Friday, April 29, 2011

Yoga Basics

Yoga is a lifestyle and philosophy that combines body, mind, and spiritual elements. It often involves a physical practice and meditation. Proper breathing and maintaining the correct posture are two of the basic elements of yoga. It’s important to be aware of your breath and your posture because something as simple as sitting straight in our chairs can help us be more alert and productive.

In yoga terminology, the word vinyasa means movement that is coordinated by the breath. The practice of controlled breathing, called pranayama, is believed to increase oxygen flow to the body and improve one’s overall sense of well-being. Making the connection between breath and movement is key to creating the consciousness through meditation that many yoga devotees aspire to. Although meditation can be challenging and requires a level of concentration that many of us have difficulty mastering, diligent practice will make it easier to master over time.

Yoga also offers many physical benefits. When practiced consistently, yoga helps your body grow stronger and more flexible. While yoga likely won’t build big muscles, it will help build overall muscle tone and improve posture. If you don’t already practice yoga, start your practice by attending a live yoga class or using an exercise DVD so that someone with more experience can guide you through the poses initially. Size and fitness level typically don’t matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose. Also, don’t be confused by the many styles of yoga that you may read or hear about. All forms of yoga are based on one basic type of yoga despite the many names you will encounter.

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