Hatha Yoga


Hatha yoga is an ancient hindu system of working with the human nervous system. Because it releases tension and endows one with renewed energy, far too many 20th century people, yoga teachers included, have come to look upon the venerable Indian physical science as solely an exercise for health and vitality of mind and body. It is that, but it is also much more. Hatha yoga practices are more spiritual than physical, more subtle than gross, more a means of understanding than an exotic way to relieve stress or limber up the body.

The sages who developed hatha yoga designed it as a way to gain conscious control of our life energies, a way to go within, to harmonize the external so the innermost Self could be encountered. To them, it was about states of consciousness, about living a divine life, and it was a preparation for meditation.

As you perform the asanas, concentrate on feeling the energies within the nerve currents. Sensitize yourself to knowing when the body has been in each position long enough to tune the nerve currents involved. Then shift smoothly into the next asana. It’s like a dance, a deliberate, fluid dance. During all postures, inhale using the diaphragm, not the chest muscles. Do not stretch unduly or force the body. Relax into the poses. Don’t worry if you can’t perform them all perfectly. In time, you will find the body becoming more flexible and supple. Free the mind of thoughts and tensions. You will be more aware, more alive, more serene.

While there are many more complex hatha yoga routines, these twenty-four asanas provide a balanced system for daily use. For the simple purpose of quieting the mind in preparation for meditation, this is all you will ever need. For best results, hatha yoga should be taught personally by a qualified teacher. These instructions and drawings are meant only as a rudimentary aid. For more elaborate regimens, inquire at a recognized school specializing in hatha yoga.

The scene of hatha yoga has a spiritual purpose – to balance physical and physic energies in preparation for meditation. It is not only meant to make us young, beautiful or creative, but to aid us in quieting the mind, body and emotions that we may awaken enlightened consciousness & know the Self within.

Learning How To Practice Yoga


Today, people believe that yoga is all about experiencing pure ecstasy through the union of the mind, the soul, and the body. But most yoga practitioners and teachers would agree that apart from providing relaxation and peace, learning how to practice yoga is about the seemingly limitless capability of a person to be in control and unite with him or her inner self.

Many yoga practitioners believe that in one way or another, the ancient discipline makes it possible for the breath, the mind, and the senses to unite in creating balance. As defined, the word “yoga” is a Sanskrit term which means “union or joining.” It is considered as almost an ambiguous term because it encompasses a wide range of purely physical disciplines to purely spiritual.

Because of its benefits, more and more people across the globe are showing interests in learning yoga. Many are planning to learn yoga as a form of exercise while others want to use it as a way to relieve stress. Whatever your reasons behind learning yoga, it shouldn’t be as confusing as it seems because you don’t need to learn all the concepts and philosophies behind it.

Getting started with yoga

Many people practice yoga for so many reasons. Many want to explore its almost limitless possibilities as an ancient philosophy while others want to delve into its depths as a meditative practice or for pure spiritual discipline. And for some, they want to use its philosophies as an exercise for you to be fit and healthy. But, no matter what the reasons of people are, understanding the main objectives and the level of interest is a must to be able to find the right yoga program to suit the needs of a certain individual.

The first thing that you have to bear in mind before you totally indulge in practicing yoga is setting and determining your goals. You can do this by knowing first what are the possible health and fitness benefits you can get from yoga. Most yoga practitioners agree that the potential benefits of yoga may include the increase of strength and flexibility, creation of balance as well as the improvement of breathing and overall posture. On the spiritual aspect, yoga can serve as an exercise that can help you soothe your nerves, calm your mind while increasing your focal and concentration skills.

Next, undergo a general check-up. This is a sort of “SOP” before you begin practicing yoga or any type of exercise program for that matter. A check-up is important for you do discuss with your physician the advantages and disadvantages of yoga in your total health and well being. Since yoga involves physical endurance, you might also want to visit an orthopedic before you undergo a class to avoid possible injuries.

Before you start learning yoga, you must make sure that you have a good yoga instructor who can attend to your needs, you are aware of your physical and emotional limitations, and you know when is the best time suitable for you to practice yoga. It would also be best if you begin with the easy yoga poses before slowly advancing to the difficult positions and that you wear the right kind of clothes and that you have the yoga equipment you need like mats, foam blocks, and yoga pillows.

Twisting With Yoga


You won’t need to shout aloud when you twist with yoga. Yoga makes it easy to by forcing Yogi and Yogini into visualizing their spine as the sponge. Yogic practices are outlined in a selection of new and old editions. Many writers have edited Tibet, India, Hindu, and related scrolls to deliver modern practices. Occidental nations practice yoga daily, since the exercises help one to find a peace of mind. Each revision however is changed to draw out the meaning of religious beliefs.

According to the logic of yoga, twisting the spine symbolically like a sponge will clean the discs while assisting Yogi and Yogini to discover unlimited flexibility and firmness. In addition, yoga reasons that twist yogic methods will pamper the spine, internal organs, etc. Yoga reasons believe that twist yogic methods drive inner fire and stretches, reclines and places emphasis on areas of the spine that promote good health. Now that you have a background let’s see how it works.

How to do the Easy Chair Twist:
Prepare a sturdy chair and sit your buttocks down sideways. Next, place your feet flat on the floor and direct your heels below the knees. Exhale…and then turn your body to the right, as you grip the side of the chair. Inhale, and extend the spine uphill. Exhale and move to twist the trunk (torso) and your head toward the right. Exhale as you repeat the steps and gradually elongate the body as far as it will allot. Count eight times as you breathe naturally. Next, follow the same procedure on the opposite side. (Left)

I don’t know about you but writing yoga is wearing me out. I am sure your practice is making room for fatigue. Therefore, let’s remove some of the fatigue and perform the easy sit twist.

Easy Sit Twist:
Sit on the floor. Cross your legs in a straightforward position and extend the spine uphill. You should be sitting tall. Next, position your hand so that you are in motion to place the palms down on your right knee. Inhale and then extend the spine uphill. Exhale, and move to twist the trunk and heard so that it turns right. Repeat the steps and twist as far as your body will allot each time. Hold your stance and count up to eight breathes. Next, move to position and perform the steps on the opposite side.

Ok, you probably feel good about now, so let’s do the sage twist. Ready? Position your body so that you are seated on the floor. Extend both legs in front of you and bend your knee. (Right) position the right foot so that it is on the floor and inside your thigh. (Left) Next, pay attention to your toes, they should be facing toward the front of you. Position your hand behind you so that your palms are down on the floor and wrap the palm one hand (left) about the right knee. Inhale and stretch the spine uphill, exhale and twist your trunk. Your head should twist as well. Finish with repeating the steps on the opposite side after your count to eight breathes.

Good, you have completed another of yogic methods that will promote good health. The next exercise we will not complete. The Bent leg is the supine twist in yogic practices, which derive from the term parivartanasana. The word in English means to turn, or turning. The leg twist is designed to boost energy in your back area, rather spine. The yogic method helps to strengthen the spine and remove pain, stress, etc. Practice it and you will do well.

Perfect Truths About Yoga


Turbaned gurus, sing-song mantras and bodily contortions . . . the promise of true enlightenment and omphaloskepsis (contemplation of the naval) completes the cliche. But don’t knock yoga till you’ve tried it, and then only with respect.

Yoga means to bind together — variously joining sun and moon, left and right, male and female, and any number of yins and yangs — through ascetic techniques of meditation and exercise. The goal is physical and mental balance.

Indian Hatha’ yoga is best known to Westerners. Double-jointedness isn’t a prerequisite, but the classic lotus position, cross-legged on the floor, soles-up on the inner thigh, either comes naturally or doesn’t.

Then there are more magical/mystical varieties of yoga for which people quit jobs and polite society and retreat to the Himalayas. But not everyone follows a spiritual guide beyond the Beltway; they’d rather take up the discipline at a local ashram or the Y.

Committed practitioners claim yoga leads to intuitive awareness, spiritual harmony, perfect concentration. Others use it to lose weight or quit smoking. Some just like the lift they get from yoga asanas (positions) better than breaking into a sweat with pushups. In any case, it can’t hurt, if done in moderation and with proper guidance.

Beginners Yoga Video Offers Good Instruction


Trying to find well-produced fitness videos that are truly suitable for beginners can be a daunting challenge.

Most tapes these days aim at intermediate exercisers, the ones who know a grapevine from a box step and a lateral raise from a biceps curl. These tapes may offer a few easier moves here and there, but the instruction clearly is geared to people who already know what to do.

The few tapes that are marketed for beginners often are unspeakably repetitive, as if flabby muscles always mean a flabby brain. And too often, they provide no way to add extra challenge or difficulty to the routine, as if beginning exercisers are going to remain beginners forever.

It’s nice, then, to discover Yoga Zone: Flexibility and Tone, a beginners’ tape that offers the depth of instruction and easy pace that true beginners need.

The instructor here is Alan Finger, a genial-looking middle-aged man who wears a polo shirt, rolled-up cotton pants and a chin-length bob. His physique is not the standard chiseled form of exercise videos; he looks as if he might carry a few extra pounds around the middle.

But he has a lovely voice (with a hint of a brogue) and a calm manner, two essentials for a yoga tape, where relaxation is key.

And he has a true gift for instruction, combining the nuts-and-bolts details of positioning with what it feels like to stretch and balance.

When he describes how the muscles of the feet ought to rotate through to the little toe, you’ll know — and be able to feel — just what he’s talking about.

But each move contains so many of these instructions that it can be a little overwhelming to try to master all of them at once.

If you have tried yoga before, you’ll recognize some of them — the down-on-all-fours stretch called the cat, the inverted V that forms the down dog, and the corpse, which requires little more than lying flat on one’s back, completely relaxed.

In another nod to beginners, Finger also provides true modifications and tips for those who may not be as flexible as they’d like.

Finger shows how a folded blanket can be placed under the knees or for better support while performing seated postures. A folded towel also is used for several poses, although Finger doesn’t announce that in advance.

The 50-minute session ends with stretching and relaxation, set to gentle New Age music that might lull you to sleep.

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