What are Yoga and its type? Advantages of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient Hindu meditation and self-discipline practice. This includes different postures for enhancing body fitness and flexibility, techniques for breath control, and simple relaxation. Yoga emerged nearly 15000 years ago as a form of ancient rituals which was donated to humankind by Adiyogi through his seven disciples, the saptarishi(s) (Kashyapa, Atri, Vasistha, Vishvamitra, Gautama Maharishi, Jamadagni, and Bharadvaja)to transform the mankind and give them capability to reach their ultimate potential. . Today’s modern yoga has developed over the years and is various evolutions from ancient classical yoga.
Classification of Yoga
The modern Yoga as practiced today has evolved through many stages over centuries. A brief description of the development of Yoga through ages is provided below-
1. Classical Yoga
This style of yoga originated around 15000 years ago in the civilisation of Indus-Saraswati in North India. Rig Veda first mentioned the word “Yoga.” In the form of songs and worship exercises, Rig Veda includes rituals and invokes internal spiritual powers. These rituals were initially passed on orally for years before they were written on fragile leaves, making them more vulnerable to damage. During Yagna, Yogis or Rishis performed these rituals to encourage the well-being of people, society and the universe. Often considered the Father of Yoga, Patanjali gave the first systematic presentation of Yoga known as Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali has a great influence on the development of modern yoga.
2. Post-Classical Yoga
This technique of Yoga was developed by the Yoga masters, a few centuries after Patanjali. They added to the teaching of ancient Vedas and developed a bit new and a bit modified form of Yoga, describing the human body as a tool to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga to cleanse the body and mind. These techniques of body and spiritual cleaning and their connection is what we know today as Hatha Yoga.
3. Modern Yoga
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Yoga masters started travelling to the west, attracting a huge number of followers. In the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 Swami Vivekananda vowed thousands of attendees with his lecture on Yoga and religions of the world. Yogis like T. Krishnamacharya and Swami Sivananda were instrumental in promoting Hatha Yoga during 1920-1930. T.Krishnamacharya opened a first Hatha Yoga institute in Mysore in 1924 and 1936. Swami Sivananda founded Divine life society on the banks of river Ganges. Post this period many prominent yogis like Mahesh Yogi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev, Sadhguruhave worked towards spreading yoga worldwide. Modern-day yoga has become a phenomenon, practiced by millions throughout the globe. It includes breathing and postural exercises for attaining good health and spiritual enlightenment.
Types of Modern Yoga
Modern-day Yoga can be classified into 11 main types of Yogas as given below-
1) Hatha Yoga
Great for beginners as it has slow-paced breathing and postural exercises.
2) Iyengar Yoga
Founded by B.K.S. Iyengar, this form of Yoga mixes breathing and bodily exercises. Different types of postures are maintained while having controlled breathing for obtaining a relaxed body and soul.
3) Kundalini Yoga
Intense Yoga practiced aimed for releasing the energy within you, kundalini said to be coiled or trapped in your lower spine. This Yoga may include fast breathing exercises along with the chanting of Hymns and Mantras.
4) Ashtanga Yoga
Not for beginners as it contains challenging physical postures and is difficult to perform. Ashtanga Yoga begins with Surya Namaskar and moves towards a series of physical postures standing or lying.
5) Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa Yoga evolved from Ashtanga Yoga in the 1980s. It contains a series of bodily exercises coordinated with controlled breathing. Vinyasa yoga has various different styles and poses and it completely depends on the teacher, which style he chooses.
6) Bikram Yoga
It includes a set of 26 basic postures to be performed twice in regulated temperature and humidity. This style of Yoga involves heavy sweating.
7) Yin Yoga
Constitute seated postures to hold for a longer period of time. The time may vary from a few seconds to few minutes. It is a kind of meditative yoga practice which helps you to relax.
8) Restorative Yoga
Restorative Yoga is a set of physical postures to clean or free your mind after a long and tiring day. It helps you to sink deeper into relaxation by spending more time on fewer postures.
9) Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal Yoga is carefully adopted for women during pregnancies. It focuses on breathing and bonding with the baby.
10) Anusara Yoga
It is a modern-day version of Hatha Yoga focusing mainly on mind-body- heart connection.
11) Jivamukti Yoga
Jivamukti Yoga is mainly Vinyasa style Yoga, infused with spiritual teachings. Jivamukti Yoga starts with the chants and develops a connection with the earth, as living beings professing the philosophy of vegetarianism.
Advantages of Yoga
Apart from making you healthier, practicing Yoga has psychological benefits too. Some of the advantages of Yoga are given below-
i. Improved concentration
The breathing and meditative exercises in Yoga will calm down your mind and helps to keep away the distractive thoughts, improving your concentration.
ii. Reduced anxiety
Breathing exercises are effective in reducing depression.
iii. Relaxes mind and body
Performing Yoga improves blood circulation and alters your heart rate, bringing it down to resting heart rate by applying body postures.
iv. Better posture
Practicing yoga helps in keeping the spine erect and consistent practice of Yoga makes the spine stronger.
v. Healthier bones
Many postures in yoga require you to lift your own weight, making your bones stronger.
vi. Increased blood flow
Many breathing and postural exercises in Yoga help to increase blood flow to the heart, brain and other organs, making them healthier.
vii. Healthy heart
When you practice yoga you improve blood flow to your heart making it healthier.
viii. Improved digestion.
Yoga helps in easing constipation and effective removal of bowel waste. The poses and exercises involved in Yoga, help in effective transportation of food improving digestion and effective removal of bowel waste eliminating constipation.
Modern-day Yoga has developed into a craze with millions of followers worldwide. Yoga is a tool for spiritually connecting with your body and attaining enlightenment. It is the starting phase of unifying your body, mind, and soul. Practicing Yoga consistently will keep you healthy, fit, relaxed and happy. It keeps negative thoughts away from your mind and helps you in maintaining a positive attitude towards life. Ancient yoga was aimed at attaining world peace by achieving individual spiritual enlightenment.
For kids and students, yoga is a must as this increases their concentration in studies and gives them that extra energy every day to boost their perform to the best.
Read another article on How to have a positive attitude towards life?
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