Yoga is one of the most ancient cultural heritage of India. The word
yoga in Sanskrit means "to unite", and so yoga can be said to connote a
unitive discipline. In this sense it is an exercise in moral and mental
cultivation that generates good health , contributes to longevity, and
the total intrinsic discipline culminates into positive and perennial
happiness and peace. Therefore, yoga is the said to be indispensable of
the ultimate accomplishment in life. It is a science that affects not
only the conscious self but the subconscious as well. It is a practical
physiological training , which if practiced can exalt man to the 'supra
benefits of Yoga
Brings balance and harmony to the body, mind and
Helps with strength, flexibility range of motion and
Calms the mind, Reduces stress and anxiety
Revitalizes the body and mind
Slows heart rate
Lowers blood pressure
Strengthens and tones muscles
Helps to detoxify system
Improves function of internal organs
Balances muscular system
Increases metabolism and energy
Can help reduce depression, stress and insomnia
Type of Yoga
many different types of yoga, and it is important to choose a form that
is appropriate for each individual's level of fitness, goals, and
medical condition. Some of the most popular and widely available forms
are briefly explained below.
This type of yoga focuses on proper alignment and precise movements.
Props such as blocks or straps are often used as part of Iyengar yoga
for those who are not as flexible or to compensate for injuries. Because
of this attention to detail and the modification of poses, Iyengar yoga
is often a good form of yoga for people with back pain or neck pain, as
they are likely to benefit from modification to the poses.
This form is commonly called "power yoga" because it focuses on powerful
flowing movements, such as push-ups and lunges, which take strength and
stamina. Ashtanga yoga may be appropriate for those who have
successfully rehabilitated from a back injury and are looking for a more
strenuous practice, and people who are already athletic, such as runners
and cyclists, who want to add flexibility, balance and concentration to
their exercise routines.
This form is also known as "hot yoga" because it is done in a very warm
room. Bikram yoga
is excellent for increasing flexibility because the heat helps tissues
to stretch. This type of yoga is not appropriate for those with
cardiovascular disease because of the strain placed on the body when
vigorously exercising in the heat.
This form links breath and movement in flowing exercises that are
adapted to each individual. Viniyoga is often a good form of yoga for
those with back problems or neck problems because it is easily adapted
for each person.
Ashtanga Yoga, The Eight
Limps of Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga or the Eight-Limbed Yoga means to purify the mind
through eight (Asht) steps. These limbs
represent all the aspects of the system.
Each step in Ashtanga Yoga has to be mastered
before mastering the next can be successfully
- Yama (control) : nonviolence, truth,
honesty, sexual continence, forbearance,
fortitude, kindness, straightforwardness,
moderation in diet, bodily purity.
- Niyama (rules of conduct) :
austerity, contentment, belief in God, charity,
worship of God, study of teachings and
scriptures, modesty, having a discerning mind,
repetition of prayers (japa),
observance of vows and performing sacrifices.
- Asanas (postures) : as a motionless
body makes the mind quiet, 48 postures have been
described of which at the least one must be
mastered if one is to reach a deep state of
meditation. See also asanas
in Hatha Yoga
- Pranayama (control of breath) :
inhalation, holding the breath, exhalation …
through 3 kinds of muscular control (bandhas).
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of sensory
perceptions) : consisting of breath suspension
and holding the mind, that step by step absorbs
the senses in Kundalini
- Dharana (concentration) : by the aid
in Ashtanga Yoga, deep concentration on the
six subtle centers of the chakras,
starting from the first and gradually
approaching the seventh.
- Dhyana (uninterrupted mediation) : in
which the ego,
the mind and the intellect dissolve in Kundalini
and Kundalini dissolves in the supreme
- Samadhi (complete equilibrium) : the
individual consciousness becomes pure
consciousness. After a prolonged state of
samadhi there is no need to practice Ashtanga
yoga any longer, because the conscious
connection with the divine is everlasting.
For more information on Yoga Sessions at Trivandrum, Kerala