Yoga Practices

Yoga Practices

Yoga poses, sequences, terminology and concepts explained for those starting out with yoga.

Yoga Practices

A number of practices and techniques that enable the individual to achieve an enlightened state of being one with the universe via the integration of mind, body and spirit.

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Opening up the energy

Yoga serves to open up the energy channels in the body called nadis, as well as the psychic centers called chakras.

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The yoga postures

Practitioners are expected to maintain positions to a degree that results in stretching and slight physical effort, but without pain, fatigue, or strain.

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What is yoga?
Yoga is the collective term for a number of practices and techniques that enable the individual to achieve an enlightened state of being one with the universe via the integration of mind, body and spirit. Comprising many different paths, yoga is most commonly associated with a specific path known as Hatha Yoga. Although the different yoga paths involve specific techniques and movements, they are all intended to enable the individual to achieve a similar state of enlightenment.

The spiritual and the physical
Despite the somewhat lofty aspirations of yoga, its core practices actually have practical and scientific aspects, with a focus on observable results and direct experience. It is also not a religious practice despite its spiritual component, but instead emphasizes an in-depth and personal self-exploration of the individual. In fact, the philosophy behind yoga is in conformance with most belief systems, which partly explains why yoga practitioners comprise such a diverse mix of cultures and religions.

The importance of meditation
Meditation is one of the most important and prominent aspects of yoga. This particular activity involves directing the mind to focus on a single object for the purpose of temporarily freeing the mind of thought. As thoughts are dispersed, the individual experiences a quieting of the mind, and begins to fully exist in the moment.

Although many of the techniques employed for meditation are fairly simple and can be performed by most anyone, actually maintaining mental focus will require a bit of time, patience, and lots of practice. Nevertheless, meditation will definitely pay off in terms of reducing stress, easing tension, minimizing anxiety, and helping the individual deal with frustration. Meditation also serves to enhance memory and concentration, and to bring about a feeling of internal peace and general well-being.

Opening up the energy pathways
While much of yoga seems to center around physical movement, there is so much more to it than that. Yoga also serves to open up the energy channels in the body called nadis, as well as the psychic centers called chakras. In addition, yoga helps in the purification and healing of the body, and in calming and focusing the mind. In fact, each yoga posture is intended for specific mental, emotional and physical functions.

The yoga postures
Performing a yoga posture requires slow and deep breathing. Practitioners are expected to maintain positions to a degree that results in stretching and slight physical effort, but without pain, fatigue, or strain. Those new to yoga are advised to undergo proper training and instruction before attempting to perform yoga postures.

Yoga postures comprise a variety of seated, standing, supine, and prone positions.
Seated yoga poses are intended to produce a grounding and balancing effect, as well as enhance the flexibility of the practitioner. Standing yoga poses serve to uplift and open the energy pathways, while increasing the individual’s physical strength. Supine yoga poses serve to nurture and integrate the individual’s energies while enhancing flexibility. Finally, prone yoga poses provide an energizing effect while increasing the individual’s back and core strength.

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