Originated in ancient India, Yoga is not a mere exercise of physical and mental fitness but it explores spiritual exploration and discipline.
With very little known about its history of origin, it began with the motive of expanding the spiritual energy, with control over each breath and immense mental focus.
There are different types and forms of Yoga, each with a significance varying from the other, opening dimensions which usually remain unexplored.
Alignment of body and mind by physical and mental exercise, with conscious control on breathing exercise, Hatha Yoga alludes to the system of physical techniques.
‘Ha’ means Sun, ‘Tha’ means Moon- These postures stabilize the two halves of the body.
It also means forceful and ‘willful’ or the activity of Yoga.
- Power yoga class
Including the practice of postures ( asanas), breath ( pranayama), gestures ( mudra), locks ( bandhas), meditation sounds, and cleansing process ( shat kriyas), these methods intensify our physiological processes, a step towards stabilizing the mind and spiritual self.
With slow postures, this is considered best for beginners.
A popular form of regular body-mind exercise, it poses many health benefits.
- Heart Benefits: Asana makes our heart strong, helping fight hypertension and controlling the chances of a heart attack. Apart from this, it allows proper circulation of blood, reducing changes in angina.
- Bone Density: ‘ tree pose,’ ‘Warrior pose’ etc., help in reversing the loss of bone, making our bones healthy. These prove to be particularly beneficial for middle-aged individuals or the ones diagnosed with bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis.
- Core strength: Building a strong core helps us to perform well in sports and keeps us away from injuries. It improves our tensile strength and flexibility- Boat, Downward Dog, Plank-. All of them help in increasing their core strength.
- Clear Shiny Skin: Working as a Detoxifying agent, it grants an inner, peachy glow.
- Lubrication of Joint: As opposed to a sedentary lifestyle, Yoga allows the full range of motion to prevent stiffening.
- Treats Backache
- Relieves stress and maintains overall well-being.
- Improves Balance and Posture.
It includes strict adherence to the ‘Eight Limbs of Yoga:
- Yama: Self Control
- Niyama: Discipline
- Asana: Physical Exercise
- Pranayama: Breath Exercise
- Pratyahara: Removal of Senses from External Stimuli
- Dharana: Concentration
- Dhyana: Meditation
- Samadhi: Complete Realization
Rather than being a physical exercise, it is an easy mental exercise that literally translates into a connection with the higher Lord, leaving us with a long-lasting experience.
- Freedom from anxiety and Stress: It deals with the state of mind, instilling a sense of calmness. It is highly beneficial for people who have problems with anger management.
- Improves Personal Relationships: It helps in working on oneself, overlooking weakness, and concentrating on the issues at hand.
- Enhance Memory and Concentration: It teaches us to live in the present and focus on one thing at a time, adding value to work. It improves our conscience and stimulates multiple brain centers.
- The mind becomes clear and more focused.
- It helps in overcoming bad habits.
- It improves sleep quality, allowing us to start our day fresh.
Based on one of the four spiritual paths in Hinduism, Karma Yoga is the Yoga of action. It means the right work and good deeds equalize the prayer to god.
It literally translates to Karma kiyejaa, phalkichinta mat kar, i.e., to continue doing the work with utmost dedication while being neutral to the outcomes.
- It purifies our hearts and lets the feeling of selfishness and ego leaves our minds.
- It inculcates love, humanity, and self-tolerance.
- It helps us believe in life, in a more broad and liberal manner.
With ancient roots in various cultures, Bhakti Yoga or Bhakti Margaincludes spiritual practices. It is a path of devotion to channel emotions and gain tolerance.
- It cleanses your mind, keeping us away from negative feelings of anger, hatred, ego, stress, etc., spreading a positive vibe around us.
- It reduces your sorrows.
- It allows positive energy and positive thinking to flow through, building self-confidence and strong positive emotions.
Literally translating to knowledge, Jnana Yoga is a path of Self Knowledge and self-realization.
It is considered to be one of the three classics of Moksha.
Considered to be one of the most difficult forms of Yoga, it requires immense will and intellect.
It does not help in building exterior knowledge; rather, it forms a pillar for solving and dealing with problems or articulation of thoughts.
There are seven stages of Jnana Yoga:
- Subhechha: The yearning for Truth
- Vicharana: Questioning his knowledge to find out what it actually means along with questioning their existence.
- Tanumansi: withdrawal of all worldly pleasures in order to focus on his path
- Satvapatti: Deep focusing with a clean mind, not allowing any negative thoughts to house in mind.
- Asamsakti: Finding pure inner bliss
- PadarthBhavana: Realisation of the presence of the soul, and seeing the world with our own eyes, leaving behind the
- Turiya: Finding liberation and a sense of being with the supreme energy.
Tantra yoga revolves around developing Kundalini energy, which coexists in Hinduism and Buddhism.
It helps in exploring the purpose of life and existence in the universe while exploring a relationship with self and others surrounding us.
- It helps with body conditions such as
- Body Stiffness
- Multiple a
- Back and Shoulder Problems
- It helps in dealing with stress and anxiety, increasing vitality and self-being.
- It reduces fatigue.
- It involves techniques of martial arts, plaming, rhythmic motion, acupressure, etc., allowing a slow flow of Dance around the body.
Since the practice is slow with control of breath and posture, health benefits can be enjoyed by the elderly as well, instilling well-being.
Other types of Yoga
Apart from these traditional forms of Yoga known to us, modern Yoga has evolved to include other beneficiaries as well.
The styles of Yoga are authentic, yet none of them are superior to one another.
The key lies in finding the appropriate class of fitness to attain maximum benefits.
- Ashtanga yoga: It includes six postures, repeated in a sequence, linking every breath movement.
- Bikram yoga: Also known as ‘hot yoga,’ the room is artificially heated up, wherein one performs 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.
- Power yoga: Includes the athletic type of Yoga based on Ashtanga yoga.
- Sivananda: It includes the five-point philosophy: diet, exercise, breathing, relaxation and positive thinking, along with sun salutations and savasana poses, in addition to 12 asanas.
- Viniyoga: Accepting the person, irrespective of their physical ability.
- Prenatal Yoga: Specially designed for pregnant females, it improves health during pregnancy and promotes shaping up after pregnancy.
- Restorative Yoga: Performed with ease and no exertion in pose maintenance, it has 4-5 poses, which are performed with props like blankets.