Yoga explanation for new students
Meaning and its beginnings
Yoga is indigenous to India, and now is popular worldwide
The original function of yoga was to better ride the horse and drive the oxen. Even from long ago, yoga helped people find their self-realization. As written in the Yoga Sutras by Pantanjali, yoga is the fusion of the heart, mind, body and soul. Yoga has a long history in India, being systemized by many schools... In India, people believe yoga can help to relieve the turning of samsara, or the circles of the mind that cause us so much pain. Once the chain of samsara has been broken, you can become one with universe. Your heart and mind will be free and the burden will lift. As with most things in Indian society, yoga is deeply rooted in Hinduism… in the temples and throughout all factions of life.
All over Asia Yoga has been linked to overall good health. It is believed to have it’s origins long before Christ lived, and is said to contain the light of life. Also, it is a way for all people to find the meaning of life through practice, meditation, and study of yoga theory. Legend has it that the sages living high in the Himilayas passed this science to us through the millennium. In the beginning only people at the temples, high in the mountains near what is now Nepal, in the forests and in specific yoga families practiced this discipline- then yoga became more integrated in the general populace as time went by.
For centuries now Yoga has been documented and can be scientifically proven to heal and help the body and mind; it’s not a secret for only a few hard ascetics. Yoga is popular the world over. India has many yoga schools and colleges for the study of the yoga. A complete practice in the true sense of the meaning, yoga brings the mind and body together and is not just for the religious, but for discovering your own spirituality. Yoga has endured the ages, and is still going stronger than ever. When in the very deep throngs of meditation and practice, you will feel your life in harmony with the universe.
You will awaken the power that is deep within you and open your mind.
More facts about Yoga
Benefits of practicing yoga
Yoga is not just for the fashion conscious; it is calming for your heart and mind. You will feel more strength and flexibility in your muscles and bones. The nervous system, internal functions, and mind are cleared and stimulated. The power from your energy centers becomes unblocked, making you more energetic than before.
There are 3 very important parts of yoga that must come together…
First and foremost the breath, then the body health and meditation follow.
Yoga breath can bring more oxygen into your lungs and solar plexus by expanding lung capacity and clearing the respiratory system. The increase in breath capacity makes you calmer and more patient.
Yoga Asanas (poses) are practiced slowly and gracefully, thus increasing your circulation and making your joints move fluidly. When practiced with the yoga breath, the inner organs are massaged and re-aligned.
Meditation will work magical effects - clearing your mind and reducing stress. It “stills the waters of the mind” so to say, so you can think clearly. Happiness will be part of your life routine, bringing joy to your relationships and work.
Yoga has healing powers and can prevent sickness. It can help relieve diabetes, High blood pressure, eating disorders, constipation, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, varicosity, asthma, and many other chronic illnesses. Researchers have found that people that regularly practice yoga have lower blood pressure and less heart problems than those who don’t practice. There is medical proof that neural systems and gland functions are also improved, bringing excellent overall health to the inner organs.
What to emphasize in practice.
- Time of practice: everyday, morning, noon or evening…2-4 hours after eating.
- Place of practice: choose a place with good ventilation, quiet and natural surroundings. If conditions are good, outside is a great place to practice.
- Clothes: Loose, casual and comfortable. Too much jewelry is uncomfortable and may hinder some asanas.
- Breath: yoga breath is through the nose, in line and in time with your asanas. Breath is the basis of your yoga practice, and will put you in a relaxed state. The respiratory system is opened (along with the energy channels of the body.) You will feel more “get up and go” in your life. The body is not the only benefit of this, the yoga breath brings the mind to a peaceful and present state. There are hundreds of kinds of breathing exercises that can be learned, and some masters spend their entire lives teaching only the breath exercises. The diaphragm is moved along with the breath, massaging the inner organs by forcing all the breath out before each in breath. In turn, this will take all the toxins and Co2 out of the lungs, keeping them healthy.
- Yoga Diet: you should wait to eat about 30 minutes after practice. Try to eat food that is fresh and natural. Food is separated into inert (meat), metamorphic (spicy or hot), or desirable (fruit, vegetables and milk) Most yogis and yoginis are vegetarian, staying away from meat and spicy food, but that is a personal choice for students to make...
- Age: there are no age limits for practicing. The intensity of practice will depend on each student’s particular makeup. Every asana (pose) has its focus and unfolding point, but some will be individualized.
- Shower: showering before practice can make your muscles softer. After practice, when you have finished sweating and your breath have returned to normal, is a good time to shower.
- Mind: When you concentrate the mind on the pose, then your body can change. You can feel your body and mind become integrated into one – relaxed and calm.
- Position practice: you should be aware of your body at all times, taking care not to over-extend. Always work within your own limitations. – each step is taken slowly as to insure the best results. Every Asana (pose) has it’s own special focus and benefit – but care must be taken not to overdo or practice in the wrong way, as it could damage the body.
How to shape your personal practice
Practicing at home with a video or DVD is a good idea, but pay attention to the Yoga DVD or video you begin with – when starting out keep in mind that about 80% of the practice is within your ability. Remember not to start out too hard or with too fast a pace. Better to go to a certified yoga teacher and learn proper basics. Once you understand the breath and stages of yoga, then it is important to supplement your lessons with your own practice.
What you need to start
- If you practice at home, you can comfortable, loose fitting clothes, or just wear pajamas and be in bear feet.
- It’s ok to practice some asanas on the bed, but not on a soft bed… the best way to have a yoga mat that is on a hard, flat surface.
- Find a quiet space with good ventilation
How to practice
- If you study with a DVD, watch the session first, then begin to practice in stages till you memorize the sequence. It’s important to have space to where you can think and concentrate, so if you watch and practice at the same time, it’s hard to have a deep practice. Remember you may not be able to do every pose exactly like the teacher, do it within your limitations and strengths. With time you will make the practice your own.
- If the DVD you are learning from is too fast or too hard, you should find one more suitable. You should keep every asana 3 to 5 deep yoga breaths, unless stated otherwise for certain asanas. After practicing yoga, you should feel happy and relaxed- not fatigued or in pain.
- Whether in the gym or home, you need perseverance and a steady practice to improve at yoga. The desire to study yoga needs to come from within, not at the wish or command of another. You don’t need to practice yoga everyday- practice when you are happy and have time and success will follow- you will get twice the results with half the effort.