Yoga has become an increasingly popular form of exercise and meditation the last several years. Many people look at yoga as just that, though. But yoga encompasses more than simply exercise and meditation. This article will “enlighten” you on some facts about yoga.

Yoga started out in the East as a spiritual practice focusing on meditation, but in the West, it is normally seen as a physical practice, for the benefit of staying healthy and in shape. Hatha yoga is the variation of yoga that describes exercise. It is estimated that around sixteen million North Americans practice this form of yoga. These yoga classes focus on breathing exercises, physical exercises, and meditation, which are especially beneficial for people with back, heart, or breathing problems.

In studies, yoga has helped young and old people alike who have heart problems. The studies have shown that yoga helped to lower blood pressure and increase resistance to psychological stresses. Yoga aids to improve physical flexibility, strength, and endurance, which is particularly beneficial to people with back problems. The yogic breathing and meditation test those people to better manage their back pain.

A male who practices yoga is referred to as a yogi or yogin, whereas a female who practices yoga is called a yogini. The word yoga means to yoke and it can be loosely translated as “to join” or “unite”. It can also be taken to mean as “union” or a method of discipline. Yoga is believed to be made up of eight limbs: the asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), Dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), yamas (restraints), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), niyamas (observances) and samadhi (absorption). The goal of traditional yoga is to achieve samadhi, which is a state of inward enlightenment.

Most people who practice yoga today are involved with the limit asana. They use these physical postures to increase physical strength and flexibility while purifying the body at the same time. These asanas or postures are known as the increasingly popular hatha yoga. The word Hatha can mean forceful or willful and can be translated into “ha”, which means “sun” and “tha” meaning “moon”. Hatha yoga is the physical exercises and postures of yoga that allows the free-flow of energy through the body, as well as creating balance and inner peace and harmony.

When some people picture someone doing yoga, they have an image of a person sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed, thumb and forefinger pressed together, chanting the word “Om”. What is Om and what does it mean? Repeating the word Om is a mantra; it is a vibration of the universe around us. Everything has a pulse and ancient yogis created Om to represent that universal pulse. Chanting Om at the beginning and end of a yoga session brings the person a sense of connection to the universe and is meant to be soothing and uplifting.

Yoga is beneficial no matter how much or how little of it you can fit into your weekly schedule. It is recommended to start practicing yoga two or three times a week for an hour each time and work your way up from there if possible. However, any time that you can find a yoga session will work too. Nothing special is required to begin a yoga session. The only things that are needed for a yoga session are your body, mind and comfortable, well-fitting workout clothes. Then you are ready for your first yoga experience!

Featured Image: Organic Fit TV

Source by Michael Russell