I have my own personal answers to the above title and are they are within this article.
However you are here on this page because you may be searching for yoga instruction or searching for help with your stress relief, pain, anxiety or unhappiness. Or maybe the title perked your interest? So why not keep reading? Maybe you will learn something about you never knew before. I could go into yoga history here, but that's a whole other page, for now just read on to learn the basics or foundation every aspiring yoga student should be aware of.
There are many different styles or types of yoga in the world, each one unique yes, yet each connected fully in the fabric of mind and body awareness.
As you read, you may find a style of yoga you connect with, you may even connect with more than one yoga style. The styles of yoga are as varied and unique as flowers in a garden, yet each holds a beauty and wisdom.
Searching for yoga poses for beginners? I offer this to you, be mindful as you read that the yoga poses aka yoga asanas are similar in all yoga styles. What differs in them is the creative organization and philosophies. So the difference being different yoga practices, meditation, chants and or science behind structuring certain yoga poses together. Bikram Yoga is a great example. He has a certain design to his yoga asanas and yoga classes that many people love. He is a master at what he has learned and what he teaches. You are master too, you just have not become aware of that inside of yourself. Yet.
My answer to the question of why practice yoga? Where else can you have deeply divine relationship with your own mind and body? My answer to that is in every moment, and thus my yoga path of life as a meditation in mind body awareness. My favorite type of pathway is a yin yoga…which in my experience is a slower meditative practice of being profoundly present in my body. When I slow down and become more still, I can unwind myself from the inside first..and then those inner unwindings ripple outward into my muscles, tissues, tendons, heart. This yin yoga is based in the principles of hatha yoga. This type of yoga can be practiced all the time, whether you are standing in line at the store, or sitting in lotus pose in a yoga class. It is a form of yoga meditation in the moment.
As I learned to develop a deeper loving relationship with myself through yoga and meditation, I learned that instruction comes from within in every moment. It's simply our level of inner awareness or inner consciousness that can bring us into the moment to be present in ourselves. It's also how yoga teachers direct their students into being in their bodies and observing their thoughts. Yoga takes practice just like everything else. Therefore, yoga, no matter what style, is always a practice to be more aware, to be more present. How does my body feel in this moment, how much further do I want to go in this stretching of my tight hamstrings. How relaxed can I stay while sitting in this traffic jam. The more I listened deeper inside myself the more quiet and relaxed I became. Then my pain, anxiety and unhappiness transformed into vibrancy, peace and ease in myself.
The place to begin yoga is within you. It always has been and it always will be. Even when you are in a class watching a teacher and trying to get into and figure out the perfect yoga poses. Are you truly aware in the moment, inside of yourself as to what your body is feeling and experiencing? Or are you outside of yourself trying to get somewhere else or to be someones else yoga pose? Are you able to stay focused and present in your body at work, at the gym, hanging out with friends? Yoga practice is not simply doing yoga poses for 1 hour. It's a life path. And the benefits are amazingly available for everyone.
Some people love the more physical, athletic types of yoga, (ashtanga yoga) some people love the yoga of chanting (japa yoga), or the yoga of service(karma yoga). Some people love the yoga of love (Bhakti yoga). If you read about styles of yoga more you can come to see the common thread in all them The Unity of mind-body-Spirit-which is the definition of yoga in Sanskrit.
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