Yoga is a collection of mental, physical, and emotional practices or philosophies that originated in ancient India. The word “yoga” literally means “to join,” “to bind,” or “to tighten.” Yoga is one of the eight classical philosophic schools of Hinduism. Although the origin of yoga has been lost in translation, we do know that it evolved from an Indian word meaning “union.”
Yoga pranayama, the abbreviated form of the original term, is composed of a series of asanas or positions, which are repeated in Sanskrit when performing yoga postures. The word comes from a single root – “yug” or “yuj” and “va.” This single root also determines the meaning of the word “yoga,” the word used to define the body poses in yoga. So, yoga means “union,” “breath,” or “breathing techniques.” The word is not related to yoga asana, the word used to describe specific postures in yoga. Yoga asanas are simply the physical exercises in yoga.
One of the most common methods of practicing yoga is Hatha yoga, which consists of twenty-eight basic physical postures. These postures, or yoga asanas, are classified according to the levels of physical poses they represent. Hatha yoga has six levels of yoga maturity: pranyama (pre-ordained); jnana (order), kriyas (steps), kurunaras (concentration), and muftis (contractions). This classification based system helps the yoga beginner to achieve the goal of mastering physical postures and breathing techniques, while allowing him or her to progress at his or her own pace.
In this class, students will learn yoga poses such as chair pose, whose objective is to sit in a balanced position using the abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, external oblique muscles, and internal oblique muscles. Power yoga is another type of pose system, which are often used for weight loss, stress management, and as a source of strength training. Power yoga poses include power trunk, power line, power twist, and a power bar.
The words “asana” and “sankrit” have different meanings, and you may be wondering which term is meant by each word. The Sanskrit word, sakhra, can mean breath, syllable, mantra, or action. A mantra is repeated silently to yourself as you inhale and exhale. Breathing techniques include pranayam, asana, dharana, and pratyahara. In the dharana pose, your legs are placed flat on the floor, with your palms resting along the inner thighs, and your right hand resting gently on the left thigh.
Vinyasa yoga is very flowing and dynamic, requiring smooth and sensual movements. Vinyasa is the foundation for most Ashtanga and power yoga styles and also includes a sun salutation. Sun salutation is performed while standing with the knees bent and the pelvis lifted upwards. The breath enters from the diaphragm and is allowed to expand. The breath then leaves through the nose, exiting in a forceful and powerful blow to the abdomen. This is followed by a moment of relaxation, before proceeding into the various poses.
Hatha yoga is composed of many poses that are similar to or are variations of the basic yoga poses. Hatha yoga is a style of meditation, controlled breathing, and movement, and is designed to increase flexibility, physical strength, and body awareness. You should definitely incorporate a yoga mat into your regular practice if you wish to reap the health benefits from it.
Most people, even those who are experts in yoga, have at some point tried to meditate on a yoga pose ball or chair. The result? A mind-muscle connection that strengthens both the mind and muscles. It’s not hard to meditate on a yoga pose ball. Just try sitting cross legged, keeping your back straight, breathing deeply, then stretching your neck and shoulders back out. This simple exercise can help you calm your mind and improve your breathing.