The benefits of Yoga are well know to everyone who has ever tried the discipline but if you are new to Yoga let me recap. Yoga is a fantastically popular and effective way of strengthening you physically as well as mentally and spiritually. This last ‘spiritual’ aspect may turn some people off, but it’s not something that needs to be associated with religion. Really the best alternate word for the spiritual strength of Yoga is contentment or happiness. It allows you to be a calmer person and more happy with yourself. Put like that it sounds pretty great doesn’t it?
So you’ve probably heard a little about Yoga and wondered what it’s all about. you probably have a few preconceptions and maybe an image of an old man with a long beard sitting in the lotus position springs into your head in automatic association with the word. Let’s go through step by step what you can expect in a typical Yoga session.
Step One: The Introduction and Preparation.
Most Yoga classes begin in a standing position. There are both mental and physical reasons for this and they are closely connected. The standing position is the most natural Human position there is. Leonardo Da Vinci produced a famous scientific picture of the symmetry of the human body when it is in it’s natural standing position. The outstretched arms and legs can have a perfect circle drawn around them and this is true of everyone regardless of their height or weight. What this means is that a standing pose comes naturally to us – we are not worried about getting it wrong and we can concentrate of the state of the body. Breathing exercises will be a key part of the warm up stage for your routine. This is the only time in your life you will be ‘taught’ to breath and it’s a skill which allows people to restore calm to their bodies and thoughts.
Step Two: The Main Routine
This is the art of your Yoga session which will vary the greatest depending on what forms of Yoga you are learning. While the individual exercises you will be doing are going to be quite different, the nature of them will be very similar. This will mean moving into certain poses and positions and holding those poses to allow the body to stretch out muscles and muscle groups that in many cases haven’t been given much attention during the week. Some Yoga teachers will talk to you about energy points of chakra’s. These are important junctions in your body where congestion occurs and stretching them out allows energy to flow freely around your body.
Ste Three: Ending the Session
While the main session is about releasing pent up energies, this stage of your Yoga workout is all about allowing that energy to flow around your body. Many people have trouble with thinking about some strange mystic force that is flowing through you and driving it to certain parts of your body. If you are one of them just mentally substitute the word ‘energy’ with the word ‘blood’. We know that the job of blood is to carry nutrients and oxygen around our body, and we know that if any part of our body is lacking in this supply that we will become ill, so it’s not a huge stretch to think of blood as the mystic energy force that brings health around our body, and exercises such as Yoga as being the method of ensuring the smooth and successful flow of that blood.
Yoga is an ancient Indian physical practice for well being and it has four paths described in the vedas. The Bhagavad Gita also talks about these four paths for peace, freedom and libration. These are the aspects of a whole that is called yoga. Yoga is the union of mind, body and soul. Below are these four paths-
1. Bhakti Yoga- It is the path of devotion, compassion, love, emotion and service to God and others. It is path of devotion to someone/something superior or higher than yourself. It helps to reduce your ego, increase your spirituality, develop a tangible relationship and connect you to the divine. You will experience the emotions like love, devotion and compassion at points along the journey. It is the path of divine love and makes yogi motivated by the power of love and sees God as the embodiment of it. In bhakti yoga, a yogi surrenders himself to God through worship, prayer and ritual and it is a process of connecting to God through chanting, worship, prayer or singing. It is also a way to connect you to God or a greatest power and it opens the heart and helps let go of preconceived ideas. The bhakti yoga develops love for God and creation and appealing to the emotional by nature.
2. Karma Yoga- It is about doing actions. It is the path of action and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions in the world. A karma yogi needs to be selfless and do actions without thought of gain or reward. Everyone have their duties in the world in the role of wife, daughter, sisters, father, colleague, teachers etc. We should do our duties to the best of our abilities without thought of gain or reward or appreciation. Nobody can live without doing actions. We should do our duties in the right attitude, right motive, do best, and follow the discipline of the job. There are a hierarchy of our duties-
* Duty towards society.
* Duty towards family.
* Duty towards yourself.
3. Raja Yoga- It is the path of self-discipline and practice. A raja means king who acts with self-confidence, independence and assurance and a raja yogi is independent and fearless. It is about controlling the mind to get all eight stages of raja yoga. Raja yoga is also known as ashtanga yoga and its eight stages are-
* Yama – Self-control.
* Asana – Physical exercises.
* Niyama- Discipline.
* Pranayama – Breath exercises.
* Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses from external objects.
* Dhyana – Meditation.
* Dharana – Concentration.
* Samadhi – Complete Realization.
4. Gyan Yoga (Jnana Yoga) – It is the path of acquiring knowledge from a variety of different sources. After getting knowledge from the credible sources put it in practice. It uses the mind to inquire into self-nature. The sources can be classes, lectures, reading, seeking the company of wise peoples etc. Before this yoga you needs have integrated the lessons of the other yogic paths. We use our knowledge and power to analyze to grow that improves our awareness. We have to ready to distinguish between true and untrue.
Did you ever notice that the most successful people are always very positive and they don’t let things very powerful energy that they have inside of them that bother them for very long? How do they do that? The answer is that there is a makes it easier for them to turn away from negative things and toward more positive things. Some people are born with this ability but some people have to work at it to achieve it. Unfortunately, most people don’t have it and find it too hard to get it for themselves. This is because it takes real perseverance and effort over a long period of time to develop a new attitude about life. Here are some tips for getting started and doing whatever you can to stick to your plan.
The most important thing about developing a new attitude is to first recognize that your attitude is bad to begin with. Most people don’t want to admit this anyway so their plan never gets off the ground. Admitting that you don’t have such a great attitude is probably the most significant part of your future plan because it will help you to be able to see what you need to work on. Once you have admitted that you need help, you will be willing to try some new things like going to a group or taking up a new hobby to improve yourself. From there, you will gain some extremely positive ideas that can help you to develop an even better plan for the future.
After you have decided to create a new attitude for yourself, you can also make a commitment to finally improve yourself in some area that you had always wanted to improve but never had the courage to do so. Some people decide to take a public speaking course such as Toastmasters and others decide to take up drawing or painting. You can join a self-help group or begin to do formal meditation or yoga to improve yourself. Any of these things will help and they will all lead you to more ideas that could later be added to your list once you have begun. It is important, however, to have a long term goal and to stick to that overall plan in some sense. Otherwise, your plan to develop a new attitude might fall by the wayside as soon as you meet your first new friend or decide that you would rather go shopping with your group members instead of practicing your yoga routine!
A long term plan is one of the hardest things for people to stick by but it is paramount to developing a sincerely new attitude. Major changes to a person’s attitude don’t happen overnight so there must be a dedication to stay on the task and keep improving your plan over the long term. Eventually, over a period of many months or even years, you will find that you have become a completely different person from who you used to be. You no longer will feel depressed at all and you will never feel scared or worried about anything. This is true! It is really possible to eliminate all the negative emotions from your life if you truly want to. Say goodbye to fear, grief, shame and guilt forever. They are useless emotions that don’t help anyone at all! You can learn to weed these emotions out of your life over the long term and eventually enjoy a more happy and fulfilling life.
As the saying goes, “Many are called but few are chosen” and this is your big chance to choose yourself as a person who is going to turn their life around and make something better of themselves. Getting serious at the onset is the most important part of the long term plan. How much of a serious heart do you have in you? Can you trust yourself to stick by a plan, even the smallest of plan, for a long period of time? How much can you depend on yourself to follow through and do this great task that you are setting in front of yourself? It is all up to you 100% and nothing can stop you if you are indeed very serious. Developing a new attitude can be the greatest goal a person ever makes for themselves and it can be the beginning of the best thing you have ever done. Make the move now and make it for keeps! You can do it!