Yoga is one of the most ancient forms of art that aims at obtaining an overall positive impact on the body: mentally, physically and spiritually. Its origin can be traced back to Indian roots. One of the first mentions of this form of art was in the Upanishads. These are the ancient Hindu texts devoted to Hindu philosophy. Earlier, yoga was used as a practice to attain only spiritual salvation, through meditation and other methods. However, this form of art has evolved over the years and now it is harnessed to bring about physical, as well as mental well-being. These are achieved through different postures, which are better known as ‘asanas’ in the language of yoga. These postures affect different parts or organs of the body and spread the benefits of yoga. This was initially practiced as a form of art, but now it is a set of body exercises that benefit the practitioner, mainly physically.
Bikram yoga is one of the best forms of yoga. It was introduced by Bikram Choudhury and this system of yoga became popular in the 1970s. Bikram yoga is very particular in action. The yoga session consists of 26 postures, along with two breathing exercises. It is essentially practiced in a room heated to 40.6°C with a humidity of 40%. This is a form of hot yoga, which is yoga specifically performed in hot conditions.
Bikram Choudhury has been one of the most dedicated practitioners of this form of art. Born in 1946, he had been practicing yoga since the age of four, for 4-6 hours a day! It is this hard work for years that led to the formulation of the Bikram yoga, which comes with 26 postures. There have been many renowned people in the world who have taken up Bikram yoga and practiced it dutifully. Find out if Matthew McConaughey practices yoga.
26 Postures of Bikram Yoga
This first posture is the Pranayama which is just an exercise for deep-breathing. This is followed by the Ardha Chandrasana, which involves the individual forming a half-moon pose, bringing his/her hands to touch the toes. The asana Utkatasana refers to ‘awkward pose’ in English. The other forms of Bikram Yoga include, Garudasana, 3 forms of the Dandayamana (Standing Poses), Padangustasana, Trikonasana, Janushirasana, Ustrasana,Tuladandasana,Tadasana, Savasana, Pavanamuktasana, Bhujangasana, Sasangasana,Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, Supta – Vajrasana, Poorna – Salabhasana, Bibhaktapada, Ardha – Kurmasana, Pada-Hasthasana, Ardha – Matsyendrasana and Khapalbhati. These 26 poses together comprise the system of Bikram yoga.
Positive Impact of Bikram Yoga
This leads to an overall positive effect on the body, helping you get rid of some of the body ailments. Along with the physical benefits, Bikram yoga also promises mental benefits, providing spiritual development of the individual. Ailments like diabetes and obesity are very easily treated by these practices.
Issues Related to Bikram Yoga
In spite of the benefits provided by Bikram yoga, there are a few issues that concern the health of the individuals. The main reason behind this is the heated conditions in which Bikram yoga is practiced. It causes excessive sweating, which can lead to dehydration in the bodies of the individuals. This should be neutralized by drinking enough water. However, most yoga sessions do not allow the consumption of water or food. Moreover, the condition of overheating of the body, known as hyperthermia, may cause dizziness, nausea and lead to a heat stroke. Be sure to properly fuel your body and hydrate prior to your session.
Popularity of Bikram Yoga
It is however a common fact that Bikram yoga is more popular among dancers, who practice this form of exercise in heated conditions to increase their sense of limb placements and body movements in space.
At present, Bikram yoga is practiced all across the globe. Even though yoga had started off as a concept based in India, it has managed to break the national barrier to spread across the world, especially in the western countries. There has been a yoga class conducted at the Times Square of New York City, which drew interested people in huge numbers. There are yoga sessions in Vancouver, Santa Barbara, and places in the east as well.
Bikram yoga has thus, been made popular all over the world, in lieu of its healing properties and the positivity that it renders to the body. Its physical benefits on the body, can be broadly classified as injury-healing, toxin-flushing and weight-managing. On the other hand, it is very effective in providing emotional strength to the individual.
Yoga is that form of physical and mental exercise that can create a sense of calm and achievement in the mind of any person. It is also a form of exertion that can be undertaken by anybody from the age of eight to eighty and maybe even more. Yoga through the ages has emerged into one of the major forms of exercise that are being taught and which not only helps reduce weight, but is also a great way of ensuring that the bodily functions cohabit in harmony with the mind. Some say that, yoga is one of the oldest treatises of knowledge that has been passed into human existence and continues to benefit humankind.
There are various kinds of yoga and if one is interested in the higher forms of yoga, one must be aware of a certain kind of yoga called the hatha vidya or Hatha Yoga.
This is a kind of yoga that was established by Yogi Swatmarama. Yogi Swatmarama was a Hindu sage, who in the fifteenth century, compiled the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The Yogi developed this higher kind of yoga so early and thus, it is safe to say that yoga has now evolved over the years. Thus, this yoga has lost its former splendor and it is important to know more about such varied forms of ancient physical exertion.
What is it?
Hatha Yoga was a Sanskrit term that comes from the idea, that persistence and force of the mind can enable a person to be great in this kind of yoga. According to the translators, Hatha Yoga is described as a forced discipline that uses abstract meditation and a lot of self torture. This means that the learner of this kind of yoga will have to do extremely difficult tasks that force his body into achieving newer heights. The tasks might include anything from freeing the mind of unwanted thoughts, to inhaling smoke while upside down, etc. Since yogis and sages of old times were used to the vagaries of life, such an exercise was hardly a hindrance.
How does it help?
The Hatha Yoga is a kind of yoga that has been directed as a preparatory stage and which can lead to higher and more difficult forms of practices. The yoga is though, a form of relaxing the self, the Hatha Yoga deals with clearing the body and the mind of impure or vulgar thoughts and substances. This also focuses on how the purification of the body is a must.
How it is performed?
The Hatha Yoga is performed in a series of asanas (postures). The majority of these asanas deal with breathing techniques and pranayama. Even though yoga in the east is generally seen as a mind purification force, the impact of the west sees Hatha Yoga as a way to reduce weight and bodily bulk. This traditional yoga form, deals with meditation, shatkriyas, gestures (mudras), disciplines and breathing. This also helps in reducing the stresses in the life and mind of a learner. This kind of yoga focuses mainly on the physical postures or the asanas and the physical aspect of its benefits.
What is the concept?
Hatha Yoga is the one kind of yoga that is able to distinguish but bring together opposing forces such as hot and cold, male and female, positive or negative. It looks to balance the body and mind at the same time by controlling the body postures, as well as deep meditation and breathing practices. There are six limbs to the Hatha Yoga practice and these are Pranayama, Asana, Dharana, Pratyahara, Dhyana and Samadhi.
The basics of the Hatha Yoga and its concept is contained in the book “Hathapradipika”. The most important part according to the author of this book is that the Hatha Yoga practice must evoke the kundalini or Chakra. It also says that one can become aware of the success of this kind of yoga through the slenderness of the face, cheerfulness in the countenance of the person and brighter eyes. Ancient lore also says that the person must hear mystical voices and have a perfect body balance. But, it has been noted that a person who practices this kind of yoga is blessed with an overall sense of well being.
If you are new to Hatha Yoga you may want to consider taking a class taught by an expert. Many personal trainers are well versed in Hatha Yoga. If you are in the New Jersey area checkout Personal Trainer NJ to help you find a qualified yoga instructor.
Awaken Your Chakras With Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is a word derived from Sanskrit disciplines. It is a set of practices, involving physical, mental and spiritual activities. Its origin can be traced back to ancient India. Yoga has an overall positive influence on the body, best for treating physical illnesses, providing mental peace through spiritual attributes. The word ‘yoga’ in Sanskrit means ‘to unite’ or to ‘attach’. The practices can be explained along the same lines. It is the union of the mind, body and soul using Yoga postures and practices that lead to an overall well-being of the practitioners. In the most ancient days, Yoga was practiced as an art, for attaining enlightenment through spiritual purposes. The concept of yoga has evolved since then. The benefits derived from this form of art have been more carefully studied and now yoga is practiced more for physical and health benefits.
The benefits of yoga have widespread consequences and have huge impacts on the human body. Yoga is not only a concept based in India, but it has extended to the west. Yoga practices or postures can be more accurately called asanas. Various asanas have different effects on the body. For instance Shalabhasana asana is used for treating acidity. There are many more such practices which aim to have positive influences on the body.
One of the most important forms of yoga is the Kundalini Yoga. It can most accurately be described as a physical, mental and spiritual regulation that is useful for the development of strength, character and consciousness in man. It works in a very simple way. It focuses on improving the sensory awareness and intuition of the individual, thereby increasing the consciousness, the focus on compassion and the ability to resort to the truth at all times. Kundalini Yoga has been described in various ways by the practitioners. Swami Sivananda, one of the best practitioners of this form of art, has described Kundalini Yoga as a form of art performed for the purpose of attaining bliss, developing power, opening the heart center, serving others, attaining self-belief and ultimately merging into God consciousness.
History of Kundalini Yoga
The earliest mention of the kundalini yoga was observed in the Upanishads, one of the scriptures of Hindu philosophy. These texts can be dated back to 1400BC – 1000BC and were passed down the generations through oral convention. In the early 1900s, an author from the Oxford University had translated some of the old Sanskrit texts. This translation had a major contribution to the appreciation of Hindu philosophy which included the practices of Kundalini Yoga.
According to the yogic philosophy, as understood from the Upanishads, kundalini (chakra) is a source of energy that is located at the base of the spine. In the most literal sense, the word ‘kundalini’ means something that is coiled up. This form of art can be used to refer to the energy source at the spine as a coiled up serpent. The practices are mainly aimed at arousing the coiled serpent and extracting energy from that source. This energy travels along the spine and reaches the top. It can be visualized as two snakes climbing up the two branches of the spine. There are specific methods that can lead to an awakening of the coiled energy source. It can be obtained through a combination of breathing techniques, asanas and meditation, or even simply by devotion and prayers. This energy source that is awakened is used for activating the nervous system.
There are practices which lead up to the awakening of consciousness in the human body. The simplest method is the breathing exercises. The two fingers of the index and thumb are mainly used for this purpose. Once, the right nostril is closed with the thumb and the left nostril is used for breathing, and then the left nostril is closed with the index finger and you breathe through your right nostril. This is used for cleaning the pathways of energy. The main awakening of the energy source is done with the help of meditation techniques.
It is believed that the knowledge of the Kundalini Yoga is imparted to the disciples by the masters, only when the former are deemed fit and ready to learn the art. Refusal to follow the instructions might lead to harmful effects.
Kundalini Yoga is one of the best practices to attain an overall increase in the consciousness of the mind, by awakening the energy source present in the body. It increases concentration and increases the strength of character. It has widespread positive impacts on the body.
We all know that since time immemorial, yoga has been considered one of the best and safest ways of attaining the complete rejuvenation of mind, body and overall health. Vinyasa Yoga is a brilliant way of channeling one’s emotions and stress into constructive situations and dealing with them. Yoga is capable of calming the mind and simultaneously keeping the body energized. The various kinds of yoga have performed various kinds of actions through their performance processes and concepts. The various postures, gestures and movements also help the learner lose weight and gain confidence. The power yoga and other processes of yoga have emerged from an ancient science and it is important for us to understand the meaning of this.
The main kind of yoga that people like to follow these days is Vinyasa Yoga. This type of Yoga has many benefits that we will be exploring below.
The major fascinating fact about this kind of yoga is that, Vinyasa Yoga is also called the Flow Yoga. This has been used by many countries and many parts of the world to work on breakthrough concepts that can relax and rejuvenate a person. The main concept behind this kind of yoga is that the movements of the body are always synchronized to the breathing. Faster breathing involves faster movements and similarly, slower and deeper breathing inculcates slower movements. This is a broad range of yoga practices that cover a lot under its huge umbrella. The flow yoga is called so because the movements of the teacher and learner, both turn into a kind of dance because the movements are that very graceful, and flow from one into the other.
The breath is an important part of the whole practice because it sets the tempo as well as the beat for the whole grand performance. Inhaling and exhaling are the key points and so are not too difficult to master since, it is an involuntary action of the body, increasing the capacity of the lungs, and making more movements or poses require such deep inhaling and exhaling.
The concept behind this whole enterprise is that, Vinyasa is literally translated from Sanskrit to mean a connection. And the connection is defined in the relationship between breathing and the movement of the body. We can see this same connection in the various asanas, such as the cat-cow stretch and the sun salutation also known as the Surya Namaskar. All the movements are based on each moment of inhalation and exhalation.
How To Do It?
There is a lot of variety in the given position in the Vinyasa Yoga. The Vinyasa Yoga caters to people who like graceful movements and want to reach out to something else other than dancing or skating. Sun salutations are an important and a compulsory part of the Vinyasa Yoga. Chanting also augments the movements in any given class of Vinyasa Yoga. Ashtanga and power yoga are part of this very beautiful style of Yoga but then the lines between them are blurred, for both use the Vinyasa methods.
Going Through Your Vinyasa
Many a times we hear the phrase ‘going through your Vinyasa’ and wonder what it really means. Vinyasa Yoga sometimes uses the word Vinyasa to describe a noun. There are three phases which are part of the Surya Namaskar that become part of the Vinyasa. These three steps are the plank, Chaturanga and the upward facing dog.
How It Helps You?
The Vinyasa Yoga is for everyone because it envelops within itself various kinds of asanas, sequences and methods. There is no one rule that applies to all and it is this diversity that makes Vinyasa a tool for almost all people who want to learn or master the art of yoga. Without any given rule books or definite guidelines, one is free to approach the Vinyasa Yoga in any way one wants. There is so much room for individual personality to shine through, that it has made this particular form of exercise and relaxation exceptionally enjoyable and applicable.
Styles Of Vinyasa Yoga
There are various kinds of Vinyasa Styles. We are aware of the many and recognize the same, but naming a few of them, they are Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Forrest, Jivamukti, Moksha, and Power yoga. These styles help a person in reducing flab in the most natural way.
Do you want to take advantage of the health benefits of Yoga but you don’t know where to start? We are here to provide info on Yoga for beginners. Many these days think of Yoga as simply a type of exercise. What most do not realize is that Yoga is a very old philosophy. It really shouldn’t be considered a religion. The term Yoga is a generic term for physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines. It’s origins come from India and you can find Yoga traditions in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. I’m going to take a guess though that you are here to take advantage of the health benefits of Yoga so that is what we are going to focus on. We will talk more about the philosophy in other sections of the website.
The Benefits of Yoga
Before we get started with Yoga for beginners I would like to take a look at some of the health benefits of Yoga. While an ancient philosophy it really became popular in western society in the 1980’s. Several celebrities brought Yoga notoriety and the medical society began studying the effects.
Did you know that Yoga practitioners have reported musculoskeletal improvement? It can be a great help with those suffering from lower back pain. In addition the breathing exercises practiced have been shown to reduce asthma symptoms. Regular practice also has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and reduce anxiety.
I started looking to Yoga to help alleviate insomnia and stress levels. In addition I suffered a knee injury that prevented me from participating in my previous methods of exercise. Another result of that injury was that I became very inflexible. Yoga seemed like a good alternative.
Hatha Yoga for Beginners
Hatha Yoga is a great starting point for beginners. Hatha is the most popular form of yoga practiced in the United States. It focuses on the physical well being which is why it is popular for exercise classes. If you take a class you will likely learn some poses, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.
Hatha is considered a gentle style of yoga. There is a slow methodical transition between poses. As such be sure that you wear comfortable clothing that won’t restrict your movement. You can either go with loose, or form fitting clothing. The important thing is just to be comfortable.
I highly recommend that beginners take a class with an experienced yoga instructor. Injuries can happen in Yoga. Usually they are a result of someone pushing themselves too far, or having improper form which stresses the body.
Here is a video of a yoga for beginners session to give you an idea of what you may expect during one of your first sessions.