Yoga is a traditional physical and mental discipline that originates from India. In its basic form, yoga practice involves series of physical postures, known as Asana, and different breathing techniques, collected under the name Pranayama. Sometimes it even involves meditation and practicing other skills, which fall into the eight limbs of yoga: moral codes, self-purification, control of the senses, focus on intention, and contemplation. This 5000-year old spiritual practice became increasingly popular in the last couple of decades. Only in 2003, around 15 million people practiced yoga. This fantastic discipline embraced four principle elements of good physical health: strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic capacity. Moreover, it is a great stress relief technique that soothes the mind and helps to let go of all pressure.
Choosing the right style
There are many different styles of yoga and choosing the right one is important to get exactly what is desired to get from the exercise. Different styles of yoga match different personalities or health status of the practitioner. There are even specialized courses for seniors, pre-natal yoga classes, post-natal yoga classes, power yoga to build the strength and endurance or relaxation yoga to get the most from the meditative aspect of this practice. Some yoga classes are done in groups while some of them include private training with the guidance of the instructor. Most of the courses available at the local sports centers are typically focused on Asanas, or postures, and provide various physical benefits. These classes are a perfect choice for beginners that would like to become acquainted with yoga. Classes in spiritual yoga centers are usually advanced and often focused on exploration of many different aspects of yoga.
Some of the common types of yoga
Ananda yoga puts emphasis on meditation. This method combines proper breathing and awareness of the energy that flows through the body while holding a posture.
Ashtanga yoga is also known as the power yoga, offering serious workout through fast-paced series of sequential poses. Practitioners are constantly in motion, flowing from one posture to another while combining movement and breath.
Integral yoga focuses on relaxation, and it is sometimes used in a treatment of heart patients. The focus of this practice is on breathing and meditation.
Kundalini yoga is designed to awaken the kundalini energy. This vital energy is placed at the base of the spine, and it is awakened by chanting and breathing.
Tantra yoga focuses on discovering and stimulating sensual spirituality. One of the teachings of tantra yoga is how to use awakened energy for sexual pleasure, binging joy and well being to life.