Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ABCs of Yoga

500-hour yoga instructor certification program
By Shahid Mishra

Hatha yoga has been globally accepted and adapted to become one of the most popular methods for achieving physical and mental well-being. Its long lasting existence and the positive effects that are touted by yogis has led to curiosity in the scientific and medical community. Many studies have taken place and have only further solidified the claims that this physical discipline, possibly the oldest in the world, can transform your body and mind.

Asana is Part of the Pie

Asana (posture) is not everything, but many beginners start by focusing on asana first. Asana is the term for the poses through which a practitioner flows during a practice. Whichever method one decides to take (holding or flowing through postures) depends on what they wish to achieve.

Hatha yoga is perhaps the most common style, offering a plethora of asanas to provide a complete fitness and mental boosting routine. Ashtanga and power yoga are more vigorous, for those ready to move on to more challenging practices. These are only a few of the options available; basically, there is something for everyone.

It doesn’t take much to develop an asana practice; a good mat to prevent slipping, snug but comfortable clothes, and perhaps some blocks and straps to aid certain poses. Just leave the shoes at the door and your mind wide open.

Breathing and Books

Yoga is for people who think, read, study, practice and do it all over again. The term yoga derives from Sanskrit and it means “to join”, “merge”, or “unite”, as in the merging of the movements of the body and the pranayama. Pranayama is also Sanskrit, meaning “extension of the breath or life force”. This breathing technique is a vital part of yogic methodology, keeping one’s body calm during the strenuous flow of the poses. To do this, one breathes deeply through the nose; extending and matching each inhale and exhale to each asana.

With all that said, a person who doesn’t enjoy the learning process, will leave yoga quickly, as he or she will be required to learn more than stretching. Yogic methodology and philosophy are vast subjects with many rewards, but these subjects may be boring to a person who just want to show off a few challenging poses.


Nearly anyone is capable of doing some form of yoga, but be careful not to push through pain. It can help alleviate pain, lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure, improve flexibility, and lessen inflammation. It can also improve posture, coordination, and balance, as well as boost neurotransmitters in the brain that aid in mental clarity and that general sense of well-being.

Before one begins a practice, they should assure they are not healing from injuries nor have any other spine or muscle problems that might be worsened. Most postures can be modified, or skipped all together, to adjust to each individual. Don’t push yourself; this is not about ego. It is about harmony. Do what feels right. 

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1 comment:

parvezbdjsr said...

Yoga is for people who think, read, study, practice and do it all over again. Thanks for sharing this informative article.