The Power of Yoga

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What is Yoga?

Often associated with Hinduism, yoga actually is older. Yoga is the oldest physical discipline in existence. Yoga was developed thousands of years ago in India, and is still being taught throughout the world. The exact origins of yoga are unknown, but it is thought to be at least five thousand years old. The earliest evidence of yoga practice can be traced back to about 3000 B.C. The original purpose of the postures and breathing exercises was to bring stability and relaxation so practitioners could prepare for the rigors of meditation, sitting still and alert for long periods of time.

The word yoga has its roots in the Sanskrit language and means to merge, join or unite. Yoga is a form of exercise based on the belief that the body and breath are intimately connected with the mind. By controlling the breath and holding the body in steady poses, or asanas, yoga creates harmony. Yoga is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions and is a tool that allows us to withdraw from the chaos of the World and find a quiet space within. To achieve this, yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation in order to establish a healthy, vibrant and balanced approach to living.

Modern scholars have defined yoga as the classical Indian science that concerns itself with the search for the soul and the union between the individual, whose existence is finite, and the Divine, which is infinite. The essence of yoga is to be in the driver's seat of life. Control is a key aspect of yoga: control of the body, breath and mind.

Yoga's Ten Principles

Yoga is a complex integrated system, which has a history of 5,000 or more years. Beginners can be easily overwhelmed by the vastness of the yoga practice, it's philosophy, and it's literature. Here are a few key principles that will help you understand better the numerous aspects of Yoga.

Ten key yoga fundamental principles:

  1. Yoga is what is traditionally called a liberation teaching. It guides us to free ourselves from our historical limitations of who and what we were to become something greater and better.
  2. To truely learn and understand Yoga, a teacher must instruct if possible , whether in a class or even on a video.This is essential for ultimate success in Yoga. It is possible to benefit from a good many yogic practices even without instruction though as any form of yoga is better than none at all.
  3. Because everybody has their different strengths and weaknesses, Yoga has various styles that have been developed over time. There are many however here are the seven most common:
    • Raja-Yoga is the "Royal Yoga" aiming at liberation through meditation, which is for practitioners who are capable of intense concentration.
    • Hatha-Yoga is the "Forceful Yoga" aiming at liberation through physical transformation.
    • Jnana-Yoga is the "Wisdom of Yoga" aiming at liberation through the steady application of higher wisdom that clearly distinguishes between the real and the unreal.
    • Karma-Yoga is the "Action Yoga" aiming at liberation through self-transcending service, relinquishing the ego.
    • Bhakti-Yoga is the "Devotional Yoga" aiming at liberation through self-surrender in the face of the Divine.
    • Tantra-Yoga is the "Continuity Yoga" aiming at liberation through visualization, ritual, subtle energy work, and the perception of the identity of the ordinary world and the transcendental Reality.
    • Mantra-Yoga is the "Yoga of Potent Sound" aiming at liberation through the repetition (aloud or mental) of empowered sounds (such as om, hûm, ram, hare Krishna, etc.)
      -Often considered an aspect of Tantra-Yoga these seven branches are alternative portals into the mysteries of Yoga and thus our own consciousness.
  4. Yoga is a journey of theory and practice. In order to engage Yoga properly and successfully, one must pay attention to the ideas behind its practical disciplines and to the exercises and techniques encompassing its theories. This calls for thoughtful and mindful practice. For instance, regular and correct practice of the yogic postures will definitely help us maintain good physical health.
  5. All forms of Yoga have as their foundation of a sound moral life, there are basic laws. They stand for moral virtues like nonviolence, truthfulness, and abstention from theft, compassion and kindness. Basically you could say it's about living a positive life. Without a firm grounding in these moral principles, Yoga cannot lead us to its ultimate goal of liberation.
  6. However simple a particular yogic approach may be, all approaches require a huge commitment. If we fear change and cling to our old habits, we cannot succeed in Yoga. The practice of Yoga calls for considerable personal effort, which involves self-discipline.
  7. Yoga is made up of a lot of practice, both physical and mental. These can be broken down into two major categories:
    • The first is the repeated performance of exercises or techniques that are intended to produce a positive state of mind in us.
    • The second is the complementary practice of letting go of old behavior patterns, habits or attachments that hold us back.
  8. Focus is the key to making improvments with yoga. With focus comes control and power.The power in question is the energy of consciousness itself.
  9. Get back to basics, the more we untangale our lives the better of we will become.
  10. Yoga is a progressive process of replacing our unconscious thought patterns and behavior with new, more beneficial patterns that are helpful towards a better life. It takes time to achieve this goal of self-transformation, and therefore practitioners of Yoga must first practice patience.

We must be willing to commit to a lifetime of yogic practice. There must be a basic want to grow, regardless of whether or not we will achieve enlightenment in this lifetime. It is one of Yoga's fundamental beliefs that no effort is ever wasted, even the slightest attempt at transforming ourselves makes a difference. It is our patient cumulative effort that grows into self-realization sooner or later.

Yoga Guidelines:

  • Don't expect instant results: While you will probably feel very relaxed and peaceful after your first yoga session, it can take many weeks of daily yoga practice before you begin to reap any significant health benefits. Patience is a key you must use for the real benefits of yoga to take place.
  • Take total responsibility: Your health is your responsibility no one else's. If you let someone else take care of it for you, you are benefiting them more than yourself. Learn that prevention is your greatest medicine. The practice of yoga is no quick fix however, it requires regular practice to reap the benefits and results.
  • Enjoy your practice: People who enjoy their practice get the best gains. The emotion of enjoyment puts the mind and body into a positive state. If you dread and struggle doing your exercise you might as well not bother as this is negative and the chances of keeping it up and getting gains are very low.
  • Avoid competition with others: Some people in your class will be more flexible than you are or they may able to hold their postures longer. Don't try to outdo anyone. Look to improve on your own level, as long as you are in a state of improvement you will get better. Compete with yourself on a sensible basis.
  • Practice what you learn: Practice at least 15 to 20 minutes of yoga on a daily basis to stay improving and increase your level of understandings. Not just the understanding of the poses but greater understanding of yourself.
  • Find the time: Some people will say that they never have the time. There is 168 hours in your given week and 4 - 5hr's of yoga in that week is nothing, that's 3 yoga routines a week. It is the best investment that you could ever do.
  • Find a yoga class close to your home or work: Many yoga students take two or three classes a week, so it helps to find a class that is conveniently located. If however you are geography challenged, get a couple of yoga videos and practice them on a regular basis.

Instructions before you practice yoga:

  1. Yoga should be done on empty stomach. Therefore eat at least 2-3 hrs before your practice.
  2. Healthy males or females can perform asanas.
  3. Children under the age of 12 years should be guided by an Instructor.
  4. Yoga poses that are inverted (example: headstands) should not be done during MS (Menstruation)
  5. Normal breathing should be maintained while performing yoga postures.
  6. Do not force your body to do any poses (asanas). Be patient and move into your poses with care and precision. There's a difference between training smart and training stupid!
  7. Look to increase the duration of your poses as you get better. This is the only way to keep improving. A comfort zone is a nice place to get to but don't stay long.

Cautions for yoga exercises:

  • Consult your doctor prior to performing yoga if you have any existing health challenges such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Some of the advanced yoga postures, such as headstands can be dangerous for individuals with high blood pressure or eye problems.
  • Pregnant women should avoid postures that compress or strain the abdomen or back.
  • The entire purpose of this website is to understand and to adapt yoga exercise and breath control in accordance with known physiological principles and laws in order to maximize yoga's potential in once life.


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