What is yoga? How many forms are there? Today there are many forms but the number of original forms was five. Yoga was popularized by the followers of the Beatles in the mid 60s. The Beatles had gone to India and were practicing yoga and studying Eastern ways.
The five original forms are Hatha, Bhakti, Karma, Jnana and Raja.
Hatha yoga is still practiced today. The main aim of Hatha is using physical postures (asanas) and breathing to stimulate and awaken the Chakras. There are seven Chakras and they are sometimes referred to as the physic centres. The practice of any form was the union of body, mind and spirit.
Bhakti yoga is similar to Hatha in that the end goal is the union of the body with that of a higher state of mind. This is a unity of the conscious mind and the heart. It is a “devotional” yoga where the person practicing this form, experiences a nearness to the Divine.
Karma yoga is a “system” developed by the Yogis to show that any good a person can do each day is due to our inner Being and do not get it confused with ego. The word “karma” means action. The action is going about one’s daily activities. In Karma yoga every act we do, is a dedication to the Inner Being.
Jnana yoga stimulates the philosophical and intellectual curiosity of its followers. Again, this is a spiritual form of yoga. Yoga creates an inner peace for all who practice it.
Raja yoga is a science of meditation. It is an exploration of consciousness. This form appeals to those who wish to develop their physic abilities.
When practicing yoga or meditation, always wear comfortable clothes. Always practice with enthusiasm to discover your true potential. As you know when yoga was introduced to the west, a lot of the true meaning was lost but there are still asanas in all forms of yoga. Practicing yoga can help reduce stress levels and bring other physical benefits.
What are the benefits of yoga?
If the only exercise you get is doing some house work – then I would suggest that you do not start with the lofty ambition of running the next marathon. However, what I would suggest is that you find a yoga class and join and try and do a minimum of one lesson a week. What benefits will you gain? When you practice yoga on a regular basis you will find that you will totally change your life.
One of the major benefits is to increase the body’s flexibility. This flexibility is gained through various positions that exercise all the joints of the body. Through the stretches and poses we can increase the flexibility rather easily.
Yoga allows us to massage all of our internal organs thus improves our overall general health and well being.
The practice of yoga also manages to increase our blood supply to various parts of the body. This is all achieved through the gentle stretching of all parts of the body. Through increasing the blood supply and massaging the organs, we will help eliminate toxins from our body. This gives us the additional benefits of delaying our aging process and an increase in our energy levels.
With all forms of yoga, one important aspect is the meditation.
The regular practice of yoga will help you learn more about yourself and you will find a calmness and inner peace. You can practice yoga at home as there are several books and countless DVDs. If you are only a beginner, I would suggest that you practice with a teacher. If you practice with a teacher, you will be shown the correct techniques.