Yoga is a collection of spiritual, mental, and physical practices or philosophies that originated in ancient India. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “to join”. Yoga involves the breathing and movement techniques of Yoga as well as meditation. It also includes exercises to strengthen the body and mind. Yoga is one of the six majestic schools of Indian metaphysics.
There are many ways in which you can practice yoga. It has been practiced by many cultures all throughout the ages. Many proponents believe that it can offer a way to a life of happiness and peace. Many people practice yoga for its health benefits and to maintain their bodies in perfect condition for performing their daily duties and jobs.
In India, yoga is known as Jnana Yoga. It is believed that it originated in the ancient civilization of Raja Nadu in India. The word Jnana actually means to liberate or to let go. The physical postures of Jnana Yoga were later translated into the Ashtanga style of yoga, which is a kind of variation of Jnana Yoga.
Ashtanga Yoga is an offshoot of Jnana Yoga. A large part of Ashtanga Yoga involves the use of intricate breathing and physical postures (dhyana) in order to achieve a meditative state. The primary goal of this type of yoga is to achieve mental balance. Many proponents believe that it can help to increase mental awareness, provide overall body wellness, and relieve stress and other common conditions.
There are many different types of Ashtanga Yoga, which all trace back to the original Ashtanga which means “eight limbs”. The most popular form of Ashtanga Yoga is called Bikram Yoga, which was born out of a desire to create a more intense physical workout. The eight limbs of Ashtanga are still present in Bikram yoga, although they are much less pronounced.
Both types of yoga can be practiced at home, and in classes with a professional instructor. Both types of yoga are very physically demanding and can result in injuries if not performed correctly. The person performing Ashtanga Yoga should be conditioned to handle the amount of physical postures that are involved. Bikram yoga is also very physically rigorous but has been designed to be much more comfortable for beginners.
Bikram yoga involves a high level of discipline. Students must adhere to a strict, almost regimented schedule in order to meet the demands of each class. This schedule consists of not only learning the various yoga positions but also abiding by them, as well as observing a strictly no-nonsense diet. A student in Bikram yoga will find that this type of yoga is very demanding and will often be exhausting even for those who are used to exercise. Because of the nature of the class, it is usually followed by a period of recovery before moving onto the next posture.
Some people may question whether or not the practice of yoga and its classification based on the limbs makes it a religion. Although the word yoga has religious connotations, it is not an organized religion per se. There are many schools of thought within yoga, some of which are vegetarian and others that promote a vegetarian lifestyle. Whatever the case, one thing is for certain: yoga is a spiritual practice that can benefit all forms of life.