Yoga has been accepted widely as an essential part of the modern lifestyle. Though Yoga has its origin in India, the yoga trend has caught a wave in western part of the world as well! The health conscious people engage in one or other forms of workout, but yoga is more than an exercise. Yoga is a way of life. A good thing about yoga is that it is very accommodating. Yoga has something to offer for everyone.
The complex poses and intense breathing is just the superficial aspects of yoga and one needs to explore the deeper layers to embrace the true essence of yoga. Yoga is an ultimate tool for improving the human capabilities at the highest peak of mind and body. While we all are aware of the wide array of benefits yoga offers, not many people are aware of the fact that yoga is classified into 9 categories.
Hatha means force and it includes physical aspects of the yoga practice. All the other sub groups of yoga fall under the Hatha category. A typical Hatha yoga class has a slow pace and no specific flow. It is considered the best type of yoga for beginners as it gently introduces you to the yoga.
The Hatha yoga class is about the basics and works as a good unwind. It teaches you breathing, meditating, and relaxing techniques.
The word Vinyasa means connection. The Vinyasa yoga needs you to coordinate the breath with movement. It emphasizes on making a flow of postures that transits smoothly from one to the next. The Surya Namaskar, balancing poses, backbends and seated poses are the best forms of Vinyasa yoga. The Vinyasa yoga ends with savasana. The Vinyasa class doesn’t have a specific structure and the session depends on teacher’s creativity. Some tutors include meditation and chanting as well. The vinyasa yoga can be slow and gentle or intense and fast, depends on your capability but, as a beginner, a slow class is the best.
The Iyengar yoga is all about the alignment. The Iyengar class doesn’t have a flow but each pose is intense and requires you to hold the pose for a long time. Unlike the other forms of yoga, the Iyengar yoga needs props such as blankets, blocks, straps, and props. For people who wish to dive into the deeper layers of yoga and intense poses, Iyengar yoga should be your pick! The Iyengar yoga has room for people with injuries and chronic issues. It accommodates every limitation and makes a person flexible, strong, and stable.
The Bikram yoga is literally ‘Hot yoga’ which makes you sweat a lot. Usually, the Bikram yoga is performed in a room which with 40 degree centigrade temperature with 40% humidity. The idea behind Bikram yoga is to sweat. It has its origin from Vinyasa yoga so the poses will require you to coordinate the asanas with your breath. Bikram yoga was found by Bikram Choudhary who came up with 26 yoga postures to be performed in a sequence which will challenge every vein, ligament, and muscle of the body.
Ashtanga yoga, more popularly known as power yoga is the contemporary version of the good old traditional yoga. The Ashtanga yoga was initiated by K. Pattabhi Jois which interlinks breath with movement, just that the movements are defined. Starting with the primary series you graduate to next level, progressing gently. It might take years to advance but the focus is on postures, not progression.
The Jivamukti yoga is different than other forms as it is not mere practice but a way of life! The Jivamukti yoga consists of physical, ethical, and spiritual aspects.
Initiated by Sharon Gannon and David life, Jivamukti yoga also includes being mindful of the environment which means you need to be kind to animals and become vegan. The 5 significant aspects of Jivamukti yoga are Shastra, Bhakti, Ahimsa, Nada, and Dhyana. A typical session would begin with setting an intention, followed by the chanting and breathing awareness. It also includes Vinyasa movements. The session ends with meditation and relaxing.
The kundalini yoga has its root in the Chakras and it focuses on the core work and pranayama. The main aim of kundalini yoga is to awaken your mind and make you aware of your body and mind. Kundalini is the spiritual type of yoga and a major part of kundalini consists of meditation. Chanting, mudras, and meditation lay the foundation of Kundalini yoga.
The Anusara yoga is quite upbeat and aims at upliftment of the person. It is the most spiritual form of yoga which is epitomized by ‘celebration of the heart’. Relatively a new type of yoga, it was initiated in 1997 by John Friend. It emphasizes on soul searching and seeking the light within. The form of yoga uses alignment and breathing along with several props.
It is one of the slow paced yoga wherein you need to hold each pose for about 5 minutes. It puts stress on the connective tissues in body which helps in improving the flexibility and blood circulation. It is said to improve the life energy. It is practiced in a heated room which expands the muscles and makes them elastic. It challenges your mind, makes you quite patient and offers an incredibly relaxing effect.
Whenever you step inside a yoga class, the first thing you do is taking your shoes and socks off before hitting the mat. This is the way yoga teacher training in India is practiced by people across the world and that’s how it was practiced by yogis thousands of years ago. There are several reasons and significance of performing yoga barefoot. Unlike the other forms of exercises or workouts such as running, skipping, jogging or cardio that are performed with shoes on, most of the yoga instructors recommend doing yoga completely barefoot. Barefoot yoga is not just a tradition or relevant yoga dharma but has many advantages associated to it.
Here’s a look at some of the advantages:
Balance and stability
Feet are the crucial part of our body involved while performing any yoga asana. Most of the asanas require us to hold our feet firmly in contact with the ground. It helps in maintaining steadiness and balance of the body while practicing yoga. Absence of required grip can lead to injuries. Shoes not only confine the movement of our feet but also interfere with the correct alignment of the feet. Correct alignment is essential to get the pose right. Improper alignment will result in the wrong posture of body which can cause external or internal injury.
Flow of energy
Yoga is not just about mastering the poses, but an amalgamation of body, soul and, mind with the universe and earth. We often hear about people feeling energized as they remain barefoot for many hours in a day. They feel energized as they absorb the energy from earth. This is one of the significant reasons why yoga leaves us energized while other forms of exercise/ workout leave us exhausted. It becomes a lot easier to balance with barefoot. Also, some yoga asanas require you to grab the toe which is possible only if you are barefoot.
Treats several diseases
The benefits of doing yoga barefoot not just confines to our feet, but also impacts our overall health. It has been observed that barefoot yoga helps in relieving muscle pain, curing insomnia, boosts metabolism, reduces headache and makes your immune system strong. It also helps women with PMS and other menstrual issues. Connecting with earth not only energizes the body but also offers a calming effect.
Barefoot yoga also helps people with knee issues and injuries. Most of the leg issues especially the knee ones happen due to excessive pressure on legs which make it important to strengthen the feet. Barefoot yoga helps with knee issues since the pressure begins from the feet and then elevates to the knees. Varicose veins can also be treated with barefoot yoga.
Strengthening the feet
Doing barefoot yoga not only increases the strength of our feet but also improves the efficiency and movement of feet, legs, and knees. Shoes restrict free movement of the feet preventing them from expanding, stretching, and flexing. The cushioning effect offered by shoes restricts the stability, flexibility, and mobility. Wearing shoes all the time can lead to weaker feet. The feet consist of a wide network of acupuncture points and nerve endings. Barefoot yoga connects various parts, nerve endings and points with the floor.
Massages your feet
When you feel the surface of earth bare feet, the nerve endings in the sole of your feet get stimulates. The nerve endings further send signals to your brain and enable the body to maintain joint position and proper balance. Being barefoot is also said to reduce the inflammation felt in sole. It also provides free reflexology and toe stretching.
Our earth’s surface consists of free electrons. When our bare feet come in contact with earth, they absorb the electrons which react with the free radicals in our body. As a result, the free radicals present in our body are pacified which calms the fire storm in our body. Several studies prove that the electron flow in the body detoxifies our blood.
Considering the amazing benefits of barefoot yoga, no wonder you are planning to hit the yoga mat immediately. However, if you are looking for a more disciplined and in-depth approach to yoga, the yoga teacher training at Dharamsala at Chinmay Yoga is the place for you!
There comes a time in life when we get bogged down by the external life so much that we almost lose a touch with our inner life. Professional commitments, family issues, relationship problems and other distractions keep us busy and we hardly get any time to work on the relationship with self. The external life overshadows our inner life and it simply fades from the view.
It is essential to activate our internal life especially during times when certain loss or tragedy strikes the external life. Activating the inner life is the key to reconnect with our personal values and live in sync with them.
What does activating inner life mean?
Escalating your inner world through ‘internal activism’ helps in experiencing your life, self, and relationships more creatively. To live an internally active life you need to pay attention to yourself. This should not just confine to your activities but also how you behave in day-to-day life and participate in the relationships around you. Paying attention to inner life does not mean the exclusion of external aspects. But during tough times it’s difficult to connect passively with your inner self.
You don’t need a secluded serene destination or a retreat to connect with self; it can be done right where you are through Kriya yoga. Kriya yoga is all about awareness and self-care. It consists of three components namely svadhyaya i.e. self-study, tapas i.e. efforts, and ishvara pranidhana i.e. love. Walking the path of kriya yoga is about exploring the mechanics of life-making.
What is Kriya?
Kriya signifies internal action which does not involve the mind and body because both of them are external. To master the art of doing actions with your energy is kriya. On the other hand, the external activity is known as Karma. There is a thin line of difference as both of them are karma or kriya in a way. However, if we take the traditional approach, karma is the one which binds you while kriya is the one which releases you.
Our mind and emotions have the tendency to wander or shift frequently and you can’t rely on them. But our energies are different. When our actions are in sync with our energy, it offers depth to life. You discover a new dimension in every aspect of life since your energies have been activated.
Kriya yoga is a potent source to explore your spiritual path but it can be demanding in terms of discipline and exactness is requires. It is easy to read a book and learn about kriya but if you want to be a live testimony of the process, dedication is a must. This might be little difficult considering how hectic our daily life is. But you can try simple ways to remain in touch with your inner self.
Spending 10-15 minutes of your day in meditation can be an effective way of connecting with inner life. Keep everything aside and breathe. Take a walk alone without your gadgets or stay in bed for extra five minutes. Pay attention to how you feel and what kind of thoughts emerge in your mind. Just like any other form of yoga, kriya yoga too needs practice.
It’s amazing to see how well Yoga has become a part and parcel of our lives. The goodness of Yoga has touched and transformed many lives. It has resulted into so many ardent followers of Yoga who can vouch for the wonders it does! Yoga is an Art, it is vast and deep. The more you explore, the more it keeps amusing you. There is so much more to Yoga than what meets our eyes. Most of us have imbibed Yoga in one or other way into our lives, be it practicing simple asanas, or meditating during stressful times.
A new trend in the field of Yoga is catching the wave. The idea of ‘Yoga Teacher’s Training’ fascinates many. For the uninitiated, it is a certified training course that makes you eligible to become a professional Yoga trainer by the end of the 200/300 hour course. You can find innumerable blogs and information about the Yoga Teacher’s Training in India and why one should pursue it. It all seems quite fascinating and so many people enroll themselves without giving a second that only to end up being lost in the journey.
What most people fail to realize is that Yoga is far away from other forms of workout. Yoga is not just working on your body; it involves mental and spiritual aspects as well. It’s a journey which transforms you as an individual. It changes the way you think and perceive, it’s about exploring your real self, connecting with your inner self and establishing equilibrium for healthy and peaceful life.
Also mastering the Art of Yoga and imparting that knowledge to others is two different aspects. If you are planning to make a career as Yoga Tutor, you need to introspect and answer few questions. The first question is whether you are ready to ‘learn’ how to teach yoga to others? And does that come naturally to you?
These qualities will help in deciding if you have what it takes to be a Yoga Tutor.
You should be a student of Yoga in all the aspects of your life and not just on the Yoga mat. In simple words, it is mandatory to follow or adapt the teaching/ goodness of yoga in every field of life be it personal or professional life. It reflects what your take away from Yoga is. If Yoga doesn’t change your outlook towards life and various situations, there’s still some time before you go towards the teaching aspect.
A good Teacher is humble enough to admit their shortcomings and accept if they don’t know about something. They need to have an open mind to learn new things that come across their way even in day-to-day life.
Another trait of a Yoga teacher is to have the basic understanding or realization of their own energy. They should be sensitive towards others limits without pushing them against their will. Motivating and pressurizing are completely different and a tutor needs to understand the same.
In order to become a Yoga Tutor, you should have a daily practice of Yoga even if it is for few minutes.
A good Yoga Tutor will always strive to keep up a sharp mind, soft Heart and vibrant body.
A Yoga tutor needs to have a healthy balance between his/her Heat and mind. You need to have emotional stability on some level along with being psychologically minded.
It is important to indulge in a spiritual activity even if it is as simple as appreciating nature, art or something beautiful around you.
If your answer to all or most of the above questions is yes, then you are heading towards the right path. It is also important to pick the right Institute for training and certification.
Jobs these days’ are quite demanding. Spending 8-9 hours a day to fulfill the professional commitments is a common scenario. The nature of jobs most of us have makes us sit all day long! Thanks to computerization everything is just a click away. However, desk jobs have a negative impact on our bodies. Bad posture, fatigue, indigestion and frozen shoulder along with back pain are one of the common issues that come with a sedentary lifestyle. No matter how energetic you feel in the morning, you start slouching by the end of the day. However, investing few minutes a day in some light exercise such as yoga can help in fighting the damages caused by desk jobs.
Yoga evokes an opposite reaction thereby restoring normal function of the body. Here’s a look at how yoga postures will help you:
It offers stretching of arms, legs, chest, spine and knees
Enhance blood supply of brain
Toning of abdominal organs
Opening the calves, hips and hamstrings
It reduces back pain, stress and anxiety
Treats frozen shoulder
These basic Yoga poses will prove to be helpful in eliminating damages of desk job:
Mountain Pose- Tadasana
If you are a beginner, Tadasana is the best pose to begin your endeavor with Yoga. Mountain pose is the base of all the advanced yoga asanas and includes working of all major muscle groups.
Advantage- Mountain pose helps in improving your concentration, confidence and mental stability. It also improves the posture and your ability to focus. The asana also offers relaxation to body and relief from back pain.
Caution- People with any kind of recent or chronic injury in shoulders should refrain from the asana.
Forward Bend- Uttanasana
The uttanasana is also considered as easiest and best pose for the beginners. It is also known as standing forward bend which begins with mountain pose.
Advantage- Forward bend not only helps in lengthening the hamstrings and spinal cord but also offers an overall stretch to the body. It helps in relieving stress from muscles and vertebrae.
Caution- People with back issues or knee injury should keep away from the asana.
Seated forward bend- Paschimottanasana
The seated forward bend is useful in stretching the shoulders, hamstrings and spine.
Advantage- The seated forward bend is said to be effective in relieving stress and calming the symptoms of anxiety and mild depression. It also keeps headache at bay. Additionally, the pose can also help people who are aiming at losing some weight as it reduces belly fat.
Caution- People suffering from diarrhoea or asthma should avoid practising the pose or perform under expert supervision.
Tree asana- Vriksasana
If you want to stretch almost all joints and muscles in your body, the Tree asana is the best pose for you.
Advantage- The balancing pose will help in lengthening and stretching of the spine, resurrect the posture, improve the leg balance as well as help in strengthening calves, thighs, ankles, and spine. The pose also improves the ability to focus, concentrate and co-ordinate.
Caution- Those with issues such as insomnia, headache or low blood pressure should not practise the asana and people suffering from high blood pressure should refrain from raising the arms overhead.
Triangle pose- Trikonasana
Triangle pose is also a beginners pose which engages the entire body.
Advantage- It offers a good stretch to legs and help in strengthening the core. Trikonasana also opens the shoulders and hips. The asana stimulates our abdominal organs and improves digestion. It is also helpful in relieving the symptoms of menopause.
Caution- People with injuries in their back, shoulder, and hips should not practise the Triangle pose. People suffering from low blood pressure and diarrhoea should also keep away from the pose.
Cobra pose- Bhujangasana
The Cobra is also one of the asanas which help in strengthening majority of the muscles in our body.
Advantage- It strengthens the spine, tones the buttocks, stretches the chest and lungs and stimulates abdominal organs. It also opens up lungs and heart thus beneficial in treating asthma.
Caution- It is not advisable for pregnant women to practise the cobra pose. People suffering from back injury and carpel tunnel syndrome should also keep away for the pose.
Apart from these basic yoga poses if you are keen on learning advanced techniques of yoga, 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Course in Yoga Teacher Training in India is the perfect destination for you. It offers a certified training course for 200 hours which takes you through the nuances of Yoga techniques. If you have a penchant for Yoga, the training course will prove to be a memorable experience for you!