A brief history:
Yoga is a mind and body practice that originated in South East Asia, possibly around the time of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Yogis and yoginis alike passed down and taught their practices over the next five millennia and as a result, many different schools of yoga were developed as it increased in popularity.
The Yoga Sutra is the earliest written record of yoga and also one of the oldest texts in existence! It provides the framework for all modern day yoga through the teachings on yogic philosophy by the Indian sage, Patanjali. Basically, it’s a guidebook on how to master the mind, control emotions and grow spiritually. I’m definitely going to check this out at some point!
Fitness was never the primary goal of yoga, instead yogic traditions were about exploring your spiritual energy through and improving mental fortitude through breathing techniques and mental focus. Today’s western yoga has a slightly different outlook and rather focuses on fitness related goals with a secondary focus on spiritual well-being.
A mini philosophy:
Traditional yoga has 6 different branches with each branch representing a different focus through a specific set of characteristics. Often this is shown as a tree. Most people approach yoga with a specific goal in mind and this will determine which branch they should follow.
Modern day yoga has a range of styles and types to suit everybody. It focuses on exercise, flexibility, strength and breathing. This in turn can boost mood and improve mental and physical well-being. There is no style of modern day yoga that is superior or more ‘authentic’. To get the most out of your yoga session however, you must make sure you choose a class that is appropriate for your fitness level. Compared with the 6 difference branches of traditional yoga; there are 13 types of modern day yoga. Here is a list below:
1. Ashtanga yoga
2. Bikram yoga
3. Hatha yoga
4. Iyengar yoga
5. Jivamukti yoga
6. Kripalu yoga
7. Kundalini yoga
8. Power yoga
12. Prenatal yoga
13. Restorative yoga
We’ve definitely heard this word before. Perhaps even been told that our chakras are blocked. Chakras are a complex Ancient Indian energy system based on the principle that there are points of energy all over our body that are supposed to be open and aligned with one another. Chakras (Sanskrit for ‘wheels’) correspond to nerve bundles, our organs and other things and it is thought that when they are blocked or misaligned, our emotional, spiritual and physical well-being is affected. There are 7 main chakras that run along are spine but way more smaller chakras all over our bodies.
Yoga is one of the many ways to help realign and keep balance of our chakras.
Yoga is pivotal to my lifestyle and over the years it has given me a heightened awareness as to how I feel. I’ve noticed this has extended far beyond the mat and carries over into meal time and encourages me to eat what my body needs through mindful eating. I feel I am much more focused on what exactly it is I want out of situations and distractions are now just background noise (most of the time, not always). Yoga is a great stress buster for me and not only do I feel at peace when I’m practicing, it has helped me feel calm in situations that previously would have provoked me. From a physical point of view: it has improved my flexibility, range of motion and core strength- I still have the mountain to climb though but I got time!
Habits take 28 days to form. I am now in the habit of incorporating yoga into my every day life and I hope it will be the habit of a lifetime.
If you do yoga, I’d love to hear what type and what vinyasas work best for you!
Peace to the planet and peace to your pockets.
Love always, The Humble Avocado x x