Yoga is the Hindu practice of physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. Yoga means "union' in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India.
Here in the western world what we refer to as "yoga" is usually the practice of physical postures or poses described by the Sanskrit word asana.
Asana is of the eight "limbs" of yoga, most of which are more concerned with mental and spiritual well-being than physical activity. Often in the western world, the words asana and yoga are used interchangeably. For the rest of this article I was use the word yoga in the western, generic, covers all way.
Yoga is more than just stretching. Stretching is very much a part of yoga, however yoga is about creating balance by developing strength and flexibility. This is accomplished through poses or postures, each one having specific physical benefit. Poses can be done rapidly, creating heat in the body through a vinyasa style yoga. Or they can be done slowly to increase stamina and proper alignment. The poses don't change the approach will vary depending upon the teacher and the style, or tradition.
Yoga is good for us in many ways.
Yoga teachers may refer to "your practice" which means your individual experience with yoga. Yoga is a practice which will change and evolve as you do, according to your needs. So it is different to each individual. The poses don't change. It is you who will change along with your flexibility and strength.
One of the most beautiful things about yoga is the noncompetitive spirit of yoga. Yoga is low impact and you do only as much as you can do, so people of all ages and fitness levels can do yoga and benefit from it. We all just do our best each day and each day we come to the mat is different.
These weekly fitness tips are offered every Friday as part of my contribution to the Lucy Monroe Reader Fitness Challenge.
This is a 12 week challenge where readers and authors have joined together to get fit and healthy. Organized into teams, we encourage each other on and share tips for exercising and getting in shape. Every week there are prizes, but the real prize is better health and a longer life for each of us.
To read past fitness articles, visit the articles section of my website.
Till next time, love and light,