Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated from India. The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BC, in ancient India’s ascetic and śramaṇa movement. The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is unclear, varyingly credited to Hindu Upanishads probably of third century BC or later.
There are of course the sceptical ones, who believe that yoga originates from the mass knowledge of ancient civilization. They believe the monks kept the secret of yoga, as they didn’t want anyone to know how they could be released from the consequences of good and bad. But later yoga was recognised and was taught in public schools because its goal of helping human beings to become aware of their deepest nature and experience complete tranquillity.
The word yoga in Sanskrit means ‘to join’ as it connects and harmonises the human system of the body, mind and spirit. It might sound somewhat spiritual first; however the weekly practise of yoga makes the body strong and flexible as well as improves the emotional stability of body and mind.
There is a broad variety of yoga in western society. There are some versions where the order of exercises is more strict, but some with more flexible where the focus is on poses in connection with the Moon Phase calendar. There are simple techniques such as breathing, which not only creates a bigger lung capacity but also reduces feeling fatigue during the exercises.
Ashtanga Yoga is a style of yoga that was popularised by Pattabhi Jois and it is a more dynamic version of Hatha yoga. Its movements incorporate epistemology, ethical practices, systematic exercises and self-development techniques for body, mind and spirit. Breathing is very important in each postures and it is recommended breathing fully and deeply with mouth closed. Then a sound called ujjayi needs to be mastered, which you create in your throat. As you continuously tense your muscles during the Ashtanga exercises, it will strengthen the overall feel-good effect.
Bikram yoga is a form of hot yoga established by Yogi Bikram Choudhury. Born in Calcutta in 1946, he began learning yoga from a very young age, consequently winning the National India Yoga Championship at the age of 13 already. At the age of 18 however, an injury to his knee during a weight-lifting accident brought the prediction from leading European doctors that he would never walk again. Not accepting their pronouncement, for he knew that if anything could help to heal his knee was yoga. Six months later, his knee had totally recovered. Bikram later on devised the 26 postures sequence, which works irrespective of age groups. These 26 postures series has a profound healing power on body and mind. He moved to LA in the 70s where he established the first yoga school. Bikram has shown the light of healthy life to millions of people around the world.
Anyone could try any version of yoga, the experience and its feel-good factor will be noticeable straight away, so even if you are a child, or pregnant or an elderly yoga can only be good for you. Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet as you do the exercises. Yoga enables to drain your lymph and boost our immunity. Yoga can help you make changes in your life. In fact, that might be its greatest strength for the mind, too. Not only does it develop your concentration ability and reduces stress but also you become more confident, which is very important when we want to live a positive life.
Yoga is not always held indoors in group sessions; you can do it outdoors and relax by yourself, too. There are a number of educational videos on how to master it. One thing is for sure, once you get to like yoga and mastered the positions; it will open new doors to your inner self, and will let you bring out the maximum of your body and mind.
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