I Am Infinite Eternal...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hatha Yoga - The Most Popular Version Of Yoga...

Ancient Hindu yogis used asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing) to prepare themselves for long periods of meditation. In the West, these same practices are used for relaxation and body sculpting, although true Hatha yoga involves an entire holistic path with meditation and study as well.

Traditionally, Hatha yoga (pronounced "ha-tuh") translates to "sun-moon." It is believed that each person harbors a "sun" energy channel and a "moon" energy channel. The sun channel is said to govern our thought processes, while the moon channel governs our emotions.

The millions of chakras (literally translated from Sanskrit to mean "wheels" or energy centers) swirling around us keep the sun-moon channels in motion. On a deeper level, practitioners believe in a moral code based upon self-restraint, quietude, concentration, regulation of breathing, uniting body and mind through action, withdrawing from the senses and studying religious texts.

The first step is the practicing of the different asanas (poises) to help the mind and body align with one another and open the inner channels of communication. By finding the right posture, one can remain comfortable for long periods of time while meditating. Secondly, proper breathing techniques (sometimes referred to as "pranayama") are taught. Next, some students may choose to delve more deeply into the philosophical roots. Yoga instructor David Williams (from Hawaii) once noted, "Before you've practiced, the theory is useless. After you've practiced, the theory is obvious."

The end result of practicing this style of yoga is markedly noticed almost immediately. Suddenly you can stretch a bit further and touch those toes. You're not huffing and puffing carrying laundry up to the top floor of the house anymore. Your bowel movements are even more regular than usual and you find that stomach aches and head aches rarely occur these days. Your abdomen, legs and gluteus are looking more defined too. When you're at work and start to feel stressed, you take a deep breath and reconnect with the relaxation techniques you learned in class, although the anxiety rarely reaches you on a physical level anymore. Your energy levels are revitalized, your hormones are balanced and a calm sense of euphoria and appreciation for each day takes root in your soul.

Life is good, thanks to Hatha yoga, a practice that goes back thousands of years to some infinite source of knowledge the West generally seemed to have overlooked.

There is certainly something to be learned from ancient Indian religions and yogi sages. The practicality of Hatha yoga appeals to many Westerners who aren't entirely sure how to go about physically and mentally reaching spirituality and a true understanding of oneself.

While magazines like Vogue may have us believing yoga is for celebrities and athletes, the essential nature of Hatha yoga encompasses a philosophical level too.
"The beauty is that people often come here for the stretch, and leave with a lot more," says Liza Ciano, co-owner & co-director of Yoga Vermont. Check YogaFinder.com to find your class today.

It may surprise you to learn that Yoga dates back to 3300-1700 B.C.E. and has long been a practice of Buddhists, Hindus and other Eastern religions. But what should not be surprising the tremendous benefits that this form of exercise and meditation can bring to your life. Working professionals, students, home-makers and the retired alike are finding how wonderful they feel after participating. The sense of calm that prevails as well as the satisfaction of muscles well worked all make Yoga the perfect blend of philosophy, religion and exercise. Even if you do not practice the spiritual aspects of this ancient practice, you can still benefit. Click here to see more: Yoga For Kids and at Tantric Yoga also at Yoga Mats