Yoga is an ancient group of spiritual practices stemming from the ancient Indian belief system of Hinduism. Yoga has five major branches as well as many other branches. Each one places emphasis on a different aspect of a person’s life. Karma Yoga, for example, focuses on a person’s dharma, or life-duty, while Bhakti Yoga emphasizes loving devotion to a person’s personal god or beliefs. Whatever the branch of Yoga a person chooses to focus on practicing though, all of them are believed to help them come to profound spiritual insight and understanding of the nature of the life. This sort of insight is believed by Hindu traditions to allow a person to cast off the superficial trappings of day to day life and achieve oneness or unity with God, the universe, the primordial life-force, or whatever transcendent state or being a person’s school of thought may ascribe to.
In the West, most of the mystical beliefs and traditions that form Yoga’s backbone are overlooked. In fact, the word “yoga” is often not even associated with a system of belief and practice, but rather, a fitness or health trend. In many Western countries, the entirety of Yoga and yogic practice is often taken to be only Hatha Yoga, the branch of Yoga that emphasizes physical exercise by performing pranayamas, or breathing exercises, and asanas, or meditation poses.
For all of the misconceptions that most who aren’t familiar with Hinduism or Indian culture may have about Yoga, Hatha Yoga’s effectiveness as a form of exercise, stress release, and even physical therapy, has made it hugely popular in the West. In fact, yoga classes, yoga schools, and even new yoga styles have become a commonplace occurrence in places like the United States and the United Kingdom.
Within Hatha Yoga alone, there are several different styles and techniques, each one offering a different sort of experience for the prospective yoga practitioner. Choosing the right kind of yoga and the right sort of teacher are very important to having a positive yoga experience.
From exclusive yoga studios in expensive neighborhoods, to free classes in school gyms and town centers, there is certainly no shortage of yoga classes to choose from. Different yoga styles appeal to different personality types, so when looking for one, make sure to do your research and keep an open mind.
|« Yoga Ball||Yoga Clothing »|