The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as "union" or a method of discipline. The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas(observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.
Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect. Other yin-yang polarities include cold-hot, down-up, calm-excited.
In the body, the relatively stiff connective tissues(tendons, ligaments, fascia) are yin, while the more mobile and pliable muscles and blood are yang.
A Yin yoga class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body—the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues. The poses are held for up to five minutes, sometimes longer.
The word “vinyasa” can be translated as “arranging something in a special way,” like yoga poses for example. In vinyasa yoga classes, students coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Ashtanga, Baptiste Yoga, Jivamukti, Power Yoga, and Prana Flow could all be considered vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa is also the term used to describe a specific sequence of poses (Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward-Facing Dog) commonly used throughout a vinyasa class.
A restorative yoga sequence typically involves only five or six poses, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. Held for 5 minutes or more, restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds, and gentle backbends. Most restorative practices are based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar.
Whenever you practice meditation you will recognize benefits on some level. The size of the benefits will always be in direct proportion to the amount of time and regularity of your meditation practice. If you practice meditation for at least 20 minutes every day, you will discover life changing benefits on many levels.
Some of the benefits of meditation will include:
A greater sense of calm and peacefulness
More clarity of thought
Greater self-confidence and improved self-esteem
A sense of physical, mental & emotional wellbeing
More physical energy
Improvements in your general health
Noticeable assistance in the treatment of illness and disease
Normalizing of blood pressure
A significant reduction in stress
Clinical research over the past two decades has now proven that meditation is not only an ancient spiritual practice but a powerful healing tool that, with regular practice, can significantly improve every aspect of your life.
Once you find the meditation that is perfect for you, you will not only marvel at the difference it makes in your life on so many levels, you will fall in love with the experience!