Explore the Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is an excellent way to lose weight and feel happy and make you feel refreshed every single day. This article will tell you everything you need to know about yoga, its benefits as well as what a basic yoga routine is made up of.
| Thursday, January 21, 2010

What is Yoga?

Derived from the Sanskrit word "Yuj" which means to unite, join or yoke together, yoga helps unite the different aspects of an individual. This is done so as to achieve a life that is happy, balanced and useful. The Vedas, which are the ancient Indian scriptures, mention yoga which is said to be one of the six branches of classical philosophy. In Hindu philosophy the major branches of yoga are Karma Yoga, Bhakti yoga, Hatha yoga, Raja and Jnana yoga. In most cases the term yoga is used to define the postures (asanas) with form a part of Hatha yoga. These asanas are a form of exercise. Yogi or Yogini are the two terms which are used to describe a person who follows the philosophy of yoga or practices it.

Benefits of Yoga

As already mention earlier yoga helps in mental as well as the physical development of an individual. It is said that yoga can slow down the aging process which is caused by self-poisoning. Yoga is advantageous to an individual when he/she combines the practices of yoga which include pranayam, yogasanas along with meditation. Yoga today has been accepted by the masses because regular practice helps deal with ailments that range from blood pressure to diabetes, asthma and  heart condition to name a few. Apart from this yoga also makes the person who practices it aware of the interconnection between mental, physical and emotional levels. Slowly this understanding leads to an awareness of things around, things that did not make sense earlier.

Some of the yoga benefits fall into the categories below:

Psychological Benefits of Yoga

Yoga, if practiced regularly not only helps in the physical development of an individual but helps psychologically as well. Regular practice of yoga brings about an increased awareness of the body, relaxes mind and brings about increased levels of concentration. The other advantages of yoga include:

  • Increased Self-Awareness
  • Better Mental Performance
  • Increases Positivity

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

Scientists and physicians have been studying the advantages of yoga for a long time now and find new revelations coming everyday. Their study brings forth various ways in which yoga proves beneficial in relieving the symptoms of several diseases, some common while others are life-threatening. Some of the illnesses that yoga can cure or help relieve have been listed below.

  • Asthma
  • Problems of Breathing
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Back Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Weight Loss

Spiritual Benefits of Yoga Exercises

Last but not the least the advantages of yoga exercises encompass its spiritual benefit without which yoga is incomplete. Peace is something that will come once the yogic spirit has found its way into your being. This quality along with self discovery marks the beginning of a journey in which being is more important than doing. Other than this comes pride which one is taught to eliminate through the practice of Hatha yoga. And having come this far begins the process of acquiring and imbibing knowledge and using to know and gain control of ones being. Yoga is enlightening and it's benefits and advantages far outnumber other forms. The information here has been put together to show you the importance of an ancient form which has great benefits for you even today. Keeping this is mind, below is a basic yoga routine to get you started.

Basic Yoga Routine

Yoga is a search which ultimately leads a person to things much greater such as knowledge, health, happiness and tranquility. These qualities serve as a measure of progress which in turn brings about encouragement therefore leading to continued practice. The basic yoga routine here has been prepared with the idea written about above. To do so it is of vital importance to begin with breathing exercises, since this will help increase mental and physical capacities. Next come the physical postures or asanas and last but not the least comes the sessions that include meditation and chanting so as to increase concentration and spirituality. To begin a basic yoga routine it is important to start with breathing. Breathe in while beginning the pose and slowly exhale while maintain the pose. Each pose should be held for a minimum of 20 seconds and can be later worked up to a minute or more on each till the final workout consists of asanas that last for about 20 minutes or more.

  • Prayer Position: To begin the routine sit with your hands held in front of your chest in a prayer position. Keep your legs crossed for this position. Breathe in and out while holding this pose for about 30 seconds. While in the anjali mudra (or prayer pose) you can also chant a matra (devotional phrase) if you like.
  • Bridge Position: Lie on the ground and then place your hands beside your body. Now using your arms push your body up till a position that resembles a bridge is created. Inhale and exhale slowly and hold this position for at least 10 seconds.
  • Corpse Position: Once the above pose is done, lie down in corpse pose with both your hands above your head. Relax your body and hold this position for about 10 seconds.
  • Goddess Position: For this pose you need to put the soles of your feet together with your knees facing outwards. Keep this pose for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Mountain position: After completing the Goddess pose, roll your body up and forward and then from your back to a sitting position. While doing the above step make sure that you use your abdominal muscles instead of the ones located in your back. Roll till you are on your feet with your head coming up last. Now that you have completed the above steps come into mountain pose. To do this place your hands by your sides, with your head up and eyes straight. Keep this pose for about 30 seconds.
  • Warrior Position: To achieve this pose, place your foot forward until your back leg is bent but lengthened. Make sure your front leg is bent at the knee. Once you have done that raise your hands above your head as if in prayer. Stay in this position for about 20 seconds. Once the 20 seconds are over bring one arm in front of you and keep the other behind outstretched like with the other hand. Do this while keeping your eyes straight ahead over the front arm. This pose needs to be held for at least 30 seconds. Once this step is complete, slowly come back to mountain pose and again repeat warrior pose on the other side.
  • Triangle Position: The triangle pose needs to be held for 30 seconds. To do this pose slowly put one leg out until your legs are a little further apart compared with your shoulders. Now reach to your right side with your palms facing outward and your stance forward. Once you have done that reach towards your foot and try and touch it. You can stop when you are comfortable. Once complete, come back to the mountain pose which should be held for at least 20 seconds. After that repeat the triangle pose and then the mountain pose again.
  • Downward Dog Position: Before you begin the above pose, slowly bend forward from the hips and relax your body until you are close to your feet. Now hold your legs or ankles whichever is easier for you to reach in this pose. This position should be held for about 20 to 30 seconds. After this reach your hands towards the floor and touching the floor reach out till your body resembles a triangle. With your palms and feet flat on the floor, keep your shoulders relaxed and back straight. This pose should be held for a minimum of 30 seconds.
  • Yoga Locust Position: To do this asana reach out your hands until your stomach touches the floor. Now once that is achieved, bring your legs and arms upwards.
  • Childs Position: Like the name suggests this pose involves kneeling down with your head touching the floor. Now spread your legs until you feel pressure on the abdominals. Keep this pose for at least 30 seconds. This done, repeat the corpse pose.

I hope that the yoga routine listed above is of use to you. Once you are comfortable with the routine you can either repeat all of them of learn new asanas (postures) and include them in the routine also.

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