Yoga in your Life
Many people are first drawn to yoga as a way to keep their bodies fit and supple – good to look at and to live in. Others come seeking help or relief for a specific complaint, like tension or backache. Some are merely impelled by a sense that they are not getting as much out of life as they could be. What ever your reason, yoga can be a tool, an instrument for you giving you both what you came for and more.
To understand what yoga is all about you need to experience if for yourself.
At first glance it seem to be a little more than a series of strange physical postures, which keep the body lean and flexible. Anyone who continues with regular practice becomes aware of a subtle change in their approach to life, for, through persistently toning and relaxing the body and stilling the mind, you begin to glimpse a state of inner peace which is our true nature.
It is this that constitutes the essence of yoga, this self realization that we are all seeking, consciously or unconsciously, and towards which we are all gradually evolving.
Yoga is a complete science of life that originated in India many thousands of years ago. Its is the oldest style of personal development in the world, encompassing body mind and spirit.
Anyone can practice yoga. You don’t need special equipment or clothes, just a small amount of space and a strong desire for a healthier more fulfilled life.
The yoga postures, or asanas, exercise every part of the body, stretching and toning the muscles and joints, the spine and the entire skeletal system. These asanas not only on the body’s frame but on the internal organs, glands and nerves as well, keeping all systems in radiant health. By releasing physical and mental tension, they also liberate vast resources of energy.
The Path of Yoga
There are four main paths of yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga and Raja yoga.
Raja Yoga is what is mostly taught in Schools, it’s the type of yoga with the sometimes somewhat strange physical positions. Raja Yoga is the science of the physical and mental control. Often called the “Royal road ” , it offers a comprehensive method for controlling the waves of thought by turning our mental and physical energy into spiritual energy. Raja Yoga is again divided into 8 disciplines which purifies the body and mind. Ultimately leading the yogi to enlightenment; they are as
Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and
The Yamas are again divided into five moral injunctions aimed at destroying the lower nature; non- violence, truthfulness in word, thought and deed, non-stealing, moderation in all things and non possessiveness……does this sound familiar to you?
The Niyamas are also divided into five, fostering positive qualities, they consist of; purity, contentment, austerity, study of the sacredtexts and constantly living with an awareness of the Divine Presence.
Asanas or postures and Pranayama, regulation of the breath, form the sub division of Raja yoga, known as Hatha yoga.
Pratyahara means drawing the senses inward in order to still the mind, Dharana is the concentration needed to lead to Dhyana or meditation,
culminating to Samadhi or super consciousness.
Yoga in the modern world
Yoga is a living science – one that has evolved over thousands of years and continues to evolve in accordance with the needs of humans. One of the most important figures in its recent development has been Swami Sivananda.
This great India master trained and worked as a doctor before renouncing the world for the spiritual path. A man of prodigious energy and strength he published over 300 books, pamphlets and journals, bringing the authority of his medial background to bear on the teachings of yoga, while explaining the most complex philosophical subjects in simple straight forward terms.
Besides establishing an Ashram and a Yoga Academy, Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society in 1935 dedicated to the ideals of truth, unity, non-violence and self realization. At his ashram in Rishikesh, he trained many exceptional disciples in Yoga (and Vedanta) – among them Swami Vishnu Devananda whom he send to spread the practice of yoga in the West.
By closely observing the lifestyles and needs of people in the West, Swami Vishnu Devananda has synthesized the ancient wisdom of yoga into five basic principles that can easily be incorporated into your own pattern of living – to provide the foundation for a long and healthy life.
These 5 principles are as follows:
Releases the tensions of the muscles and rests the whole system, leaving you as refreshed as after a good night’s sleep.
It carries over into all your activities and teaches you to conserve your energy and let go of all worries or fears.
Proper exercise is given by the yoga postures or Asanas.
Which works systematically on all parts of the body.
Stretching and toning the muscles and ligaments, keeping the spine and joints flexible and improving the circulation.
Exercise and Meditation will improve body function.
Proper breathing, means breathing fully and rhythmically, making use of all, not just part of your lungs. Here is where I have to make a note since we are introducing below Buteyko Yoga. More about this later.
It keeps the body light and supple and the mind calm, giving a high resistant to disease. (note this word, dis-ease!)
It gives you all the Vitamins and Minerals your body need to strengthen Immune system and
Positive thinking and meditation
Uttering the word Om, its vibration is the highest of ‘healing’ knowledge. Often said before and after a mantra. helps you to remove negative thoughts and still the mind, ultimately transcending all thoughts.
Different Styles of Yoga
Below outlined are the common forms of yoga that are being taught these days.
If you have any specific questions or comments in regards to the information stated below, pls do not hesitate to contact us. With all this said, you will notice that some of our yoga instructors are disciplined in some yoga forms or other disciplines that are not outlines here.
The first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center was founded in 1957 by Swami Vishnu-Devananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda. There are now close to 80 locations worldwide, including several ashram retreats. Sivananda yoga is based upon five principles:
1.Proper exercise (Asana, focusing on 12 poses in particular)
2. Proper breathing (Pranayama)
3. Proper relaxation (Savasana)
4. Proper diet (Vegetarian)
5. Positive thinking and meditation (Dhyana)
All subjects are practiced and discussed in the classes.
This general term can be used to describe any of the physical practices of yoga. Classes describes as Hatha are usually slow paced and focused on stretching and learning the basic yoga poses.
When used to describe a style of yoga, Vinyasa means that poses will flow from one to another in conjunction with the breath, thus creating a Breath-synchronized movement. These days people also tend to call it Flow Yoga, or Power Yoga. (with Ashtanga intertwined) Vinyasa in also used as a noun to describe the series of poses that are done between Downward Facing Dogs as part of a Sun Salutation sequence. If the teacher says “go through the Vinyasa at you own pace,” she or he means Plank, Chaturanga, and Upward Facing Dog.
Based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar, this style of practice is most concerned with bodily alignment. Iyengar’s method, a form of hatha yoga, is based on giving primacy to the physical alignment of the body in the poses. In yoga, the word alignment is used to describe the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain the maximum benefits of the pose and avoid injury. Iyengar practice usually emphasizes holding poses over long periods versus moving quickly from one pose to the next (flow). Also, Iyengar practice encourages the use of props, such as yoga blankets, blocks and straps in order to bring the body into alignment.
Which means eight limbs in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga.
A set series of poses is performed, always in the same order. Ashtanga practice is very physically demanding, because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. Ashtanga is also the inspiration for what is often called Power Yoga. If a class is described as Power Yoga, it will be based on the flowing style of Ashtanga, but not necessarily keep strictly to the set Ashtanga series of poses.
The emphasis in Kundalini is on the breath in conjunction with physical movement, with the purpose of freeing energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards. All Asanas practices make use of controlling the breath, but in Kundalini, the exploration of the effects of the breath (also called prana, meaning energy) on the postures is essential. Kundalini uses rapid, repetitive movements rather than holding poses for a long time, and the teacher will often lead the class in call and response chanting.
Pioneered by Bikram Choudhury, this style is more generally referred to as Hot Yoga. It is practiced in a 95-100 degree room, which allows for a loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. The Bikram method is a set series of 26 poses, but not all hot classes are make use of this series. Make sure you listen to your body and when you are thirsty, drink!! Do not believe a teacher who denies you taking liquid!!
Founded in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara combines a strong emphasis on physical alignment with a positive philosophy derived from Tantra. The philosophy’s premise is a belief in the intrinsic goodness of all beings. Anusara classes are usually light-hearted and accessible to students of differing abilities. Poses are taught in a way that opens the heart, both physically and mentally, and props are often used.
This style of yoga emerged from one of New York’s best-known yoga studios. Jivamukti founders David Life and Sharon Gannon take inspiration from Ashtanga yoga and emphasize chanting, meditation, and spiritual teachings. They have trained many teachers who have brought this style of yoga to studios and gyms, predominantly in the U.S. These classes are physically intense.
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and gaining popularity around the U.S., Forrest Yoga is the method taught by Ana Forrest. The performance of vigorous asana sequences is intended to strengthen and purify the body and release pent-up emotions and pain so that healing can begin. Expect an intense workout with an emphasis on abdominal strengthening and deep breathing.
Integral yoga follows the teachings of Sri Swami Sachidananda,who came to the U.S. in the 1960s, eventually founding many Integral Yoga Institutes and the famed Yogaville Ashram in Virginia. Integral is a gentle hatha practice, and classes often also include breathing exercises, chanting, kriyas, and meditation.
YOGA This style of yoga was founded by Violet Pasztor Wilson founder of the Canadian Yoga Alliance. It fuses the four paths: Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga & RajaYoga.
Rajafusion yoga fuses strength, flow, stimulate energy rising, meditation, precision, and creative expression.
Founded by Michelle Carballo in 2011, this type of yoga is inspired by Hatha and Iyengar Yoga merged (united=Yoga) with the breathing method of Professor Buteyko. The Verigo-Bohr effect is the fundamental principle of these breathing methods and are well explained, practiced and repeated throughout the excersises. Classes are easy to follow , bringing the mind to the ‘now’ and exsessible by students of all abilities. Instand results are achieved with each class and it is recommeneded to follow through with a ten day basic Buteyko breathing retreat which are held twice a year in Bali and in Argentina. For more information on these retreats please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Yoga World Tours Team