The idea behind Yoga is, two-fold. Firstly, of course, to strengthen the body–however, it is not a cardiovascular type of exercise, as much as it is a meditative exercise. The movements of Yoga are slow and controlled–the breathing is slow and deep–therefore strengthening the lungs as well.
There are many different understandings of the spiritual side of the practice of Yoga. I have heard teachers claim that “now all of us are one . . . Keep breathing . . . All of us are one.” . . . It sounds a bit extreme. If I had been instructing that class–I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t use those exact words. But the basic idea is similar–the unity of all things. The earth, the stars, the universe–all that exists is one. Layers of energy, often called the aura, emanate from all things. For many, there is a feeling of a connection with all things.
The postures, (the asans) in perfect time with the breathing techniques (the pranayama) Balanced–detailed and challenging breath and movement sequences are wonderful for someone advanced in the art of Yoga.
Yoga is undoubtedly a variable in creating a healthy, balanced body–and a sound, more peaceful mind. Patanjali Yoga has been said to have eight limbs they are as follows:
1) Yama –
The Yama are five beautiful concepts for the structuring of a peaceful world–all facets of hundreds of religions: Not to cause harm, honesty, not stealing, leading a spiritual life, and lastly, to be non-grasping.
2) Niyama –
These are considered individual disciplines–i.e. self-discipline there are five such guidelines, which are as follows: personal devotion or spiritual connection, cleanliness, self-discipline, self study, study of spiritual texts, and absolutely most importantly: contentedness
3) Asans –
Practice of the postures.
4) Pranayama –
Practice of breathing.
5) Pratyahara –
Detaching: emptying of the mind and body of the stresses of life.
6) Dahrana –
Concentration: holding on to the subject completely.
7) Dhyana –
Meditation: the development of a silent and meditative state.
8) Samadhi –
Samadhi is the spiritual goal of Yoga: the state of being in a trance of absorption of the divine.
Technique and posture are very important in Yoga. The seven chakras must be in certain alignment, the movement should be slow and graceful, and the body–the perfect motions in combination with correct breathing. It is understandable that many believe that there is a very divine energy about Yoga. There are certain diseases for which Yoga has been an alternative to medical treatment.
The power of Yoga has been proven to be an alternative to conventional medicine for patients with the following conditions:
High blood pressure
General to severe back pain
In addition, it is being considered as possible treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, and Osteoporosis. If you are considering Yoga as a treatment for any of these conditions–find out what level of difficulty at which you should begin this form of exercising. Most importantly, first get a recommendation from your doctor.
Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, recreation, education and décor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles about fitness and health, please visit More About Yoga.