January 22, 2021 |
Read Time: 4 minutes
Have you just begun your yoga practice or are seriously considering making yoga a part of your daily routine? Or want to begin but don’t know where or how?
You might have seen posts by actresses or influencers on social media posting pictures of them holding seemingly complicated or challenging postures with a look of peace on their faces. Many people practice yoga to keep them toned and fit and it has become a popular form of fitness today.
What is yoga?
One might think yoga is all about balancing and controlling the body. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Yoga does involve balance and control but it is much more than that. Yoga is the alignment of the body and mind through the practice of asanas, pranayama and meditation.
Yoga, in its modern form as it is practiced in the west, is greatly influenced by the teachings of Swami Kuvalayananda and his student T. Krishnamacharya in the early 20th century. They combined classic asanas with gymnastic movements. This became a very popular form of exercise and has now come back to India. However, yoga is more than just a form of exercise. It is a way of life.
Asana, Pranayama and Meditation
These are words that you will hear through a yoga class. They are integral parts of any yoga practice. If you find that elements of all three are not being incorporated into your practice, find a class that does offer all of them.
The word asana translates to ‘steady and comfortable seating posture’. The word is now extended to refer to yoga postures. They are designed to strengthen, stretch and tone the muscles in our body by holding postures.
Pranayama is the conscious regulation of the breath. This is one of the core practices in all forms of yoga. There are various types of pranayama that are practiced to activate and cleanse the body and mind.
Meditation practice focuses on the mind, its thoughts, emotions and the subconscious. There are various methods of meditation that are targeted towards particular aspects of the mind. You will see different mudras or a combination of mudrasI being used for each meditation technique.
Who can do yoga?
Yoga is for EVERYBODY. Absolutely anyone can do yoga and make the practice their own. Various types of yoga are now available to suit different levels of physical fitness. However, if you have a medical condition or an injury, please consult with your doctor before signing up for any classes.
Where do I begin?
All you need is a good quality yoga mat and an experienced yoga teacher.
If you have never done yoga before then begin with gentle yoga. Begin at the basics and start slowly to avoid injuries. Take time to understand your body and mind. The gentler forms of practice will help you build strength and flexibility. Allow your body to familiarize itself with the movements and the mind to adjust to the practice. The yoga teacher will tell you when you are ready to take on new postures and learn new techniques.
Roll out your yoga mat and take a step towards a healthy you!