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Namaste! In other words, discovering Yoga

Yoga is probably one of the most famous spiritual courses that provide balance to both our bodies and mind. It is the art and science of healthy livingAlthough its history dates thousands of years ago, still it remains relevant and the “secrecy” of its teachings help people from around the world. 

History

The very first civilization that developed Yoga was the Indus-Sarasvati, located in Northern India, about 5.000 years ago. The word “Yoga” derives from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’; And can be traced in an ancient book named the Rig Veda. This book contains a collection of texts, songs, and mantras that were used by the Vedic priests. 

Early-Years

Yoga was introduced in the Western civilizations at the beginning of the 19th century. That time many teaching methods and philosophies were westernized. Furthermore, during this period many gurus traveled to the West as well. Such an example is Swami Sivananda a famous yoga figure who wrote more than 200 books about yoga, its philosophy, and principles. Today he is perceived as one of the main facilitators of the post-classical yoga period. Another notable yoga teacher is Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century who has also been referred to as the father of modern yoga.

Yoga today

Today yoga and the way it is being practiced in gyms, studios, and our homes can be seen just as complex as the lineages that have come before it. Many current styles are based on hatha yoga, which was initially introduced in the yoga sutras. There are also several styles you may be familiar with or heard of, however, in this article we will focus on two styles: hatha yoga & ashtanga yoga.

Hatha Yoga 

Took its name from the Sanskrit words for sun and moon and it aims at balancing opposing forces. The balance that Hatha Yoga offers comes from strength and flexibility, physical and mental energy, or breath and the body. Hatha yoga can be easily practiced by beginners. Hatha’s core element is “force”, in terms of concentration and regularity of practice. A Hatha Yoga class includes a mix of asana poses and pranayama breathing exercises. For those who are searching for a gentle type of yoga, Hatha is the best solution. Apart from its spiritual aspect, Hatha contributes to one’s health since it reduces anxiety and depression, arthritis and fibromyalgia issues, back pains, and neck pains.

Ashtanga Yoga 

Asthanga Yoga is more physical, flow-style yoga with spiritual components. This specific kind of yoga is divided into 6 poses, all of which are taught differently. The practitioner moves at the pace of his/her breath and to his/her personal edge or growth point. Each student memorizes the practice and moves at his/her own pace through the poses. 

Each pose is given to a student when their teacher decides they have mastered the previous one. The energetic nature of these six poses leads to a cleansing of the body and eventually builds strength. Ashtanga yoga helps its students develop a routine of self-discipline and, eventually, their daily practice. Additionally, many people choose Ashtanga for its numerous health benefits, some of these are: improved breathing techniques, established mental strength, boosted psychological well-being, reduced lower back pain etc.

To conclude, Yoga will not only help you get fit for life and deal with stress but will give you self-reliance and self-esteem.

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