Yoga is a life philosophy originated from India and practiced for thousand of years which helps one reach a more positive approach to life by combining breathing techniques and physical postures with meditation. Although this practice exists since the ancient times, only in the past decades it became popular worldwide, mostly due to the celebrities who decided to stay in great physical shape by exercising different yoga poses and adopt a positive life philosophy. These physical poses are the main attraction for people interested in making a change in their lifestyles.
Usually, work or school take over our lives and requires almost all of our time and energy. That is why finding at least one hour for ourselves, to do something we enjoy and help us disconnect our mind from all stress accumulated during the day is essential. Practicing yoga on a regular basis improves not only the mood but also the physical condition. By learning to control your body and mind through meditation and physical poses (ansas), one can relax and recharge the batteries to keep up with the hectic daily lifestyle.
Contents of this article
Philosophy of Yoga like a Tree of Life
In the old times, yoga was often compared to a tree which has a solid trunk, deep roots and big branches with fruits and blossoms. The tree has six branches, each one representing an individual approach to life and presents specific and unique characteristics.
- Hatha yoga – accounts for the mental and physical branch and requires the specific practice of asana and pranayama which transforms both the mind and body
- Karma yoga – teaches about generosity and how to find the path which leads to a future without selfishness and negativity
- Raja yoga – is about meditating and find a way to adhere to the “eight limbs of yoga”, which are ethical standards (Yama), self-discipline (Niyama), the union of mind and body through physical activity (Asana), controlling the breath (Pranayama), concentration (Dharana), meditation (Dhyana) and the silent awareness (Samadhi)
- Bhakti yoga – is all about finding the path towards devotion and your personal means to focus on all the good emotions, learn to accept and tolerate the others
- Tantra yoga – is considered a spiritual pathway regarding the ritual or the ceremony of the consummation of a personal relationship with someone else
- Jnana yoga – represents the wisdom path which guides the students and intellectuals through the study process.
Physical and Mental Benefits of Yoga
Practicing yoga is more than a way of staying fit, it becomes a lifestyle.Yoga is an activity which unifies mind, body, and spirit to improve all aspects of your life. It relaxes the mind by offering a positive approach to life and improves the health through poses. Nowadays, yoga is mostly promoted for its physical benefits, but this is only a partial understanding of the reality. Most people focus on the benefits of the body and fail to notice the mixed results of learning to control your breath, mind, and body:
- Fit body – controlling your body’s posture through poses and the breathing techniques while meditating offers a complete fitness package. The results are a better health, a toned body and increased physical and mental strength
- Weight loss – there are specific poses created to help you regain control over the body Also by practicing yoga constantly you will perceive different the kind of food your body asks for and when
- Stress relief – practicing meditation and yoga poses for just several minutes a day will help you forget about the stress accumulated at work and detox the body
- Brings inner peace – we don’t need to travel to an exotic location to feel relaxed and calm, these things are inside our minds and can be reached through meditation
- More meaningful relationships – practicing yoga can have a positive impact on our relationships because a calm and relaxed mind can find the best approach for sensitive issues while dealing with other people
- Better posture and flexibility – you can achieve a strong, flexible and supple body simply by including several minutes of yoga in your daily routine because the specific poses stretch the muscles and tones the body making it look stronger
- Boosts energy and improves the mood – 10 minutes of meditation each day can make you fell refreshed, recharged and ready to face the world with a positive
Simple Poses to Practice Daily
Traditionally fitness was not the primary purpose of yoga practice, but nowaday the majority of postures practiced during classes focus on the body more than the mind. The philosophy of yoga stated that all three components, body, mind and spirit, must be in perfect harmony to achieve the blissful awareness we all look for. Here are some simple yoga postures, which included in the daily routine can help you face life with a better attitude and healthier body:
- Mountain Pose – you must stand up with your feet close together and relax the shoulders. Breath in deeply and raise your hands with palms facing together towards the sky until they are straight.
- Downward Dog – stand with hands and feet on the floor, move the hands forward and spread the fingers and slowly, raise the hips so the body can reach an inverted V position. Feet should be apart, and the knees slightly bent. Hold the pose for three breaths.
- Warrior – the legs should be about 3 to 4 feet apart and turn right foot towards the outside 90 degrees while the left foot is bent in slightly. Start with hands on the hips and then extend the arms with palms facing the floor. The right knee should be bent at 90 degrees. Hold the position for a minute and then switch sides
- Tree Pose – keep the arms close to the body and shift the weight on the left leg while placing the sole of the right foot inside left thigh. Hold arms and palms in prayer position. When inhale extend the arms over your shoulders and separate palms. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
- Bridge Pose – start by lying on the floor with face up, and knees bent, arms are straight beside you with palms facing down. On the exhale lift your hips until tights are parallel with the floor. Hold for one minute and repeat.
Practicing yoga brings many benefits to the general health of the body and the mind, however, it can’t replace medicine. Yoga postures must be learned how to be practiced correctly under the supervision of a trainer; otherwise, injuries might occur. If you are aware of any medical condition, talk to a doctor or a yoga experienced teacher to find together the right poses which won’t endanger your health.