New to Yoga?
Almost anyone can practice some form of yoga and each form provides benefits. There are several misconceptions about yoga, one of which is you have to be flexible and athletic to practice it. In fact, those who are inflexible gain the most benefit from the asanas (postures) of yoga.
Practicing yoga is beneficial for all types of individuals including athletes, people who work in an office or sit for long periods of time, expectant mothers, people recovering from injury or illness, kids, teens, senior citizens and just about everyone else. Of course, if you have a particular health issue, it's always wise to consult your doctor before beginning a practice.
Another misconception is that yoga is a religion. It is true that Yoga is linked to Hinduism and Buddhism, and that’s because Yoga is an integral part of those religions. Yoga in and of itself, however, is not a religion. Meditation through Yoga should be looked at as a time to quiet the mind and connect with your breath. It provides an opportunity to silence your body and mind during your hectic life.
There are six branches of yoga including Hatha (yoga of postures and breathing), Bhakti (yoga of devotion), Jnana (yoga of the mind), Karma (yoga of selfless service), Raja (yoga of self-control), and Tantra (yoga of rituals ). Of the six original branches of yoga, "Hatha" encompasses nearly all styles of modern yoga. Find brief descriptions of the Styles of Hatha yoga that can be found throughout the U.S.
The basic principles of yoga were first expounded in ancient texts, one of those being The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, approximately 200 AD. The core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. The eight-limbed path includes:
Watch this 5 minute video for more information about how Hatha Yoga began.
To delve further into this ancient text, it is helpful to read a translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. For information on this and other helpful yoga books, visit our resource page.
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