Here Are Some of The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Yoga.
What does it mean?
Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning to join, or yoke; union. It's full meaning is about the union of body, mind and spirit. It also is about the ending of the chatter of the mind, so that the mind can experience stillness, thus a meditative mind can be nurtured. For our culture yoga is about the lessening of stress and anxiety of modern life; about relaxation, strength, and flexibility. A quiet mind and body can awaken the depths of being. According to author Georg Feuerstein, yoga is the "world's oldest and most continuous branch of spiritual inquiry and, the longest and most intense experiment of the human spirit." Yoga can be traced to 5,000 years ago.
What can I expect yoga to do for me?
Yoga is the key to understanding deep relaxation within oneself. This stillness is vital to stillness and anger management. Yoga helps one in the present moment to be more conscious of one's actions and thoughts, thus good training for impulse control. Yoga is key to developing mental and psychological focus in the individual. Yoga increases sensitivity of the individual student, thus bringing to his/her conscious attention emotional and physiological changes that are warning signs for personal escalation of anxiety and stress. One can consciously calm one's emotions through breath and meditation. Yoga is kinesthetic in nature. These skills help the student to be in touch with how the emotions trigger nervous tension in the muscles, skin, joints, and tendons. Yoga is a key for cognitive auditory and visual (multi-sensory) techniques, appealing to a variety of learning styles and using all the senses. It has a balancing and harmonizing effect on the student. In the broader appeal of yoga, it strengthens, makes supple and sharpens the body, mind, spirit matrix. Meditation, stillness, mindfulness are key side effects of yoga.
What kind of yoga is this anyway?
It is confusing for the beginner because there are so many names before yoga that it is difficult for a person to understand what they are getting into. The main word is yoga: to unite. There can be different paths to this union. In our culture where we have lost touch with the physical body except when we need to drag it to a doctor, or when we ignore aches and pains, we need a physical path to bring us in touch with the body as a temple of the spirit. Hatha (pronounced hat-ha) is the physical branch of union, and merely the material part of what yoga as union is about. In YSK classes you will learn to breathe, stretch, strengthen, balance, harmonize and heal the physical branch of mind-spirit. As this takes place, we explore the awakening on deeper layers of being. Often referred to as raja, which brings us to study, discipline, quieting of the mind, and meditation. None of this is complete without a balance of humor and fun. Laughter is the best medicine and the greatest healer.
Hatha is an interesting word because it means force and sun-moon, balance. The force part is about that part of ourselves that we have to drag to an exercise class. The balance is what we feel when we do the hard work and exercise the discipline to become healthier in every way, body, mind and spirit. Hatha yoga develops the natural intelligence of the body. Yoga postures prepare us for the mental and spiritual work.
Hatha yoga is gentle, healing and fun. It allows the body to be free. This translates correspondingly to the mind-spirit. When we are more free, we are free to explore ourselves on very deep and profound levels. Hatha yoga is about self-realization by means of perfecting the body. This self-realization is not separate from the mind and spirit; but one movement. Raja yoga is the part of the practice involving meditation, and awakening. I don't like to separate yoga into this and that. It is just Yoga to me, which incorporates the whole, which the name suggests.
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