Definition: Defining the Meaning of Yoga
Yoga is defined as a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline that denotes a variety of schools, practices and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism (including Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism) and Jainism, the best-known being Hatha yoga and Raja yoga. The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation) though the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.
Yoga includes physical exercise, but it is also a lifestyle practice for which exercise is just one component. Training your mind, body, and breath, as well as connecting with your spirituality, are the main goals of the yoga lifestyle.
Yoga has many benefits.
It can improve flexibility, strength, balance, and stamina. In addition, many people who practice yoga say that it reduces anxiety and stress, improves mental clarity, and even helps them sleep better.
Although there are different schools of traditional yoga (i.e. Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Swara Yoga, Raja Yoga, Kriya Yoga, and Mantra Yoga), Hatha Yoga is the most popular form practiced in the West.
Yoga can be beneficial for individuals with disabilities or chronic health conditions through both the physical postures and breath-work. Each pose can be modified or adapted to meet the needs of the student. Yoga asanas can be performed while seated in a chair or wheelchair. In a yoga class for individuals with disabilities, yoga asanas are modified or adapted, and may be performed with the instructor's active assistance as needed.
Yoga can lay claims to being one of the world's best exercise routines.
Practicing yoga can keep you fit, nimble and youthful. Yoga itself is a great strength building form of exercise. It is also good for maintaining flexibility to your body. Given the nature of yoga however, it can often be difficult to obtain the raised heart rate that is necessary in order to actually burn calories and melt away fat. You don't have to practice yoga to lose weight however yoga can facilitate the weight loss in many different aspects. In fact, if you love yoga and want to practice it - it might be the only thing you need to lose weight.
The different yoga techniques that are available are all dependent on what you want to achieve with Yoga.
Yoga techniques, if done correctly and done on a regular basis can lead to increased flexibility of you body. The techniques are used to make your body more flexible to allow you to achieve what you are looking for.
Yoga and Meditation
These 2 disciplines used in conjunction with each other can provide you with an inner healing. Both these techniques are perfect to release stress, anxiety and also to allow you to relax. Both these techniques are difficult to master together but there are courses out there that can help with that.
Massaging of all body parts
With differing Yoga techniques you can massage all of your body parts. Yoga is really the only technique used that will reach your internal organs and allow them to get more benefit.
Excellent toning of Muscles
A lot of people use yoga techniques to tone up their muscles. A lot of body builders and athletes use these techniques along with their daily routine in order to tone the muscles.
Increased Lubrication of all joints, ligaments and tendons
This helps tremendously as all joints, tendons and ligaments work at a higher level if they are provided with more lubrication. Think about your car. Do you think it would run smoothly without any oil? Well the body is exactly the same it needs lubrication to work at an optimum level.
The power of yoga to improve the quality of life for our children is starting to dawn on parents throughout the western world. Although yoga has has been popular with adults for many years, only recently have kids yoga classes started to make their presence felt.
Children's yoga can increase self-awareness, build self-esteem and strengthen young bodies. It can help coordinate brain functions, balance right and left brain and aid relaxation. Yoga has also been proven to improve concentration, so around exam time a course of childrens yoga sessions could make all the difference. Anxious children also see the benefit, so again, a childrens yoga course around stressful times of the year could have a significant positive impact.
Always consult with your doctor before embarking on any new fitness program, especially if you are over 40 years, have a pre-existing medical condition, or haven't exercised in a long time.
Quick Facts: Interesting Yoga
- The origins of yoga are a matter of debate.
- Yoga is used for treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and to increase anxiety control.
- Apart from the spiritual goals, the physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple in contemporary times.
- Buddhist meditation encompasses a variety of meditation techniques that aim to develop mindfulness, concentration, supra-mundane powers, tranquility, and insight.
- In Hindu philosophy, yoga is the name of one of the six orthodox (which accept the testimony of Vedas) philosophical schools.
- There has been an emergence of studies investigating yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer patients
- Jain meditation has been the central practice of spirituality in Jainism along with the Three Jewels.
- Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid-19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy.
- Long-term yoga users in the United States have reported musculoskeletal and mental health improvements, as well as reduced symptoms of asthma in asthmatics.
- The well-known Hindu schools of Yoga being Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Laya Yoga and Hatha Yoga, but also including Jain and Buddhist practices. Yoga Sutras of Pantajali, constitute classical Ashtanga Yoga (the eight limbs), also called Raja Yoga.
- As of 2013 some schools in the United States oppose the practice of yoga inside educational facilities, saying it promotes Hinduism in violation of the Establishment Clause.
- Some Christians integrate yoga and other aspects of Eastern spirituality with prayer and meditation.
- The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation) though the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.
- "Yoga has become a universal language of spiritual exercise in the United States, crossing many lines of religion and cultures,... Every day, millions of people practice yoga to improve their health and overall well-being. That's why we're encouraging everyone to take part in PALA (Presidential Active Lifestyle Award), so show your support for yoga and answer the challenge." - Barack Obama.