What is Yoga?
Yoga, which means discipline, was developed in the year 300 by an Indian Hindu named Patanjali. Its purpose is to stretch the muscles, strengthen the body and increase concentration. This in turns help you to relax yourself. Constant practice will aid you to relax even if you have trouble doing so in the beginning. It is no surprise that this ancient discipline is popular among entertainers and athletes. Yoga can be a set of exercises. For those who are more spiritual, this is a way of life. Yogis (people who practices Yoga) tried to reach a high level of consciousness and they respect abstentions (things not to do), such as not lying, stealing, being greedy or harming other people. They also practice certain observances (things to do), such as being clean, content, self-controlled, studious and devoted.
Physical control is also important in yoga. Yogis train themselves to take full, deep breaths. They consider breathing a life force, counting a lifespan not in years but in the number of breaths taken. Unlike exercises that work only on strength, yoga also helps the body become flexible. As a result, some yoga exercises (asanas) look a little strange. They are not difficult; the key is to stay relax and allow your body to be in total relaxation. You don’t and should never force yourself into the stretches, but to slowly ease into them step by step. Yoga poses demands much concentration, this is so to build up the balance of each poses. Learning to master the art of concentration allows one to be focus in all things they do.
Many yoga poses can be traced to the shapes of creatures, such as the cobra, cat, dog, tortoise, crab and eagle. In the cobra pose, for example, you ask yourself, what would it feel like to be a cobra. You lie on your stomach with your forehead to the floor. As you inhale, you slowly roll your head back, supporting yourself with your hands. You hold that pose, then come down slowly, trying to move as a snake would move.
All yoga exercises promote strength and calmness. Each move’s effects on a muscle, a gland or a nerve center are carefully thought out. You can choose certain exercises to rid yourself of particular pains, such as back pain from backpacking or leg pain from jogging. Yoga can help condition you for skiing or help you control feelings of depression or fear. Any good book on yoga will describe various asanas and tell how each works. You may even have done yoga exercises already. Ever done a handstand, or the wheel. Many exercise programs borrow from yoga.