Understanding the Benefits
In recent years there have been many different trending diet fads, or vegan this and vegetarian that, keto fast and keto slow and upside 🙂 down keto, as well as juicing everything under the sun for whatever health benefit is claimed.
But the one thing that really has over 25 million Americans attention is Yoga and/or Meditation.
The interest and practice of Yoga and Meditation, has risen dramatically over the years as the slow migration of the Hindu culture into North America, has taken place.
The word ‘yoga’, comes from the root word “yuj” in Sanskrit( language), and it means, ‘to unite’.
San – skrit,
An ancient Indo-European language of India, in which the Hindu scriptures as well as, classical Indian epic poems are written. Also, from which many northern Indian (Indic) languages are derived.
Sanskrit, meaning ‘perfected’ or ‘refined’, is one of the oldest, of all attested human languages.
The oldest form of Sanskrit is Vedic Sanskrit that dates back to the 2nd millennium BCE.
Hinduism contains within it 6 major schools of thought or Darshana:
Get some educational Insight here: https://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5724
These 6 systems (ṣaḍdarśana) – Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta. These are also called the Astika (orthodox) philosophical traditions. When following a traditional learning passage, are those that accept the Vedas as an authoritative, important source of knowledge.
Most Hindu texts discuss yoga as a practice which one uses to control the senses and ultimately, the mind.
The 4 yoga paths
Karma Yoga. – Karma Yoga is the path of action and suits people with active temperaments. …
Bhakti Yoga. – Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion and is perfect for people who are emotional by nature. …
Jnana Yoga. – Jnana Yoga is the yoga of wisdom or knowledge is most suitable for intellectual people. …
Dhyana Yoga. – Dhyana Yoga is the yoga of mental focus and clarity or concentration which benefits everyone.
These are the 4 types of yoga used as paths to achieve moksha, the ultimate goal according to Hindu understanding.
To help you understand some of the terms used when discovering Yoga, I have provided a link to a very well written list of definitions for easy comprehension of what you are learning.
Check here: https://8limbsyoga.com/about-yoga/
The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have assembled the practice of yoga into the ‘Yoga Sutra’ an estimated 2,000 years ago. The ‘Yoga Sutra’ is a collection of 195 statements that is a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines the eight limbs of yoga: the Yamas (restraints), Niyamas (observances), asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyani (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
https://chopra.com/articles/yoga-sutras-101-everything-you-need-to-know awesome resource!
If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you’re familiar with asana, pranayama, and meditation. But you might not know much about the first two steps of the path: the five Yamas and five Niyamas.
These are the ethical precepts, or core values, of yoga as well as its starting place—meant to be practiced before you do your very first Sun Salutation.
They provide a recipe for living in the world with ease. (https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/path-happiness)
Yama and Niyama are the ethical precepts set forth in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as the first & second of the eight limbs of yoga. They are the foundation of the practice. In which no spiritual progress along the path of yoga is possible without this foundation. In essence, any of the Yoga practice should begin with Yama and Niyama and extend into asana and the other limbs of yoga. Resource: (http://www.bradpriddy.com/yoga/yamani.htm)
The Yoga that is generally practiced in the modern world today, are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.
Any genuine yoga practice is concerned with enlightenment. It attempts to create a state where we are present in every action as well as our movement.
Yoga is also to be one with the Divine, a power higher and greater than oneself. Its content is universal. In Yoga there is the Cit (consciousness); Buddi, the intellect; Chitta, the mind; Ahamkara, the sense of “I”; and the Manas, the power behind the senses.
Yoga should not be confused with just stretching or fitness, as Yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali’s eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of Yoga. Even within the physical practice, Yoga is unique due to the connection of, the movement of the body, with the fluctuations of the mind, to the rhythm of our breath.
Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward to achieve focused mental clarity.
Through this process of mental clarity, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more focused on our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga ‘a practice’, rather than a task or a goal to achieve.
Many people come to yoga initially as a physical exercise. Once engaged in the practice, they later begin to realize and understand the profound spiritual effect it has on their lives.
“Now comes Asana, posture. Until you can get a firm seat you cannot practice the breathing and other exercises. Firmness of seat means that you do not feel the body at all. In an ordinary way, you will find that as soon as you sit for a few minutes all sorts of disturbances come into the body; but when you have got beyond the idea of a concrete body, you will lose all sense of the body…When you have succeeded in conquering the body and keeping it firm, your practice will remain firm, but while you are disturbed by the body, your nerves become disturbed, and you cannot concentrate the mind.” – Quoted by: Swami Vivekananda
A majority of what is touted as ‘Yoga’ around the world is not the yoga described in the ‘Yoga Sutras’ or, in any of the original texts. In all actuality, it has morphed into an eroticized version of asana without faith, devotion, or understanding intended within it, therefore making Yoga more like mere exercise. Today, one can register for a myriad of “yoga”: spinning+yoga, naked yoga, doga (yoga for dogs), hot yoga, yoga on a surfboard, the list is endless. New types of “yoga” appear and disappear almost daily, and they are no-where near the yoga that is described in the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, or Upanishads. In today’s mass commercialization, the term “yoga” is loosely applied to the latest fitness moves or plan, that bears little if any resemblance to yoga as Citta-vritti-nirodhah.
To some people, Yoga can seem as if it were a religion. It is not a religion, although, in some aspects, it does contain universal truths that can be applied to any one person’s belief or non-belief mindset.
Yoga is for everyone and everyone can and should practice Yoga & Meditation.
The practice of Yoga and Meditation has proven scientifically to help reduce chronic pain, inflammation from arthritis and fibromyalgia, headaches and lower back pain. When practiced regularly, Yoga and Meditation can lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia as well as other physical benefits.
Other physical benefits of yoga include Protection from serious Injuries, Improved Muscle Tone &Strength, Improved Respiratory System, Increased Energy Levels and Endurance, Increased Flexibility, Improved Cardiovascular, and Circulatory Health, Athletic Performance, Maintaining a Balanced Metabolism & Weight Loss.
One of the most important benefits of yoga, apart from the physical benefits, is in the manner it helps a person manage Stress.
Stress is known and proven to have devastating effects on our mind & body. Sometimes when we get so busy with life we don’t realize we are so stressed until the Stress affects us in a physical form. Such as back or neck pain, the lack of concentration skills, headaches, sleep issues, drug or alcohol abuse, and depression.
The practice of Yoga, along with Meditation & Breathing techniques has proven to be very effective in reaching a sense of control of one’s inner self and your coping skills (well being).
Calmness increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, which creates a balanced, positive outlook on life. The sense of achieving Mental Clarity and Focus promotes a Healthy Well Balanced Life.
Advantages of Yoga and Meditation
The awesome advantage of practicing Yoga and Meditation is, this is an activity that you can participate in fully as a group or on your own, and still achieve amazing results.
Some may find it more advantageous to practice in silence on their own, and some not.
It is easily done with minimal equipment. For starters, a basic mat or small nonslip rug would serve well as a yoga mat until you decide if you want to purchase one. Comfy clothes are another need for a comfortable session of yoga. Just something stretchy and easily allows for comfortable movement and stretching as well as stays on the body whilst moving freely.
If you are serious about working on your Yoga & Meditation at home and would like to gather the equipment necessary to make it a comfortable journey then here are some things to start with: of course a Yoga mat, non-slip backing and comfort while stretching out.
A Yoga Mat Bag.- To allow you to carry your Yoga mat and keep it in fit form too.
A Water Container – It is essential to stay hydrated during any sort of work out or practice. Having a container of fresh water, or lemon water is ideal for keeping yourself hydrated.
A Towel – Yoga is a workout and believe it or not, you will sweat. Having a fresh personal towel on hand is handy to have for a workout.
Some other items that can assist you during a Yoga practice, you may want to consider the investment as well:
A yoga strap: this is a piece of equipment you may use at a future yoga practice. It is used for wrapping and supporting or enhancing the effects of some of the stretching and pose’s required to complete a stretch.
A Yoga Block or set of exercise blocks: These can be useful for Home Yoga Practices to obtain proper positioning during asanas and helps envoke relaxation and comfort.
A Yoga DVD: This can be useful in guiding and instruction to obtain proper pose and posture during Beginners stages of Practicing Yoga at home. You can also find some very useful Meditation music or nature sound audios to help achieve optimum focus.
Then Yoga Pants(stretchy but comfy for movement), a Tank Top, a Sturdy Sports Bra, and comfy soft sole indoor canvas or summer running style shoe.
Always consult your family physician before trying any new fitness or workout program to be sure your health ability is up to the task.
The main objective with Yoga and Meditation practice is to obtain what is referred to as ‘balance’ of mind and body to promote a Healthy Mental & Physical Well Being. “Namaste”
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