Yoga, with several other techniques, is one of the mind-body approaches. A listing presents the principles that underlie these approaches, and their main potential applications.
Yoga is relatively new in the western landscape, but there is very well established. You can follow courses in leisure centers and health clinics, both in area and in the cities – courses that cater to children, the elderly, people with stress, to healthy, pregnant women, athletes …
It is that yoga has characteristics that are appropriate for many. The courses generally take place in groups, in a safe, non-competitive environment. Yoga does not require special skills. It facilitates almost instantly mental and muscular relaxation. In the medium term, it develops flexibility and helps treat many musculoskeletal problems. Regular practice seems to help relieve serious health problems and promote better overall health.
A part of a whole
India developed over several millennia, yoga (in a broad sense) is a comprehensive method of personal development and a science of spiritual practice. It includes several dimensions, the most important are the following.
- Devotion (bhakti yoga)
- Right action (karma yoga)
- Knowledge (jnana yoga)
- Health and concentration by lifestyle and postures (hatha-yoga)
Yoga classes posted on bulletin boards and in newspapers usually concern the latter dimension, hatha yoga. His role in the traditional spiritual path is to discipline the mind and keepthe body in optimal condition so that the person can meditatebetter and longer.
The tools of hatha yoga are breathing exercises (called pranayama practice) and more than 1000postures (called asanas). The latter often carry evocative names – the tree, the plow, bow, cobra, etc. – And their degree of difficulty is progressive. The famous lotus posture (legs crossed) being adopted many meditators comes from yoga.
Postures require movement of stretching, bending and twisting that promote flexibility of the spine, seek the joints, muscles and nerves, and exert an action on all organs and glands. The digestive system is thereby stimulated, and improved blood circulation. In addition, maintaining a posture for some time trains the mind to develop perseverance and concentration, and gives him the benefits of meditation.
As for breathing techniques, they ask, for example, to pay particular attention, inspire slowly or in spurts, alternate nostril, placing language in certain ways, etc. According to ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), the life of a human being is not measured in days, but in the number of breaths … The ultimate goal of breathing techniques is to develop and control the prana, the ” vital force “.
Yoga says that a healthy body is absolutely essential for mental and spiritual evolution. As the yogis say: “Health is wealth. Mental peace is happiness. Yoga shows the way. “
Although classical postures are proven and are the same for millennia, hatha-yoga continues to evolve and has taken different forms, especially in the twentieth century. Each of the styles of yogacombines postures, breathing exercises and meditation in a more or less energetic or gentle manner, busy or quiet. Here are the most common in the West.
Anusara. A new form of yoga created in 1997 by John Friend. She quickly popularized and is now present in 70 countries. Its basic philosophy is to celebrate the heart and see the good in every person and every thing.
Ashtanga. Characterized by the synchronization of breathing with rapid sequences of postures increasingly demanding. This significantly elevates metabolism and body temperature. Excellent for endurance. In the US, we designed a particularly dynamic form called Power Yoga.
Full. Designed in the United States in the 1960s, it offers a balanced integration of postures, breathing, meditation and relaxation. (Do not confuse with the spiritual approach of Sri Aurobindo, also called integral yoga.)
Iyengar disciplined and rigorous courses where one insists the alignment members, and especially of the spine. very oriented towards health. No spiritual connotation, but the meditative aspect is present.
Kripalu. A dance of body, mind and energy, with an emphasis on breathing techniques. Particularly favor the cardiovascular, digestive and nervous systems.
Sivananda or Vedanta. Classes are taught by the Sivananda organization in its own centers. It emphasizes positive thinking, meditation, breathing, relaxation and diet. Spiritual aspect very present.
Sudarshan Kriya. This form of yoga was founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the early 1980. Today present in over 140 countries, it strongly relies on breathing to rebalance the body and mind.
Viniyoga. It is characterized by the integration of movement with breathing and personalized education that fits each individual.
As for prenatal yoga, these courses geared to the specific needs of pregnant women. The instructor then selects certain exercises (postural and breathing) to help them to overcome difficulties related to pregnancy, the steps facilitate childbirth and encourage the return to the body balance after birth.Instructors can be practiced in one or other of the movements mentioned above.
We should also mention the Tibetan yoga, which is practiced with belts or straps to keep the body in certain postures and particularly conducive to relaxation.
Yoga loses its increasingly esoteric connotation. Thus, many schools now offer courses in business. After work or at lunch time, business people loosen their ties and workers break their routine. They gather around a teacher for their weekly yoga session. We also saw rise to new forms of yoga such as Bikram 1, which is practiced in a room heated to over 40 ° C Some purists see this as a dilution of the sanctity of the original practice. Others believe it is an interesting entry door to a discipline that can only do good.
Although yoga is inscribed at the base, in a spiritual practice hatha yoga is not a religion and can be used by any individual, regardless of his beliefs, such as health and healing tool . In some contexts, such as health clinics, courses are completely devoid of religious references.
Westerners who say that yoga postures are much more difficult than their Orientals, Iyengar teacher always reply: “Is there a British cancer, an Italian and an Indian cancer cancer? The human suffering is the same, whether one is Indian or Western. The diseases are common to all human beings, and yoga is given to cure these diseases. “