Happy International Yoga Day!

24 June 2020
Photo: CC member Adri in a Yoga Position

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice of ancient tradition, which originated in India. The word "yoga" comes from Sanskrit and means union. Yoga is commonly defined as a system that is used to balance the body, mind, and spirit. It is an ancient science that has evolved, but that has the general objective of finding well-being, health, fulfillment and reaching enlightenment ("Samadhi"). If you are new to yoga, you may link it to some rather strange and seemingly difficult postures. But yoga is neither difficult nor boring - although it requires effort and perseverance - and much less does it come down to exercises, in which you double as a pretzel.

In the text "The Yoga Sutras", considered a central part of yogic literature, Patanjali (3rd century BC) describes eight steps related to yoga: this set was also called Ashtanga Yoga and served as the basis for the series of asanas that constitute the Ashtanga Yoga of today. The eight steps are: the yamas (moral restraints, such as non-violence, truth of word, act and thought, not stealing, moderation and non-possessiveness) niyamas (purity, contentment, austerity, study of sacred texts, and the permanent awareness of divinity), asanas (postures), pranayama (proper breathing), pratyahara (the recollection of the senses), dharana (concentration for meditation), dyana (meditation and contemplation) and samadhi (supraconsciousness).

Asanas or postures are the basis of Hatha Yoga, which must be comfortable and stable, so a posture is conquered when it is reached without difficulty, accompanied by nasal breathing, conscious and when they are easy to maintain. The postures have a medicinal purpose, since they heal and keep the internal organs and metabolism in optimal functioning. In addition, they strengthen the body, make it slimmer, more flexible and healthier. They are a way of working the physical body to reach the mind and spirit.

Today, various forms of yoga are practiced and their success and the number of followers is increasing worldwide. In recognition of its universal popularity, on December 11, 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as International Yoga Day. Yoga is more than a physical activity. In the words of one of the most famous practitioners, B. K. S. Iyengar, "Yoga cultivates ways to maintain a balanced attitude in everyday life and empowerment in carrying out one's actions."

According to my own experience (I have been a yogini for more than ten years, an apprentice and instructor) the goal of practicing yoga is to achieve serenity in our mind and body. The development of a yoga class for me depends on the common thread defined for each session. I usually prepare my class in advance and depending on the subject to work I choose the sequences of asanas that will be practiced. I start the first 10 minutes of class time with breathing exercises, warming up and adjusting our minds to the present moment. The next 20 minutes or so focuses on dynamic sequences (vinyasa). Next, we practice balancing postures, sitting postures, twists and final stretches to reach the most important posture of the practice: the posture of Savasana or posture of the corpse in which all the previous asanas are summarized in the calm transformation of our mind and our body, without any movement, for approximately 10 minutes thus allowing us to fix all the benefits of our practice.

Yoga is appropriate for everyone, no matter what age or fitness. It is independent of the beliefs of each one, because it is not a dogma or a religion, although it has common elements with some religious traditions. It could be said then that "it is a psychological, philosophical and scientific system". Yoga helps us to focus, to strengthen the capacity for enjoyment and will power, to regulate metabolic processes, to increase agility and elasticity, to detoxify the body, to revitalize each organ, to always be young. Health is in our hands, as well as happiness, joy and spiritual growth.

It is important to remember that "yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory" -Pattabhi Jois.

I invite you to follow me on @shantiprana, or visit https://shantiprana.negocio.site/ where I share tips and yoga routines for beginners, intermediate, advanced and multilevel.


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Photo: Adriana Yoga Brand
Photo: Adriana in a Yoga Position
Photo: Adriana in a Yoga Position
Photo: Adriana in a Yoga Position
Photo: Adriana in a Yoga Position
Photo: Adriana in a Yoga Position