At our camp, we have schedule Yoga classes everyday. They take place upstairs in our Yoga studio above the fitness gym.

Yoga is an ancient exercise which renews the body and provides many health benefits. In this article you will learn about the origins and understand the different types of Yoga and how it can help you.

Yoga originated in ancient India. The word yoga, when translated from Sanskrit, means union. Practitioners of yoga recognize this “union” as being the union of the body, mind, and spirit.

The actual practice of what we refer to as yoga can be more fittingly described by the Sanskrit word asana. This word asana is the technical term that actually references the poses, or the physical postures that anyone practicing yoga techniques uses.

Traditionally there are eight “limbs” of yoga, and asana is actually only one of them. This is really the only physical aspect of yoga as the rest of those “limbs” have to do with centering the mind and the overall physical well-being of the practitioner. Typically, people living in the West who don’t actually speak Sanskrit, will interchangeably use words asana and yoga.

Yoga Poses

Anybody who has never actually tried yoga, would likely view practitioners as only participating in stretching exercises. This is definitely an aspect of it, but in reality what is trying to be accomplished, is a balance in the practitioners body through the development of both flexibility and strength. They accomplish this through using a variety of different postures and poses which each have their own particular purpose and provide their own benefits to the physical body. There are a couple of ways in which the poses can be done, either through the vinyasa style yoga, which is actually performing the poses in quick succession, or in a style that is much slower which helps to increase an individual’s ability to perfect the pose, and increase their stamina at the same time. Regardless of what yoga tradition is being used, the poses are going to be constant with them all, but there will be variations on how they are approached in actual practice.

Yoga Practice

After an individual has been practicing yoga for a period of time under a yoga teacher, it’s not uncommon for them to use the term “your practice” when they are inquiring about an individuals experiences. One of the things that amazes people the most about yoga is that as they grow and develop in both their strength and their balance, the practice is always going through an evolutionary change, so they never get bored with it. There is never any change in the actual poses, but there is a change in the person in how they interact with the poses over time. There are no requirements that an individual has to meet in order to start a yoga practice, and even people that aren’t very strong and flexible can do so if they wish. Strength and flexibility are side effects of practicing yoga, and the longer you actually do it, the more improvement will be made. Many people love the fact that as yoga is an individual practice, there isn’t any competitive nature to it, and everybody can move at their own pace. One of the things that a lot of people struggle with, but which can ultimately liberate their life, is that they will eventually be able to let go of their ego and consider everybody as an equal in this life journey.

Yoga Classes

When people take part in yoga classes, it’s not uncommon to do things other than just the practice of poses. Many yoga classes will include teaching you how to breathe, meditation techniques, call and response chanting, and even inspirational readings provided by the teacher. All of this additional subject matter well entirely depend on the individual teacher and the style of yoga which they practice. Where a person signs up for a yoga class is likely to be a determining factor on the main components that the teaching is going to focus on. If for example a yoga class is signed up for in a workout gym, then it’s likely going to focus completely on the poses in the physical aspects of yoga, but if one is signed up for at an actual yoga center, then it will likely include a great deal of the spiritual aspects as well. It’s not uncommon for the people who just started out with the physical elements of yoga to eventually start exploring the spiritual aspects of it, and because of this the physical side is often thought of as a gateway to the spiritual side of yoga. That’s not always the case however, as there are vast numbers of people who just use it for a low-impact workout which leaves them feeling great. It doesn’t really matter what a person’s perspective is on yoga however, as if they want to practice it, there will be a style that is going to meet their needs.

Yoga Types

By no means is yoga just a simple straightforward teaching, as right now there are over 100 different schools of yoga available. Listed below are some of the most well-known types of yoga which a person. Sign up for and practice if they so desired.

Raja yoga – Raja yoga is known as a “royal road” by practitioners. The main focus of the style is to incorporate exercise and breathing together with meditation and study so that the individual can become well-rounded as a person.

Hatha yoga – This practice of yoga is simply the physical poses, postures, and the breathing techniques common to yoga. It completely focuses on the physical aspects and benefits, and is what the majority of people think of when it comes to yoga practice.

Jnana yoga – This is the yoga practice that is considered to be the most difficult, and is referred to as “the path of wisdom”.

Bhakti yoga – This is the practice that is centered upon the practitioner completely devoting themselves and their concentration upon what their concept of God is.

Karma yoga – This type of yoga puts its focus completely on an individual’s personal concept of God in all aspects of their life. All of their movement, and all of the work that they do is performed from that perspective.

Tantra yoga – This type of yoga actually uses specific words, diagrams, and movements in order to show the unseen consciousness. As an example, a diagram that is commonly used is that of two triangles superimposed on each other representing both the physical and the spiritual bodies that people are made of. In the symbol, the triangle that is pointing downward is a representation of the physical body, or what is deemed the female aspect which has to do with work, movement, and action, while the upward pointing triangle has a representation of the spiritual body with the attributes of energy, vastness, and support.

Kashmir Shaivism – Everybody who practices this yoga style comes to the belief and realization that all parts and aspects of the universe possess both female and male qualities. They believe that these qualities are completely interdependent on each other and cannot be separated by any means as they are an equal partnership. They believe that this complete attraction between opposites is in essence what creates the complexity of our universe that we all celebrate and take part in. Kashmir Shaivism is quite unlike the other philosophies of yoga because it puts none of its focus on intellect, but rather on the emotions only. They do not believe that the actual summit of yoga can ever be realized through intellectual understanding. All of the proponents and practitioners of this system of yoga teaches that an individual with intellect is naturally egotistical, and that ego blocks a person’s ability to fully realize and experience their own inner power..

More types of Yoga →


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