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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Learning Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga And It's Many Benefits...

Peaceful, serene, strong, relaxed, pure -- this is how you will feel after participating in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. This ancient method is based around the idea of "flow" and connected movements. Like most forms of yoga, it's not just a series of "stretches" or exercises -- but rather, a combination of philosophy, moral code, meditation and healthy habits.

Muscle definition or flexibility may attract athletes to a yoga center, but for others it's that spiritual yoga meditation that entices -- resulting in a calmer mind, improved circulation and more energy.

Through active, fluid movements, six different positions and specially timed inhaling and exhaling exercises, students of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga hope to reach a state of internal cleansing, mental clarity, strength in body and connectedness with the universal soul. By following the "eight limbs" of yoga, outlined by Indian sage Patanjali Maharishi, students practice the following: moral codes, self-purification and study, posture, breath control, sense control, concentration, meditation and contemplation.

In the beginning of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a yoga instructor will help students master "external cleansing practices." They learn about morality and study, while practicing specific postures and breathing. Instructors help beginners find the correct positions and inspire students to live a just and moral existence. Next, after days of mastering the proper poses and gaining strength, students will learn to control their minds. Through posture, breathing and focusing, the practice purifies the body, nervous system and mind over time.

In practice, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga involves six specific postures (otherwise known as "asanas") that are always completed in the same order. In the opening asana, there are ten standing "Sun Salutations" or "The Primary Series," which is intended to align and detoxify the body. The "Intermediate Series" works on the nervous system by opening and clearing internal energy pathways. "The Advanced Series A, B, C and D" helps students achieve maximum flexibility, strength, definition and humility. Teachers emphasize the mastering of each level before moving on, with special focus and attention given to each step of progress.

The ujjayi (meaning "victorious breath") method of exhaling and inhaling, combined with the fluid, dynamic asanas, heats the blood and generates a detoxifying sweat, or what is known as "internal cleansing." Advanced methods of breathing techniques (bandhas) teach students how to "lock" or "seal" energy and redirect it to one of the 72,000 energy channels within the body. To obtain maximum benefit from the asanas, learning to lock in positive energy is crucial. Nine different focus points seek to purify and stabilize the mind, facilitating concentration.

The spiritual and physical impact has roughly 16.5 million Americans practicing their "sun salutations" and "downward dogs" at their local yoga studio. You needn't go to Mysore India to learn. Yoga.com can give you a listing of classes near you. Whether you're looking for relaxation and spirituality or muscle-definition and a rigorous workout, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a great match.

Perhaps more than any other form of exercise, Yoga has been around the longest. Originating in India, this popular form of exercise has been practiced around the world. Why? The physical portion of the workout is very low-impact and can be performed by anyone of any age. The same cannot be said of kick boxing classes or Jazzercise. But there is more to Yoga than just working out the body. It is also a lifestyle that can bring clarity to the mind through spiritual exercises of meditation and concentration. Are you ready to begin your path to a healthy body and mind? Click here to find out more: Yoga For Weight Loss and at Yoga Books also at Yoga Positions