What is yoga? Even with its immense popularity today, many people still do not know the answer to that question. Hatha yoga is the traditional style taught in the West and has gained wide popularity in recent years by emphasizing asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and dhyana (meditation). Classes billed as Hatha are generally an eclectic style, drawing teaching methods from various traditions. There are many different styles of Hatha yoga that have been created by various teachers from around the world.
In Hatha yoga each posture (asana) is designed to maintain or aid in restoring health, by increasing strength and flexibility. The far-reaching benefits include improved functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and hormonal systems. A steady yoga practice can help regulate body weight, and improve sleep patterns. Meditation and breathing practices can help one feel more “centered”, thus reducing stress levels. Studies have also shown that yoga can help lower a person’s blood pressure, therefore improving cardiovascular health. Yogic breathing techniques aid in improving concentration, increasing one’s ability to deal with stressful situations while cultivating a quieter mind. Relaxation and meditation help to create inner stillness; a deeper sense of well-being and inner peace. With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that the practice of yoga is the world’s oldest known discipline.
After participating in a yoga class you will feel as though you have had a workout, but yoga is much more than that. Yoga addresses the physical, mental and spiritual self. Cultivating a balance in every aspect of one’s being can help people find the balance they are seeking. There is a common misconception that yoga is a religion. In truth, yoga is not a religion. It is a practical aid that deals with universal truths, and its methods have been shown to enhance one’s beliefs, thus cultivating a deeper spiritual awareness.
The popularity of yoga in this country continues to thrive. This ancient practice is helping more people than ever before become healthier, calmer and more spiritually centered. Yoga classes are available for everyone including the elderly, children and those with health challenges.
Yoga is for everyone!