16 Awesome Benefits of Yoga You Probably Didn’t Know

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What is Yoga?

What is Yoga, exactly? Is it just an exercise form? Is it a religion, a philosophy, an ideology? Or is it something else entirely? The word “Yoga” literally means “union”. In this article, Sadhguru offers the following Yoga definition; essentially, “that which brings you to reality.”

When we say “YOGA,” for most people it probably means twisting the body into impossible postures. … Asanas are a very preparatory step, but unfortunately they are being propagated as the whole of yoga. Yoga means to be in perfect tune. Your body, mind and spirit and the existence are in absolute harmony. 

The word “Yoga” essentially means, “that which brings you to reality”. Literally, it means “union.” Union means it brings you to the ultimate reality, where individual manifestations of life are surface bubbles in the process of creation. Right now, a coconut tree and a mango tree have popped up from the same earth. From the same earth, the human body and so many creatures have popped up. It is all the same earth.

Yoga means to move towards an experiential reality where one knows the ultimate nature of the existence, the way it is made.

– Sadhguru

Yoga 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Practice, Meditation, and the Sutras

New to yoga? We’ve got answers for you. These 10 common questions for yoga beginners should get you on your way to a deeper practice and mindful meditation.

1. What Is Yoga?

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj, means to yoke or bind, and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.

The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).

Today, most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.

2. What Does Hatha Mean?

The word hatha means willful or forceful. Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely.

Hatha is also translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.

Hatha yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.

3. What Does Om Mean?

Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean?

Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.

Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.

4. Do I Have to Be Vegetarian to Practice Yoga?

The first principle of yoga philosophy is ahimsa, which means non-harming to self and others. Some people interpret this to include not eating animal products. There is debate about this in the yoga community—I believe that it is a personal decision that everyone has to make for themselves. If you are considering becoming a vegetarian, be sure to take into account your personal health issues as well how your choices will affect those with whom you live. Being a vegetarian should not be something that you impose on others—that kind of aggressive action in itself is not an expression of ahimsa.

5. How Many Times Per Week Should I Practice?

Yoga is amazing—even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits. I suggest starting with two or three times a week, for an hour or an hour and a half each time. If you can only do 20 minutes per session, that’s fine too. Don’t let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle—do what you can and don’t worry about it. You will likely find that after a while your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself doing more and more.

6. How Is Yoga Different From Stretching or Other Kinds of Fitness?

Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali’s eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Even within the physical practice, yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.

7. Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The father of classical ashtanga yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga yoga) is said to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga.

It is also not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.

8. I’m Not Flexible—Can I Do Yoga?

Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.

This newfound agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

9. What Do I Need to Begin?

All you really need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of yoga leggings, or shorts, and a t-shirt that’s not too baggy. No special footgear is required because you will be barefoot. It’s nice to bring a towel to class with you. As your practice develops you might want to buy your own yoga mat, but most studios will have mats and other props available for you.

10. Why Are You Supposed to Refrain From Eating 2–3 Hours Before Class?

In yoga practice we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.

16 Awesome Benefits of Yoga You Probably Didn’t Know:

  1. Improved Sleep
  2. Weight Reduction
  3. Increase Flexibility
  4. Increased Muscle Strength
  5. Strengthened Bones
  6.  Protection from Injury
  7. Perfects your Posture
  8. Protects Spine
  9. Makes you Happier
  10.  Helps you Focus
  11. Improved Digestion
  12. Helps Keep you Drug Free
  13.  Increases Blood flow
  14. Balanced Metabolism
  15. Gives Inner Strength
  16. Energy Regulation

Learn More about Yoga Poses: Click Here

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Yoga: The Top 100 Best Yoga Poses: Relieve Stress, Increase Flexibility, and Gain Strength (Yoga Postures Poses Exercises Techniques and Guide For Healing … Strengthening and Stress Relief Book 1)

Do you feel sluggish, mentally exhausted, or disconnected from life?Whether you want to (1) increase your strength and flexibility (2) relieve pain and prevent injury, or (3) reduce stress and become happier, then keep reading to discover how to easily do this with the best yoga positions of all time!

Enjoy beautiful pictures of all the major yoga poses.

Yoga is well known for increasing flexibility, but it goes far beyond giving your muscles a good stretch. This form of exercise can be as intense as you want to make it! At the same time, it is extremely easy to begin and it fits smoothly into any lifestyle. If you only have ten minutes to spare, that’s all it will take to reap many benefits from yoga. Then be sure to enjoy the many pictures and descriptions throughout the book showing the proper techniques. The purpose of yoga is to enhance both your physical well-being and your mental alertness. Yoga is an effective workout strategy practiced by people all over the world. Anyone can practice yoga; keep reading to discover what yoga can do for you.

Explore All The Glorious Good Stored Up In Your Body!

A yoga routine can bring out all the wonderful healing energy you have inside you. Yoga can develop strong and durable bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments. You’ll no longer worry about your body deteriorating as you age. Through yoga, you can protect your heart, strengthen your posture, maintain a healthy weight, boost your circulation, ease chronic pain, strengthen your immune system, delay signs of aging, improve coordination and balance, boost your energy, and much more! Yoga can even improve your sex life!
Do you want to boost your mood, beat depression, relieve anxiety, improve your concentration, sharpen your memory, or increase your self-esteem? There’s a yoga pose for that! Several, in fact. Does an injury prevent you from enjoying certain activities? No worries. With yoga, most of these poses are easily modifiable to accommodate physical limitations. Where they aren’t, this book lets you know so you can avoid any risk of further injury.

Make The Most Of Yoga Time

Whether you’re a working professional, a busy parent, an overwhelmed student, or anyone else for that matter, you can enjoy the amazing benefits of yoga. It makes no difference whether you have only ten minutes to spare or you’re blessed with five free hours a day. Yoga can easily fit into any lifestyle.
In this book, you will learn how to make the most of your yoga time. You’ll also find a practical approach to integrating a personalized yoga routine into your life. Explore the many ways to create the perfect environment for your yoga activities, along with step-by-step instructions to ease you into a regular yoga practice. Be sure to explore the many positions and benefits of yoga and start feeling great!

What Will You Discover About Yoga?

  • Beautiful photos of each major yoga pose.
  • Great breathing techniques that can enhance your health and boost the effectiveness of your yoga practice.
  • Practical modifications for specific injuries and physical restrictions.
  • How yoga can benefit your overall health.
  • How to warm up properly beforehand.

You Will Also Learn:

  • How yoga can increase your awareness of – and appreciation for – your own body.
  • How to design your own yoga routine around your specific needs and your personal lifestyle.
  • Which poses to use to enhance specific parts of your body.

100 of the best yoga positions of all time, with clear, step-by-step instructions. Definitely a Must Try! Click Here

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