WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is considered to be a physical, mental and spiritual discipline which originated in ancient India. The precursors to yoga are believed to have come from the Indus Valley in the 3rd millennium BC, when “yoga” was initially linked to techniques for experiencing higher states of consciousness, such as meditation.
Today, yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga, a system which was described much later (15th century) by an Indian sage – Yogi Swatmarama. Hatha Yoga differs substantially from its precursors in that it focuses on cleansing the body to cleanse the mind, not only cleansing the mind through meditation.
Modern yoga is now very mainstream and growing in popularity. There are dozens of forms of yoga, including everything from restorative and relaxing meditations to hard-core and sweat-inducing exercise.
Some popular styles of yoga include:
- Iyegar yoga: these classes focus on precise alignment and tend to hold the postures for extended periods of time.
- Bikram yoga: a sequence of 26 postures in a heated room of 40 degrees to encourage detoxification and flexibility.
- Kundalini yoga: a little more esoteric, focusing on breath and chanting and meditating.
- Ashtanga yoga: a standard flowing sequence of postures.
- Power yoga: a flowing sequence of postures that is no standard.
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THE BENEFITS OF PRACTICING YOGA