, if yoga is a faith or a belief, then asking this question isn't fair; because it's one that yoga cannot answer in terms that we can objectively understand. Yoga is a science; as empirical and pragmatic as kinesiology, or exercise science, which seeks to understand how the body acts and reacts to changes in the internal physical environment. And even more simply than any of this: each of us has a right to ask the basic question, "why should I bother practicing yoga and what experience or benefits can I expect?" Indeed, while the experience of yoga cannot be reduced to words – just as reading a book on preparing for a marathon isn't going to actually physically prepare you to run a marathon – the goals and principles of yoga can easily be discussed. Here's the Mayo Clinic's take on the benefits of meditation: "Meditation is used by people who are perfectly healthy as a means of stress reduction. But if you have a medical condition that's worsened by stress, you might find the practice valuable in reducing the stress-related effects of allergies, asthma, chronic pain and arthritis, among others." Yoga involves a series of postures, during which you pay special attention to your breathing — exhaling during certain movements and inhaling with others. You can approach yoga as a way to promote physical flexibility, strength and endurance or as a way to enhance your spirituality. The Mind-Body Connection Yoga is centered on the mind-body connection. This mind-body harmony is achieved through three things: - postures (asanas) - proper breathing (pranayama) - meditation Mind and body draw inspiration and guidance from the combined practices of asanas, breathing, and meditation. As people age (to yogis, ageing is an artificial condition), our bodies become susceptible to toxins and poisons (caused by environmental and poor dietary factors). Yoga helps us through a cleaning process, turning our bodies into a well synchronized and well-oiled piece of machinery. Physical Benefits By harmonizing these three principles, the benefits of yoga are attained. And just what are these benefits? - equilibrium in the body’s central nervous system - decrease in pulse - respiratory and blood pressure rates - cardiovascular efficiency - gastrointestinal system stabilization - increased breath-holding time - improved dexterity skills. - Improved balance - Improved depth perception - Improved memory Psychological Benefits As noted above, Yoga also delivers an array of psychological benefits; and in fact, this is a very common reason why people begin practicing it in the first place. Perhaps the most frequently mentioned psychological benefit of yoga is an improved ability to manage stress. Yoga diminishes an individual’s levels of anxiety, depression, and lethargy; thus enabling him/her to focus on what’s spiritual and important: achieving balance and happiness. In part II of the Benefit of Yoga we'll reveal how yoga can help deal with stress, unhealthy habits and pain management. The benefits of Yoga go far beyond meditation and stretching, it is a way to release those toxic emotions that tend to stand in the way of living a healthy life.