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y o g a - s t y l e s

YOGA STYLES ---- The Eight Styles of Yoga.

THE WORD YOGA COMES FROM THE SANSKRIT FOR "UNION", AND ALL FORMS OF YOGA HAVE AS THEIR GOAL THE REALIZATION OF ONENESS WITH THE UNIVERSE AND "REUNION" WITH THE GODHEAD. Yoga is all about achieving Enlightenment. That said, there are a number of different forms of Yoga, which might surprise those who think of it as merely as a feminine stretching session -- a kind of wimpy alternative to hitting the weights in the gym. Welcome to this Uncloned World special presentation on Yoga, a spiritual discipline which evolved in India about 5000 years ago, and is becoming increasingly popular all over the world these days. From Port Douglas to the shores of the Black Sea, everybody is getting into Yoga -- and not just the chicks, the guys as well. Many people take up Yoga to improve their health or to help recover from some physical ailment, and in these areas, Yoga does certainly pack a hefty healing punch. However, Yoga does offer some rather tantalizing spiritual benefits as well, and in fact, in India it is known as a predominantly spiritual discipline.


YOGA AS WE KNOW IT IS AIMED AT UNITING THE MIND, BODY AND THE SOUL, WHICH IN THE WEST ARE OFTEN THOUGHT TO BE TOTALLY DISTINCT ENTITIES. Yogis (that is, the people who practice Yoga) view that the mind and the body are one, and that if both are given the right tools and allowed to rest in the right environment, both will find harmony and heal themselves. Yoga therefore is considered therapeutic. It helps you become more aware of your body's posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stress stricken environment. You will notice the difference within just a few weeks once you start stretching, and the first thing you will notice is, your body has become more flexible. For me at least, flexibility was the first benefit which came from Yoga.


THE TWO MAIN PHYSICAL COMPONENTS OF YOGA ARE THE POSTURE (ASANA) AND THE BREATH. A series of poses held over a period of time and synchronised with the breath exercises every part of the body. Some of the main benefits include:

Anxiety Reduction

Reducing stress is one of the biggest reasons many people try out yoga, especially in the hectic West. In my own personal experience, I believe yoga may be very effective in dealing with anxiety disorders. Yoga Basics says: "Besides the calming effects of a general yoga practice, restorative poses, inversions and forward bends are especially calming to the body and mind, helping to reduce and prevent excessive anxiety. The following poses are known to be especially calming: child, shavasana, crocodile, supine bound angle pose, seated forward bend, and seated head to knee. Simple inversions such as downward dog, standing forward fold, standing yoga mudra, shoulderstand, plow and supine staff pose create a temporary rise in blood pressure in the head which triggers the bodyfs natural calming mechanisms, dilating the blood vessels and lowering heart and breathing rates. If symptoms of fatigue, depression and heart palpitations are present, the qi or energy of the heart center may be weak, and heart opening poses such as Cobra, Pigeon, Fish, Boat, Bow and Bridge would both strengthen and calm the heart chakra..."


Performing Asanas on a regular basis is said to unleash kundalini energy, open the Third Eye, and lead practitioners to Enlightenment. Have you heard about the Yogis in India who can levitate and walk through walls and that kind of thing? It could happen to you, if you practiced hard enough.
Guru Rattana points out: "I practiced Hatha and then Kundalini yoga for many years before I realized that I must sit still and be with what was going on with my thoughts, body, and emotions in order to make conscious shifts especially in my mental and emotional states. The Buddhists call this attention mindfulness. The experience of being with our fears and resistance in our bodies is not comfortable. We have trained ourselves to avoid feeling uncomfortable at all costs. Unfortunately the price we pay is very high. We lose our power to what remains unconscious.
"We often think that we just have to do more yoga or more chanting and all our disfunctions will all go away. Our issues do not simply all disappear. Some do. And that is wonderful. But many require our conscious awareness, and choice, in order to be changed and transmuted. Kundalini yoga and meditation bring our issues into the light so we can choose to release them and move on.
"Beyond releasing negative patterns, resistances and thoughts, there are infinite possibilities of consciousness. The more we cultivate our awareness, the more we experience and the richer our lives become."

The Mind

Doing Yoga movements, which are by necessity hard and repetitive, ensure that the mind becomes strong and able to endure pain and unhappiness. Determination, concentration and memory are enhanced.

The Nerves

Yoga benefits the entire body, and massages not just the muscles as you would expect, but also the bones and internal organs! Even the nervous system, respiratory and circulatory systems, and the digestive systems get some benefit out of it! All are co-ordinated with each other. The body becomes more flexible, and more able to adjust to environmental changes. The sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems are brought into a state of balance.

The Heart

The cardiovascular system, which comprises the heart and arteries, is strengthened due to the rythymic nature of Yoga exercises. Studies show that regular yoga practise may help normalise blood pressure. Performing the stomach lift Asana raises the diaphragm, which massages the heart from below, and thus resulting in better circulation and less chance of heart disease.

Muscles and Bones and the Spine

Regarding the musculo-skeletal system, joints are moved through their full range of motion while performing the Asanas, which encourages mobility and eases pressure. It also results in the secretion of a lubricant called synovial fluid. This is released into the joints and keeps them supple, as well as removing waste products. Weight bearing Asanas may help prevent osteoporosis, and may also help those already diagnosed with this disease. Perhaps most importantly of all, Yoga postures also help maintain the flexibility of the spine. As we age the spine has a tendency to grow rigid. Regular Yoga practice stops this process, allowing you the master the ageing process.

The Glands

Yoga can benefit the endocrine glands, ductless glands which distribute hormones directly into the blood. They have a profound effect on many physical and mental activities of a human being. The thyroid gland (located in the throat) regulates metabolism -- the conversion of foods into energy. If this gland under-secretes (gives less hormone into the bloodstream), then a person may become very fat even without consuming much food. Likewise, an over-secretion of the same gland can make a person too thin even though he or she is consuming large amounts of food. The gland is directly manipulated by the Shoulder Stand Posture. The said posture when practiced squeezes great pressure on the thyroid gland. When the posture is released, the flow of blood rushing into the throat massages the gland and helps it to regulate the correct amount of secretion. This is just one example of how Yoga can help the glands.
Stretching of the skin during the Asanas causes stimulation of the skin cells. This results in firmer, healthier skin which won't sag or wrinkle. The headstand Asana causes an increase in circulation to the brain, which stimulates the brain's nerve cells. This results in increased vitality and improved brain function (intelligence and memory). Finally, Yoga Asanas regulate and control the secretion of hormones from all glands in the body. Even if one gland is malfunctioning, a noticeable loss of health can be experienced. Yoga will put you back on the right track, and keep you there!

Yoga for Migraines and Panic Attacks

For much of my life I have suffered from migraine headaches, and I always find stretching helps reduce the severity of these episodes. Recently (since October 2008) I have began having panic attacks, and I have a suspicion they are somehow linked to migraines. There is something about the way that both migraines and panic attacks leave me feeling once they are finished which suggests a link -- a certain stiffness in the body, a need to defecate. The ABC of Yoga writes: "Yoga Therapy for Migraine generally focuses on the prevention of the occurrence which includes stress reduction and avoidance of the various causes of the attacks. Yoga can also alleviate the headache pain by providing relief to sensory overload and relaxing your mind.
The following are the Yoga Poses that can help prevent Migraine attacks. You may also practice the Yoga Session for Tension-Type Headaches at the first sign of Migraine attack or during mild attacks. Remember that you should not practice Yoga during severe attacks.
Kapalabhati is a Breathing Technique used specifically for cleansing. If you have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is often helpful to breathe quickly. This article will introduce you to this breathing techniques and show you its its benefits.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
The Mountain Yoga Pose promotes the experience of stillness, strength, relaxed power, and immovable stability associated with mountains. This yoga posture, and coming back to this stillness after other poses, is one of the ways of becoming acquainted with stillness.
Hands to Feet (Pada Hastasana)
The Hands to Feet Pose or Pada Hastasana gives many of the same benefits as the Forward Bend - trimming the waist, restoring elasticity to the spine, and stretching the ligaments of the legs, especially the hamstrings. Learn how to do the Hands to Feet Pose in this section.
"Crescent Moon Pose
"The Crescent Moon Pose stretches and strengthens the arms and legs, increases stamina, improves balance and concentration, and can also relieve backaches. If you are suffering from diarrhea, high blood pressure or neck problems, you should take extra caution practicing this pose.
"Stand Spread Leg Forward Fold
"Practicing the Standing Spread Leg Forward Fold can strengthen and stretch your inner and back legs and your spine. People with lower back problems should avoid doing the full forward bend. For beginners, you may use props like a folding chair to support your forearms.
"Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
"In Hindu art, the triangle is a potent symbol for the divine principle, and it is frequently found in the yantras and mandalas used for meditation. The Trikonasana or Triangle Pose concludes the Yoga Postures in our basic session.
Standing Side Stretch Pose The Standing Side Stretch is another Yoga Pose with two lines of energy radiating outward from your center. This is a simple Yoga Posture with a wonderful stretch in which one line of energy reaches upward from your belly and outward through the arm, and one line travels downward through the legs. Tree Pose (Tadasana) The Tree Pose helps strengthen your thighs, calves, ankles and back. It can also increase the flexibility of your hips and groin. Your balance and concentration can also be improved with constant practice. This Yoga Pose is recommended for people who have sciatica and flat feet. Lotus Yoga Pose (Padmasana) The Lotus Yoga Pose is usually done in Meditation. It is a classic seated posture which strengthens your ankles and knees, enhances concentration, and improves flexibility of your legs. Know how to perform the Lotus Pose in this section. Single Leg Raises This Yoga Pose is performed in order to prepare the body for other exercises. It benefits the legs, lower back muscles, and abdominal area. In practicing the Single Leg Raise, one leg is raised while the other one stays on the floor. Double Leg Raises A Double Leg Raise is similar to a Single Leg Raise, only this time, you will raise both legs. In doing this Yoga Pose, make sure that the full length of your back is resting on the floor and your shoulders and neck are relaxed. This section covers the steps and guidelines on how to do this pose properly. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) This Yoga Pose improves spinal flexibility and strengthens the muscles in the arms and back. In addition, it is effective in relieving menstrual irregularities and constipation. Learn how to perform the Cobra Pose in this section. Child Pose The Child Pose is a gentle way of stretching your shoulders, hips, thighs, ankles, and back muscles. It is a relaxation posture which is done to normalize the ciruclation after performing the Headstand and to serve as counterpose after Backbends. Leg Reclining Lunge (Single and Double) The Leg Reclining Lunge is part of the series of Yoga Exercises which target the leg muscles. When done properly, this Yoga Pose can strengthen and tone all muscles in your legs. Learn how to perform the Single and Double Leg Reclining Lunge. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimothanasana) Relax your body and mind, stretch your hamstrings, shoulders, and spine, relieve stress, and improve your posture and concentration by practicing the Seated Forward Bend. Learn how to do this properly and achieve maximum results. Sage Twist Yoga Pose (Marichyasana) Also called Marichi's Yoga Pose, the Sage Twist Pose benefits the abdominal organs and spine. Avoid doing this pose if you have chronic spine or back injury. Also, perform this only under the supervision of a Yoga instructor. Learn how to do the Sage Twist in this section. Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana) The term Pavanamuktasana comes from the Sanskrit word 'pavana' which means air or wind and 'mukta' which means freedom or release. The Wind Relieving Pose works mainly on the digestive system. specifically, it helps in eliminating excess gas in the stomach. Yoga Exercise - Final Corpse For you to appreciate the benefits of relaxation, you should first be familiar on how it is to be tense. This is what happens when you do the Final Corpse. Everything related to that position including suggestions on how to do it is discussed in further detail in this article. Relaxation Pose There are three parts to proper relaxation - physical, mental and spiritual relaxation. Relaxation Yoga Pose relaxes your body and mind, and makes you feel refreshed after doing the asanas and the pranayamas.This is why it is an essential part of Yoga practice. Anuloma Viloma Anuloma Viloma is also called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. In this Breathing Technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath, and exhale through the other nostril. Learn how to do this technique for beginners by following the steps found in this article.
Contact the author Rob Sullivan at Anticopyright February 2005.

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