The Different Styles of Yoga
Sep 4th, 2011 by Aldouspi

There are many different styles of yoga being taught and practiced today. Although all of the styles are based on the same physical postures (called Asana’s), each has a particular emphasis or path. Here is a quick guide to the most popular types of yoga that can help you decide which style is right for you.

However, I am strongly advising that you try as many different styles, classes and teachers as possible.  It is crucial for your development, that you have a rich and varied experience of Yoga. 

Hatha is a very general term that can encompass many of the physical types of yoga. If a class is described as Hatha style, it is probably going to be slow-paced and gentle and provide a good introduction to the basic yoga postures.  Highly recommended as a standard experience in the basics of yoga. This is a good place to learn basic poses, relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with yoga.

Like Hatha, Vinyasa is a general term that is used to describe many different types of classes. Vinyasa, which means breath-synchronized movement, tends to be a more vigorous style based on the performance of a series of postures called Sun Salutations, in which movement is matched to the breath. A Vinyasa class will typically start with a number of Sun Salutations to warm up the body for more intense stretching that's done at the end of class. 

Ashtanga, which means "eight limbs" in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of postures are performed, always in the same order. Ashtanga Yoga is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. In yoga terminology, this movement is called flow. Ashtanga is also the inspiration for what is often called Power Yoga.  If a class is described as Power Yoga, it will be based on the flowing style of Ashtanga, but not necessarily keep strictly to the set Ashtanga series of poses.

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Based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar, this style of practice is most concerned with bodily alignment. In yoga, the word alignment is used to describe the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain the maximum benefits and avoid injury. Iyengar Yoga usually emphasises holding poses over long periods versus moving quickly from one pose to the next (flow). Also, Iyengar practice encourages the use of props, such as yoga blankets, blocks and straps, in order to bring the body into the most perfect alignment.

Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga to the US in 1969.  Now the practice is world wide and growing. The emphasis in Kundalini Yoga is on the breath, internal concentration, mantra (words or sounds) in conjunction with physical movement, with the purpose of freeing energy within the body and allowing it to move upwards. All asana practices make use of controlling the breath. But in Kundalini, the exploration of the effects of the breath (also called prana, meaning life force energy) on the postures is essential. Kundalini uses rapid, repetitive movements rather than poses held for a long time.

Pioneered by Bikram Choudhury, this style is more generally referred to as Hot Yoga. It is practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room, which allows for a loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. The Bikram method is a set series of 26 poses, but not all hot classes make use of this series.

Anusara Yoga

Founded in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara combines a strong emphasis on physical alignment with a positive philosophy derived from Tantra. The philosophy’s premise is belief in the intrinsic goodness of all beings. Anusara classes are usually light-hearted and accessible to students of differing abilities. Poses are taught in a way that opens the heart, both physically and mentally, and props are often used.

This style of yoga emerged from one of New York’s best-known yoga studios. Jivamukti founders David Life and Sharon Gannon take inspiration from Ashtanga yoga and emphasise chanting, meditation, and spiritual teachings. They have trained many teachers who have brought this style of yoga to studios and gyms, predominantly in the U.S. These classes are physically intense and often include some chanting.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and gaining popularity around the U.S., Forrest Yoga is the method taught by Ana Forrest. The performance of vigorous asana sequences is intended to strengthen and purify the body and release pent-up emotions and pain so that healing can begin. Expect an intense workout with an emphasis on abdominal strengthening and deep breathing.

The name Kripalu is associated both with a style of hatha yoga and a yoga and wellness centre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Both were founded by yoga guru Amrit Desai, who came to the United States from India in 1960. Kripalu is a yoga practice with a compassionate approach and emphasis on meditation, physical healing and spiritual transformation that overflows into daily life. Kripalu also focuses on looking inward and moving at your own pace.

Integral yoga follows the teachings of Sri Swami Sachidananda, who came to the U.S. in the 1960s and eventually founded many Integral Yoga Institutes and the famed Yogaville Ashram in Virginia. Integral is a gentle hatha practice, and classes often also include breathing exercises, chanting, kriyas, and meditation.

Swami Vishnu-devananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda, founded the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in 1957. There are now close to 80 locations worldwide, including several ashram retreats. Sivananda yoga is based upon five principles:

1. Proper exercise (Asana, focusing on 12 poses in particular)
2. Proper breathing (Pranayama)
3. Proper relaxation (Savasana)
4. Proper diet (Vegetarian)
5. Positive thinking and meditation (Dhyana)

Siridatta is an International Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Teacher Trainer. Author of Open Your Heart with Kundalini Yoga and the Raw Food and Yoga BIBLE, Mini Size Me.

She can be connected with at jeshoua33@aol.com and her site is www.anaharta.com or through Raw Food www.minisizeme.co.uk

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Questions and Answers About Yoga
Aug 15th, 2011 by Aldouspi

Questions and Answers About Yoga

What is Yoga? Yoga is an ancient philosophy that came from India that promotes personal health, grown and wellness. It doesn't conflict with any religion but has impact on our spiritual path. Yoga is not just lying around relaxing, a religion, contortionism, staring at a candle and breathing incense, and not just for young people who are thin and supple. It does need concentration, focused breathing, and discipline. A greater union of mind, body, and spirit is the result of practicing Yoga and anyone regardless of age, experience, body type, or physical abilities can practice Yoga.

Hatha based or alignment Yoga has been around for over 5000 years and becomes increasingly popular with many medical practitioners and therapists as a treatment for a large variety of illnesses. The benefits of Yoga practice are many and include more flexibility and strength, cardiovascular health, helps in healing from injuries, creates mental clarity and focus, and creates emotional balance in your body.

More importantly, it's an all in one practice. There are many different types of exercise. There are various exercises for different health benefits. These exercise options can be ended when you start practicing Yoga.
1. Weight training for strength.
2. Jogging or aerobics for cardiovascular workout.
3. Tai Chi for developing a sense of balance and harmony.
4. Stretching exercises for flexibility.
5. Meditation for relaxation and peace of mind.

Yoga is more than stretching and relaxation techniques, it's the perfect challenge for your mind and body.

Who should practice Yoga? Anyone from the people who currently get no physical exercise at all to Olympic athletes can benefit from Yoga. Purna Yoga is a careful alignment of your body as you hold poses and leads to growth physically, emotionally, and mentally. Yoga does require work, determination, and practice. If you are looking for a quick fix or just temporary relief of surface symptoms, then you will probably want to look at another form of exercise. If your goal is to regain vitality, health, and vigor; and feel stronger and younger, consider Yoga as your exercise of choice. If you are looking for a form of exercise that is balanced and can be started by anyone over seven, Yoga may be for you. If you want a program that gets more challenging as you advance, can start no matter what condition your body is in, Yoga should be your choice.

You can start looking for a Yoga studio, but first you need to become familiar with the different types of Yoga, so you will know which one to ask about when you begin phoning studios. Remember there is several different types of Yoga and different styles have been developed over the years. You can choose your Yoga practice according to your fitness level, which are just for exercise and which is for the union of the physical with the spiritual.

Therefore, whatever your reason for looking into the practice of Yoga, be assured that you will benefit from the discipline, breathing techniques and the physical exercise you get in practicing Yoga.

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Yoga and Diabetes – How to Start
Apr 6th, 2011 by Aldouspi

Yoga and Diabetes - How to Start

yoga diabetes

You can get audio or video tapes that give breathing instruction and teach relaxation techniques at health food stores, bookstores, online and by mail order. It's probably fine to learn breath and relaxation from a tape or booklet, but don't try the yoga exercises without a skilled teacher. He or she can make corrections, caution you when necessary, and help you to adapt poses, if you need to.

It will be worth it to you to spend a little time finding an instructor who is right for you. Your diabetes nurse educator or other health care professional may be able to recommend a yoga instructor. Get referrals for a yoga instructor as you would for any professional you might wish to consult.

Yoga instructors aren't required to be certified, but many are, through many different programs. Ask prospective teachers, if they are certified. A certified teacher isn't necessarily better than someone who isn't certified, but it's something to consider.

Yoga is fun, healthy, and calming. It's a wise way handed down over several thousands of years. There is little danger in yoga, and even a little progress brings with it freedom and peace of mind.

Although most people with diabetes can exercise safely, exercise involves some risks. To shift the benefit-to-risk ratio in your favor, take these precautions:

Have a medical exam before you begin your exercise program, including an exercise test with EKG monitoring, especially if you have cardiovascular disease, you are over 35, you have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels, you smoke, or you have a family history of heart disease.

Discuss with your doctor any unusual symptoms that you experience during or after exercise such as discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw, or arms; nausea, dizziness, fainting, or excessive shortness of breath; or short-term changes in vision.

If you have diabetes-related complications, check with your healthcare team about special precautions. Consider exercising in a medically supervised program, at least initially, if you have peripheral vascular disease, retinopathy, autonomic neuropathy, or kidney problems.

Learn how to prevent and treat low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia). If you take oral agents or insulin, monitor your blood glucose levels before, during, and after exercise.

If you have type I, and your blood glucose is above 250 milligrams per deciliter, check your urine for ketones. Don't exercise, if ketones are present, because exercise will increase your risk of ketoacidosis and coma.

Always warm up and cool down.

Don't exercise outdoors when the weather is too hot and humid, or too cold.





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