Benefits of Yoga Postures - Triangle Pose

The Triangle pose or Trikonasana is admired for its several benefits. A number of elements are put together in this position to bring about physical, mental and healing changes. This asana improves the shape of your leg muscles, spinal nerves and abdominal organs; strengthens your lower back permanently; and fully stretches and extends the whole body. It promotes three important aspects of Hatha yoga:

  • Strength- sturdiness of the legs and feet is established
  • Stability- firmness of the limbs and torso is created
  • Balance- equilibrium of the body and mind is developed
For beginners it is advisable to progress a little at a time; while adopting basic triangle posture, you should take a short step. This will prevent you from exerting strain on your legs, knees and lower back. Once flexibility of the limbs is improved, then you can easily increase your stride. As you stretch out your arms, torso and legs, during the exercise, you feel as if your limbs and torso are elongating and a rush of energy surges through them. Once you have adopted the pose, breathe deeply and experience the exhilarating sensation of:


  • Opening of your chest, lungs and heart
  • Reassuring steadiness in your limbs
  • Conscious equilibrium (sama) of the mind and body
Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) and Twisted Triangle Pose (Thirikonasana)

Benefits of Yoga Postures - Triangle Pose

Once you have perfected the basic pose, you are ready for Extended Triangle and Twisted Triangle postures and enjoy the unlimited benefits they offer. There are multiple therapeutic rewards and advantages for the body and the mind. The curative aspects of the posture include reduction of pain of the back, relaxation caused by neck sprains. Triangle posture benefits those who suffer from shortening of a leg due to a fractured hipbone or bone of the leg; it elongates the affected leg and corrects any other slight abnormality in the legs. Abnormality in the arms and displacement of spinal discs can also be fixed with this asana.

You will also experience some positive bodily changes through this exercise. Your legs, hips and spine will become more elastic and strong.It will render good shape to your spinal nerves and abdominal organs. Your chest muscles will broaden and the cavity within will expand. Your breathing will be regulated and powerful. Your body will feel light. Circulation of blood in the abdominal area will revitalize; appetite will become better and performance of the digestive system will enhance, relieving the body of constipation.

Benefits of Triangle pose for the brain are many. This posture frees the mind of worry and fret and enables it to focus attention to the desired object. It develops positive thinking and reduces constant anxiety over one's health. The position kindles and directs the rush of life force (pranic) towards the spleen, liver, large intestine, gall bladder, small intestine and core of the heart. It further controls the flow of energy and prepares the body for meditation. Holistically, Triangle posture shapes and purifies the body of all impairments and impurities and tunes the mind towards awareness of self; when this happens, the prime benefit of yoga, unification with the divine, is gained

Benefits of Yoga Postures - Triangle Pose

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YOGABODY Naturals LLC is a yoga educational and nutritional supplement company aimed specifically at students of yoga asana. Founded by Lucas Rockwood in 2007, the YOGABODY community now includes over 10,000 students and teachers worldwide.

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Bikram Yoga - Is it Dangerous Or Not?

Well, you might have a slight doubt if doing Yoga can harm your body. You might ask if it is really dangerous. A lot of people have different opinions about this issue. Apparently, Yoga fanatics will definitely take no for an answer. But, there are other individuals who started to feel back aches and other muscle cramps.

Medical experts and physical therapists have also their side on this. According to them, since this activity is done in a heated room there can be some side effects to the human body. As we all know, heat increases the flexibility of the muscles, but stretching the muscles should only fall between the normal percentage of its resting length. Beyond that, it is already considered unhealthy, it can damage the muscles.


It was found that excessive eagerness and competition among the students can cause injuries. This is because they are much enthusiastic to perform the postures and show their best to other students. There are instances that you tend to forget your limits whenever you are in the mood for exhibiting what you can do. 

Bikram Yoga - Is it Dangerous Or Not?

Whenever you attend your Hot Yoga class, you have to drink more than one glass of water. This is because you are staying in a room with high temperature; there is a tendency that you might get dehydrated. You will sweat a lot so you will loose more fluids in your body, so there is really a need to replace them by drinking lots of water.

On a positive note, Bikram Yoga is not that bad after all. There can still be countless benefits that it can do to your body. It conditions you physically, mentally and spiritually. Once you start to join classes, you can gradually see the results. However, you also have to possess the right kind of attitude. Even if you work hard on attending Bikram Yoga classes but still very pessimistic about it, you can never achieve anything. You are just wasting your time.

You do not have to worry about the bad experiences that you hear from your classmates or friends. Everyone has its own capabilities. Maybe their bodies have lower extremity when it comes to such kind of physical activity. Physical therapists say that it will all depend on the ability of the students, whether they can tolerate doing every posture or not. They just have to assess if their bodies can sustain the level of difficulty of every position. You do not have to push your limits to the top, try to do it slowly until you can perfectly do it. Being impatient can lead you to severe injury.

Always bear in mind that performing Bikram Yoga teaches you to be disciplined and focus. Doing more is not a good habit. You have to do everything in moderation. This goes whenever you perform any position in your Yoga class. Try not to overdo your stretching. You may not feel the bad effect immediately, but you will if you continuously do it. Unknowingly, you are already leading yourself to a serious damage of your muscles. Remember, you are attending Bikram Yoga classes to stay fit and healthy. Make sure that it should not be the other way around.

Bikram Yoga - Is it Dangerous Or Not?

Bikram Yoga Poses
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*BIKRAM YOGA LOVER?* Get the definitive home study course on Hot Yoga. Giant 300-page book, 2 DVDs, pose chart, and more.

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"Powerful Yoga for Real People" - Lucas Rockwood

Ayurveda and Yoga, Ancient Sister Sciences

Ayurveda and yoga are sister Vedic sciences that have been united for thousands of years for the sake of healing body, mind, and consciousness. Generally speaking, Ayurveda deals more with the health of the body, while yoga deals with purifying the mind and consciousness, but in reality they complement and embrace each other.

The ancient rishis (seers) were the original masters of all Vedic sciences. They understood that good health is a great asset on the path toward Self-realization. If the body is neglected it can easily become an obstacle to spiritual practice. Anyone who has practiced meditation for any length of time would agree to how difficult it can be to sit still for long periods of time without feeling discomfort and fatigue. Both yoga and Ayurveda are mutually supportive and offer many ways to prevent and heal various disorders as well as to cleanse and rejuvenate the body.


Besides sharing a philosophical foundation, both systems have many similarities in relation to attitude, nutrition, diet, hygiene, exercise, cleansing practices, as well as spiritual practices. Traditionally, a student of yoga would first live close to and serve the guru for many years, during which time he would learn healthy habits. The basic Ayurvedic principles for health and longevity were past on in the lineage in oral form to serve as a foundation for a life of sadhana (spiritual practice).

Ayurveda and Yoga, Ancient Sister Sciences

Nowadays, the teachings of yoga are easily available to all, and whether prepared or not we can leap headlong into its practice. This has its blessings, in the sense that more people can be turned on to the teachings, although much is often lost without the parampara, or close guidance at the feet of an accomplished master. With this in mind, modern yoga practitioners would most certainly benefit from a basic knowledge of Ayurveda to help establish a healthy daily routine and adjust their practice according to the constitution, dosha imbalance, season, and so on, to prevent disease and promote longevity.

First, let's take a look at the similarities between yoga and Ayurveda:

* Both are ancient Vedic teachings. Yoga originates in the Yajur Veda, while Ayurveda originates in the Atharva Veda and Rig Veda.

* Both recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for fulfilling the four aims of life: Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (liberation).

* Both recognize that the balance of doshas (humors), dhatus (tissues), and malas (waste products) is essential for maintaining good health.

* Both share virtually the same metaphysical anatomy and physiology, which consists of 72,000 nadis (subtle channels), 7 main chakras (energy centers), 5 bodily sheaths, and the Kundalini Shakti (energy).

* Both advocate the use of diet, herbs, asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, astrology, prayer, puja, and rituals for healing the entire being.

* Both encourage physical health as a good foundation for mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

* Both share the same view on psychology. Ayurveda embraces all six of the main schools of philosophy including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Vedanta (a non-dual philosophical and spiritual path). They both understand that the attachment to the body-mind complex is the root cause of all suffering and that the ultimate state of health is experienced when we abide in our true nature, which is total peace, regardless of the state of the physical body.

* Both use cleansing methods for the body, all of which encourage the removal of waste products and toxins through their natural routes of elimination. Ayurveda has panchakarma (five cleansing actions) and yoga uses Shat Karma (six purification measures).

Ayurvedic approach to asana practice

The use of asana, pranayama, and meditation for healing is known as Yoga Chikitsa, or Yoga Therapy and has been used for thousands of years by Ayurvedic and yogic adepts. In Yoga Chikitsa, a group of yogic exercises are chosen that will best support the individual and are practiced daily. This can be done over an extended period of time in conjunction with an Ayurvedic regime and herbal and dietary therapies. Yoga Chikitsa also plays an integral role in the Ayurvedic cleansing and rejuvenation process known as panchakarma.

For a well balanced personal yoga practice, it is important to take into consideration the individual's body structure, prakruti (original constitution), and vikruti (present constitutional imbalance). The following are general recommendations according to the predominant dosha.

Vata predominant individuals should remember to focus on calming, grounding, stillness, strengthening, and balancing while doing their practice.

Precautions for vata:

* Vinyasa or flow styles of yoga tend to move too quickly from one pose to the next and can aggravate the hyper-mobile quality of vata over time. Flow sequences can be made to be more vata pacifying if they are not excessively long, the length of time poses are held is extended, and transitions are done slowly and consciously.

* Those with lower back problems may find that bending the knees in standing forward bends can prevent discomfort.

* Back bends should be done slowly, carefully and within one's own limits.

Pitta individuals should maintain a calm, cool, and relaxed intention while doing asanas. Pitta types may benefit from trying to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness, and of surrendering or offering the fruits of their practice to the divine of to those in need of positive healing energy. Because asana practice tends to generate heat in the body, it is best to do them at cooling times of the day, such as dawn or dusk. Also, it is useful to place some emphasis on poses that help to release excess heat from the body, such as poses that compress the solar plexus and poses that open the chest like.

Kapha types tend to be sedentary and often dislike vigorous exercise. For this reason, their practice should be energetic, warming, lightening, and stimulating, providing they are physically capable. Vinyasa or flow style yoga is good for kapha because it is dynamic and moves quickly from one pose to the next, it induces sweating and gets the heart pumping.

Yoga poses that address specific doshic problems can be easily added to an Ayurvedic regime and integrated into an existing yoga routine, or they can be organized as a small session with the help of an Ayurvedic clinician who knows each individual case well and can help set up a well balanced program according to the needs of each client.

Ayurveda also offers Yoga Chikitsa, or Yoga Therapy, for specific doshic disorders. It is advised to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for an individualized regime.

Ayurvedic Approach to Pranayama (breathing techniques).

The ultimate goal of pranayama is to calm the mind and prepare it for meditation. It also has a therapeutic effect on the physical body as well. It is not essential to do a pranayama practice according to dosha, but knowing its effects on the body is a valuable tool for management of the doshas. Below is a general list of pranayama and bandha exercises according to dosha.

Vata: Nadi Shodhana, Kapala Bhati, Agnisara Dhauti, Ujjayi, Tri Bandha, Maha Mudra.

Pitta: Sheetali or Sitkari, Nadi shodhana.

Kapha: Bastrika, Agnisara Dhauti, Kapala Bhati, Ashvini Mudra (contracting and releasing Mula Bandha), Ashvini Mudra, Ujjayi, Tri Bandha, Maha Mudra.

Furthermore, the Four Purifications taught in our workshops is an ancient method from the Ashtanga Yoga for purifying the gross and subtle body in order to prepare it for more advanced practices. They are tridoshic and safe for everyone, providing they are performed correctly.

Meditation According to Dosha.

These spiritual paths and their meditation techniques can be practiced by anyone, regardless of their prakruti. This list is only intended to give an idea on how dosha can support or influence one's spiritual practice. Many traditions of yoga blend various aspects of the paths listed here.

* Vata: Kriya Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga and other structured techniques help to keep vata stabilized and focused.

* Pitta: Jnana Yoga and Vedanta are good for pitta types because they often have sharp intellects and have a keen interest in self-study (Atma-vichara).

* Kapha: Bhakti yoga is natural for kapha types because they are often loving and devotional by nature.

Ayurvedic and Yogic Diet.

Ayurveda is more concerned with food being constitutionally balanced, while Yoga promotes a diet that is sattwic (light and pure). A combination of both aspects is the best choice for a yogi or anyone wanting to make real progress on a spiritual path.

Ayurvedic diet:

* According to dosha.

* Primarily vegetarian (meat is used as medicine, mainly for extreme deficiencies).

* Primarily cooked (raw food in moderation, especially for vata types).

* Containing six tastes.

Yogic diet:

* Sattwic vegetarian diet.

* Easy to digest.

* Simple meals (to limit desire).

* Both cooked and raw.

* Foods recommended in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika consist of rejuvenating substances such as wheat, whole grain, white basmati, corn, raw milk, raw sugar, butter, ghee, honey, dried ginger, mung beans, pure water, vegetables.

* Fruits, roots and nuts.

* Avoiding excessive hot, sour, salty, fermented, and fried foods.

* Avoiding tamasic (dulling) foods like meat, onions, garlic and mushrooms as a regular part of the daily diet.

Cleansing in Yoga and Ayurveda.

Ayurveda and Yoga both emphasize cleansing of the body for health and support of spiritual practices. Their methods are similar and work by expelling excess dosha and ama, or toxins, using the body's natural routes of elimination.

The yogic method is known in the Ashtanga tradition as Shat Karma, or six cleansing measures. These are:

1. Neti (nasal cleansing):

Jala neti (salt water flushing of the sinuses).

Sutra neti (nasal cleaning with string).

2. Dhauti (washing the GI tract).

Teeth, tongue, eyes, ears and forehead.

Agnisara Dhauti.

Vamana Dhauti (vomiting salt water).

Vastra Dhauti (washing with a cloth).

Varisara Dhauti (washing with water for purgation).

3. Basti (enema).

4. Trataka (forehead wash, gazing into a candle flame).

5. Nauli (intestinal washing, abdominal rolling).

6. Kapala Bhati (skull shining).

The Ayurvedic method for cleansing and rejuvenation is known as panchakarma (pancha karma), or five cleansing actions. This program is usually done for a week or two, but can also be done for longer periods depending on the case. The five actions of this method are:

1. Basti (Enema).

2. Nasya (Nasal application of herbs and herbal oils).

3. Vamana (Therapeutic vomiting).

4. Virechana (Purgation).

5. Rakta Moksha (Blood letting).

It is obvious that Ayurveda and yoga not only complement each other. Both sciences actually embrace each other as they share similarities and fundamental principles on many levels. Ayurveda and yoga should go hand in hand if we want to achieve optimal health, peace, and longevity.

Ayurveda and Yoga, Ancient Sister Sciences

Vishnu Dass, NTS, LMT, CAyu, is an Ayurvedic practitioner and educator and the Director of Blue Lotus Ayurveda - Natural Health & Rejuvenation - an Ayurvedic clinic in Asheville, NC, that offers holistic health care, panchakarma (for deep detox and rejuvenation), rejuvenating therapies, diet and lifestyle counseling, yoga and yoga therapy, therapeutic massage & bodywork, workshops, and more. For more information, articles and products, visit: and

Yoga For Busy Women - Eight Easy Chair Yoga Poses For Relaxation And A Quick Energy Boost

As a working mother your time is precious. Chair yoga is an excellent way for busy mums and women working from home to fit a simple yoga lesson into your hectic schedule.

In this article I want to share with you eight easy chair yoga stretches you can do at home or at work whenever you feel tired, frazzled and need a quick energy boost of to get through your day.


What Is Chair Yoga?

Yoga For Busy Women - Eight Easy Chair Yoga Poses For Relaxation And A Quick Energy Boost

Simply put, Chair Yoga is taking the mindfulness of traditional yoga (asanas, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation) and instead of standing or using a yoga mat, you practice seated on a chair. This makes Chair Yoga the ideal way to add yoga into your schedule, especially when time is short and you do not have the time to fit in a full yoga class.

Side note: As with all forms of exercise, consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions or suffer from back pain before you practice this sequence. Remember to be gentle with your body, show respect and be patient as you breathe through the routine.

3 Benefits Of Chair Yoga

  1. You can practice yoga seated at your work station, so you don't have to worry about finding child care/leaving work, changing your clothes and rushing to a class.
  2. The stretches will help to release tension in your neck and shoulders and ease everyday aches and pains.
  3. The routine quickly refreshes your spirit and helps you stay calm and focused, especially when working to a tight timeline.

Anytime you feel your energy slipping, and you struggle to concentrate and focus on what you are supposed to be doing, rather than waste more time and energy, take a five minute break and practice this simple Chair Yoga sequence. You will feel energised, refreshed, refocused and more able to resume work..

Eight Easy Chair Yoga Exercises For Relaxation And Quick Energy Boost

  1. First of all, sit comfortably on your chair. Lengthen your spine, lift your head so your chin is parallel to the ground and your neck in a straight line with your head. Lower your shoulders, relax you jaw. Take a slow steady breath in through your nose and slowly breathe out. Repeat 3-5 times. Next stretch and wriggle your toes and place your feet firmly back on the floor.
  2. Palms In Front Of Chest

Staying in the above sitting position, breathe in and slowly bring your palms together at your chest. Close your eyes. Inhale deeply for a count of three and, slowly exhale, for a count of three. Repeat 3-5 times

3. Straight Arms Above Head

Keep palms touching; slowly stretch your arms up in the air above your head. Keep shoulders lowered and relax jaw. Keep your head cantered and look straight ahead with a soft gaze. Take 3-5 rounds of deep breaths as you lengthen the sides of your body.

4. Stretch Arms To The Right/Left

Next, interlock your fingers; release your index fingers so they are pointing upwards. Keep your bottom rooted to the chair, stretch your body to the right, and keep your chin parallel to the ground. Try and keep your shoulders and hips in a straight line. Take 3 more deep breaths then return body to centre. If your arms feel tired, return your hands to your lap and allow your breath to settle. Slowly repeat stretch, this time stretching over to the left. Take 3-5 slow steady breaths and return to centre.

5. Seated Cobra

Place your hands on your thighs. Check to make sure your feet are still flat on the ground and facing forward. Breathe in and as you breathe out, gently lift your chest, lower your head back and arch backwards. Keep shoulders lowered and allow your jaw to relax. Breathe in and slowly breathe out. Repeat 3-5 times. Slowly return body to centre.

6. Rotate Wrists

Rest palms on thighs, raise arms up to shoulder level. Make a fist with your hands and rotate your wrist, 5-7 times in each direction. Then release your fist and gently shake your hands for 30 seconds. Rest palms on your lap.

7. Seated Spinal Twist

Reposition your body so your feet are firmly resting on the floor, lengthen your spine and relax your jaw. Cross your left leg over your right leg. Place your right hand on your crossed knee. Keeping your back straight, slowly turn your body to the left as you look over your left shoulder; keep your back nice and straight as you take 3-5 rounds of deep breaths. Slowly come back to the centre. Uncross your legs. Check your feet and body is correctly aligned then, cross your right leg over your left leg, place your left hand on your crossed knee and slowly turn your body to look over your right shoulder. Again, keep the spine lifted as you look over your right shoulder. Take 3-5 deep breaths and return to the centre.

8. Focus on Your Breath

Resting your hands on your lap, with the palms facing upwards, straighten your back, close your eyes and spend the last few moments of your Rest-Break your breath and the senses and sensations flowing through your body.

When you are ready, slowly open your eyes, smile and give yourself a hug.

Yeah. High Five. Well Done! You can now return to your work, refocused, calm and energised.

Yoga For Busy Women - Eight Easy Chair Yoga Poses For Relaxation And A Quick Energy Boost

And now, you can get more tips on how yoga helps you rest, relax and re-energise when you visit my blog and subscribe to my Free YogaInspiresYou enewsletter. When you subscribe you will get your Free copy of "Yoga For Beginners-All The Facts And Advice You Need To Start Your First Yoga Class" eBook. Click here for more info>

Thank You

Stay Blessed and Be Well

From: Ntathu Allen, Yoga and Meditation Teacher

Yoga For A Flat Stomach - 4 Effective Asanas

Yoga is an excellent component of any health and fitness routine. It helps to reduce stress, aid mobility and exercise al parts of the body. And, you can use yoga in such a way as to target certain parts of the body including your stomach.

There are numerous yoga positions which can be used to exercise your stomach muscles. Called Asanas, these exercises come in varying degrees of difficulty. It is important to assess your skill and fitness levels and chose Asanas which you are comfortable with. Start with one which seems easy and work up to the more complex over a period of time. Do not be led to take on more than you are comfortable with. Be sure to seek medical advice before undertaking any new course of exercise and make sure that you warm up to avoid injury.


Some of the Asanas to improve stomach tone;

Yoga For A Flat Stomach - 4 Effective Asanas

1. Pavan-Muktasan
First lie on your back ideally on a yoga mat or towel to protect your spine. When first starting yoga, this exercise can be completed one leg at a time. Bend your knees to your chest so your thighs touch your abdomen. Hug your knees, using one hand to hold the other. Lift your head so that your nose touches your knees then take a deep breath and hold this for thirty seconds. Release your legs and slowly lower to the starting position.

2. Bhujangasan
For this exercise, lie on the floor and roll onto your stomach. Place your hands under each shoulder as if to do a push up. Using only your back muscles, lift your upper torso from the ground so that your head becomes upright. You need the muscles from your back to do all the work so do not help with your hands. Although predominantly making use of your back muscles, this asana will help with developing better muscle tone in your stomach.

3. The Bow
This is a more advanced asana. The stomach exercise is similar in many ways to the Bhujangasan asana, but is more difficult. It starts from the same basic position - flat on your stomach - but now you also curl your legs upwards in addition to lifting your upper body. In a perfect example the soles of your feet come toward the back of your head forming a circle. Once you can, grab your ankles, pull with your hands, push using your legs till only your stomach touches the floor. Hold this for at least thirty seconds before releasing and returning to the starting position.

4. Paad-Pashchimottanasan
This asana is also more advanced. Start lying on your back, relaxed with your legs straight, arms extended over your head. Point your palms to the ceiling. Using only your stomach muscles sit up, keeping your back straight and hands overhead. Your legs stay fixed to the floor throughout. Lean forward so your head is between your arms and grab your toes with both hands. Hold for 2 minutes before releasing and slowly returning to your starting position using your stomach muscles to lower yourself to the floor.

Yoga like every other form of exercise or wellness routine will be more effective when combined with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Yoga For A Flat Stomach - 4 Effective Asanas

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Hot Yoga For Detoxification Benefits

Hot yoga or bikram yoga is gaining popularity as the new way to detoxify and to remove toxins from your body. For this method, you just need to think of yoga as if you are in a sauna. In fact, it is thought so effective for cleansing purposes that some natural health treatment centres are including it as part of the regimen for chronic liver diseases like hepatitis C.

Your skin is one of the best waste disposal systems in nature. While it is different from your waste-extraction organs like kidneys or livers, your skin is an equally effective organ for removing waste, especially toxic wastes. It does this through sweat.


Hence, hot yoga provides the perfect channel for detoxification to happen. You would be tapping the ability of your skin to convert toxins that come from various fats into simpler and water-soluble compounds that can be easily removed. At high temperatures, you will begin to sweat. Amonia and urea is eliminated as well as sugars and salts.

Hot Yoga For Detoxification Benefits

When you do hot yoga, exercises are performed in a room heated to temperatures of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Once inside, you go through a program of specified postures in a vigorous but very aerobic workout. The internal heat generated by the yoga exercises combines with the external heat of the room to make you break out in torrents of sweat.

On its own, yoga is already a powerful healing regime. When you do yoga exercises, you are working out every muscle in the body, making them strong, supple, and flexible. Aside from being able to help in cardiovascular problems, yoga is also excellent for people suffering from arthritis, stress reduction, and a host of other body conditions.

Every posture in the hot yoga for detoxification exercise is complemented with proper breathing techniques to assist you in reaching the maximum limit of the movement. Thus, you may notice that apart from the regular Bikram yoga exercises, you are also trained in the proper breathing techniques. Proper breathing techniques is vital in detoxification and cleansing.

By boosting circulation and metabolism through deep breathing and yoga posture, hot yoga accelerates the result of any detoxification program. Additionally, you also get to learn the techniques of meditation. You learn to relax your mind, thus addressing stress toxins. In conclusion, bikram yoga or hot yoga for detoxification is a powerful means to achieving balance between mind, body and spirit.

Hot Yoga For Detoxification Benefits

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Yoga Room Decorating And Design Ideas

A room in which a person can practice a yoga routine must be one of comfort. In order to truly reap the benefits of yoga, a person must be able to move around freely and in perfect comfort. When considering your yoga room decorating and design you must be sure to add things that will free you mentally while in the yoga practice so that its benefits will be felt to their fullest.

Yoga, which comes from the ancient practice of meditation, is a moving practice in which you are trying to train your muscles in certain directions while also concentrating on making them more firm. In order to do this practice, there are certain items that you will need to use. Yoga mats should be used to provide your body ultimate cushion and support. There are yoga balls that get used as well as several other tools. These can be added to the décor of your yoga room.


The color that you choose for your yoga room should be an earthy tone. Perhaps a rosy yellow or a waterfall blue/white combination would be a great color for this room. This will add to the calming effects of yoga while in practice of it. Another color choice may be a deep red to reflect the color of décor that yoga originated from. Either way, you want the color to help your mind relax as you concentrate on particular muscle groups in your practice.

Yoga Room Decorating And Design Ideas

Candles are another important part of yoga. The colors of the candles you choose can either match or contrast with the colors that you've chosen to paint the room. They will grace your practices as you light them and reflect upon their glow when you are doing yoga. Their flames will add to the décor and feel of warmth in the room. Other knickknacks throughout the room may include Buddha statues or paintings of waterfalls. These add unity to the room as you bring together your own tastes and the history of the practice of yoga.

A final touch that will enhance the use of this room would be a set of speakers to surround the person practicing. This would be something that's both functional and decorative. Speakers can come in several different colors or they can reflect the wood grain that they are made out of. They can be on stands in several places throughout the room, or they can be placed within the walls themselves. Ultimately, as they are used in the yoga practices, they will create the feel of tranquility that is so important.

A yoga room should create a feeling of relaxation while remaining functional. Though you are certainly not relaxing while doing yoga, your mind should be free to concentrate on the muscles being worked. By adding these decorative touches in your yoga room decorating and design efforts, you are freeing the mind to be where it should be while your body is prepared for the stretches and practices of yoga.

Yoga Room Decorating And Design Ideas

Lee Dobbins writes about decorating and design [] Visit [] where you can read more about decorating styles and how to incorporate them in your home.

5 Yoga Routines For Your Body

Yoga is another routine that you can adopt to keep yourself healthy and fit. With yoga routine you will not only ensure health and fitness but you will feel refreshed as well. It is common for most of us to put on weight by staying inactive or to put it simply leading a less active life. It is for this reason that exercises are there so that one can stay fit and healthy and lead an active life.

Although, most of us hate to exercise not only because we don't have much time but it leaves it sweaty and tired. If you feel this way then the best alternative is to include yoga routine in your daily life. Yoga routine will make you feel fresh and your mind at peace. You can perform a yoga routine of 15-minutes long and feel the difference.


Given below are some yoga routines that will also help you increase flexibility.

5 Yoga Routines For Your Body

1. Janushirsasana: Start by sitting on floor with the legs in front of you and straight. Now bend your left leg such that foot's sole rests on inside thigh of the right leg. When done, bend forward with your arms raised and hold the right foot toe with both the hands. Bring your face as closer to it as you can and hold the position for a minute before returning to original position. Perform same for the other leg.

2. Shalabhasana: Start by lying flat on belly on the floor. Make sure that your arms are at the side. By balancing on the lower belly part, lift your arms, heads, legs and torso off the floor. Hold this position for one minute before gently returning to original position.

3. Dhanurasana: For this you have to lie flat on floor on belly. Now bend the knees and using your hands reach to reach back, get hold of the ankles. Now pull the legs up with the hands holding the ankles and lift the torso and head up. Stay in this position for one minute before gently returning to original position.

4. Halasana: For this lie on the floor on your back. Now try touching the tip of the floor that is above the head by lifting hips and legs and swinging them over to do so. Hold this position for one minute.

5. Shavasana: Lie on the floor on your back and close your eyes. Let your body feel weightless at the same time breathe slowly and deeply. Relax yourself by staying inthis position for one minute.

5 Yoga Routines For Your Body

Finding the perfect Workout Routines [] takes time and effort. These best workout routines is a great place to start if a person is interested in flat abs. The P90X [] workout routines is also another workout that will help develop flat abs.

All You Need to Do to Have a Rockin' Teen Yoga Class - A Checklist For Teaching Teens Yoga

Teaching yoga to teens can be a daunting task. They want to access all the benefits they've heard about yoga, or try it out since their favourite celebrity is doing it. However, teens do not put up with any garbage and will call on it if they think you are faking or unsure of yourself. Here is a checklist that I go through when preparing my teen yoga classes. Follow it and you're sure to have fantastic classes full of finding inner strength, having fun, and discovering the wonderful world of yoga.

1) Know your Audience


In order to teach teens you have to know teens. Tap into their world. Find out what's 'hot,' and what's 'so last year.' You'll also need to know what level of yoga your students are expecting. These days many teens have done yoga with their sports teams or as an extra-curricular activity. However, there are still a lot of first timers out there. You may have to cater your classes to both groups so be sure to provide quality instruction.

All You Need to Do to Have a Rockin' Teen Yoga Class - A Checklist For Teaching Teens Yoga

2) Plan your Time

Know your time frame and plan accordingly. Classes may be 50, 60 or 80 minutes in length. Be sure to factor in an introduction and talk time. These are teens after all and they love to talk. Yoga class is also a wonderful place to discuss coping strategies for real life problems so be flexible and allow them to share. Also, like any good yoga class you'll need a warm-up, workout, and cooling portions within your class plan. Of course, sufficient time for Corpse Pose, savasana, is essential before you send them away with Namaste.

3) Organize the Flow

This part will depend on the goals of the class. Is it a flow class, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, or intro to Hatha Yoga? Maybe you'll offer a yoga sampler class for teens to try out a variety of styles. Whatever the goal, be sure to organize the poses following standard yoga instruction guidelines. Leaving a little extra time for adjustments and verbal instruction is always a good idea to make sure all the students are performing the poses and breathing exercises properly and safely.

4) Create a Playlist

Teens love music! Give them what they love. Download the top hits and create a rockin' playlist. Remember this is NOT their mother's yoga class. This is a TEEN class. Relaxing meditative tracks are great for during relaxation, but otherwise crank the Rock & Rock, R&B, Alternative, Top40, etc. and get your groove on. If you have no idea what your students are listening to ask them to offer suggestions. They may even put together the playlist for you - in half the time.

5) Prepare your Space

All good yoga instructors will arrive early for class. This is no different. Classes may be held in community centres, churches, school athletic rooms, libraries, and so on. Some of these spaces will need extra preparation time. Be sure to check over the space you are using for your class and prepare it adequately for your students. Their yoga experience should not be hampered by their environment.

6) Rock their Yoga World

Showtime! Put it all together and have a great time teaching teens about the joy of yoga. The benefits will some be apparent to them. They will have greater self-confidence, more flexibility, and learn coping skills to take with them off the mat. Remember be yourself. Be genuine. Your class may be exactly what they need to build a lifelong yoga practice.

That's it. If you follow the "Checklist for Teaching Teens Yoga," you're sure to find success. Your classes will be hip, fun, and provide an opportunity for teens to discover their inner yogi.

All You Need to Do to Have a Rockin' Teen Yoga Class - A Checklist For Teaching Teens Yoga

Donna Freeman is a yoga instructor, teacher, mother of four, and honey to 1. She has been doing yoga since 1997 and teaching it since 2002. Passionate about yoga for kids and teens, she loves showing parents and teachers how to share the joy of yoga with children of all ages. Visit for all you ever wanted to know about yoga for kids and teens.

Yoga For Increasing Height - Top 5 Height Enhancing Yoga Postures to Grow Taller Fast Revealed!

If you are also one of those people who are not satisfied with their height then this is for you. Many of you may not know this but yoga is one thing which can actually increase your height naturally. You do not need to take any kind of supplements or go for any surgery while performing yoga. All you need to do is just be regular and committed towards your goal.

Here are some of the exercises performed during yoga for increasing height:


* Stretching Postures- Stretching posture is one of the most beneficial one to increase height. Tadasan is the most useful stretching exercise performed in yoga which increases your height. It stretches the muscles of the body and internally gives your body the oxygen it requires to function properly. It not only affects the height regularizes the system of the body.

Yoga For Increasing Height - Top 5 Height Enhancing Yoga Postures to Grow Taller Fast Revealed!

* Surya Namaskar- this is another posture where in, you stand straight with body stretched and hands high in the air joined together. You will have to stand on one leg only as the other leg will touch the right one. Hold this position of for as long as you can with inhaling the air in and out.

Apart from these, you have to maintain a right posture if you really wish to see the benefits of yoga for increasing height. Some other postures are- standing, sitting, inverted and balancing postures. Surya namaskar is the example of balancing posture. In all these your body has to be straight and proper breathing is needed. There would be no result if you don't balance and breathe properly.

Other than yoga for increasing height, bar hanging, playing basket ball, jumping etc are some other exercises that can be performed for growing your height. There are some supplements too that are available in the market for the same but I advise that you must consult your doctor before taking them. One can also go for limb lengthening surgery as it is considered to be very safe and the results have been positive in more than 95% cases.

Yoga For Increasing Height - Top 5 Height Enhancing Yoga Postures to Grow Taller Fast Revealed!

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Yoga Tips and Tricks - Swami Ramdev Baba Yoga Tips and Tricks

Yoga is very beneficial for your whole body if it is done properly and regularly. Every one has the busy schedule in this fast life. No one has the time to go for medicine, doctor and body care centers. Therefore yoga now a day is taking popularity to keep the body feet and away from disease.

It is very important to have the proper and right information before going for yoga. Yoga is natural and has no side effects on body. Yoga is ancient art of keeping body fit and healthy. You will find no need to go to the doctor if you promise for regular practice of yoga. It will develop your mental, physical and spiritual power.


You would have definitely heard the name and news of Swami Ramdev Baba. Swami Ramdev Baba is in the news since last two years. Swami Ramdev Baba believes on natural cure and natural medicines. Swami Ramdev Baba is an Indian and now he is become so very famous personality in India as well and aboard. Recently they have visited many countries and share his view about yoga. Swami Ramdev Baba always insists peoples to bring yoga in their regular practice.

Yoga Tips and Tricks - Swami Ramdev Baba Yoga Tips and Tricks

There are some important tips and tricks how to keep yourself fit with yoga. But it is also recommended to take expert advices in case you have some physical problems as it can be problem in some types of yoga exercise. Ramdev Baba has several offers their advice for free in their regular camps. You can also watch his TV program in the morning and in the evening. Read more about Ramdev Baba Yoga.

Yoga Tips Tricks

Yoga offer many benefits to your body, mind and spirit. If you have just developed your mind to practice yoga then first you should take some advice from yoga experts or join yoga classes. You can also join Ramdev Baba Yoga Shivirs which are many times organized in India and sometimes in aboard. You can call personally and ask about their program schedules.

Start doing yoga with little practice. Give some time each day for yoga. Don't to try to do over. Check your yoga positions whether it is correct. If you practice yoga in wrong poses then you will not get any benefits out of it.

Don't go for single yoga exercise. Always try to adopt different types of yoga as they will offer extra benefits to you. Extend your Yoga timings as per expert advice and tips or you can increase it slowly-slowly.

Practice with different kinds of yoga exercises will boost your self confidence and gradually you will find no need for yoga classes and teachers.

Make sure about the perfect attention for yoga. Don't try to do hard work. Learn about inner attentions as it will benefit you after some time. Try to get more benefits from yoga with your yoga teacher.

Select right yoga teacher. Always try to select a teacher with whom you find your self comfortable. He should be perfect in yoga teaching. He should have the some experience of yoga. Learn yoga exercise in right and perfect positions and poses. Read about Ramdev Yoga

These are some tips and tricks of yoga exercise. Make yourself perfect in yoga exercises and the time will come when you will see a huge change in your mental and physical strength. Yoga will develop and improve your mental skills, power and increase your concentrating power.

Yoga Tips and Tricks - Swami Ramdev Baba Yoga Tips and Tricks

How Does Yoga Reduce Your Stress?

The human body is a wonderful thing. It can take an unusual amount of punishment and stress, and still heal itself. But it needs your help to accomplish this cure. In order to rejuvenate your body's natural defense system, you need to relax. Relaxation and rest will cure many diseases.

Certain yoga poses will help to stimulate glands in the brain, and will put the body into the Alpha state. The Alpha state will help increase the creative thought process, as well as help the body heal itself. The Alpha state is often attained during savasana, the final resting pose in yoga practice.


Yoga exercise consists of smooth stretches and twists combined with deep symmetrical breathing to help the body loosen up tight strained muscles, stretching the spinal column and relieving stress on the discs and joints. The muscles are stretched out releasing the poisons and toxins in the body. Pranayam (breathing exercises) help flush the lung tissues, allowing an increased oxygen level to enter the bloodstream, which fights off infection and helps the body heal itself.

How Does Yoga Reduce Your Stress?

On a physical level, yoga will increase strength, flexibility and grace. But equally important, yoga exercise will reduce stress levels by the process of healing and cleansing the mind along with healing the body. Yoga views the body as having multiple levels or layers, and the various exercises and postures help create an energy flow throughout the mind and body.

All of the stress that we are subject to results in a great deal of physical tension in your body. Yoga can reduce this stress and tension level and eliminate toxins from the body. Yoga also helps clear the mind and spirit. Asana (posture), pranayama (breathing) and dhyana (meditation) will help release muscular tension which leads to better stress management and generates an overall feeling of well being.

Yoga resting poses help to release abdominal tension, allowing improved digestive functions. The yoga resting poses also allow the body to enter into a relaxed calm state, which is free from the fight or flight stress, which also helps the body to rejuvenate itself. Yoga also helps create focus, which allows our mind to relax and clear negative thoughts.

For those who just now discovering yoga, it truly is the best exercise method that not only increases your body's strength, but will reduce your stress levels and improve your mental health.

How Does Yoga Reduce Your Stress?

Sydney Heiden is a practitioner of yoga and founder of Yoga and Meditation for Beginners. For more yoga tips and information, go to her website,

Yoga Clothing - What To Wear For Yoga?

The right yoga clothes will make your exercises a lot more enjoyable. The practice of yoga is a combination of various body poses. The goal is to promote a healthy and fit body. The question still remains - what should I wear?

It would help, if you knowing what you shouldn't wear. Don't wear anything that will restrict bodily movements. The obvious items including jeans, dress shirts will not allow the body to relax and breathe freely. As simple as it is, make sure that you take the time to use the proper clothing. Here are some things to look for in good clothing choices for yoga:


Loose-fitting is good- Form fitting clothing restricts the blood flow inhibits the correct breathing techniques. You should be able to able to perform various yoga poses. Try yoga shorts, sweat clothes, leotards or yoga pants.

Yoga Clothing - What To Wear For Yoga?

Sweat absorbent- Lastly, there are some clothing options that are excellent. For example, the materials that they are made of are able to absorb sweat and keep it away from the skin. Look for specific yoga clothing selections for these.

Comfortable- You should be comfortable wearing whatever you choose. Since the objective is to relax you should never be worried about what you look like.

Yoga shoes/socks?- In some studios you are allowed to wear yoga shoes/socks. You should inquire ahead of time to be better prepared.

Just make sure your clothes fit your personal style and you'll be able to keep your mind on what you were there to do in the first place - Practice Yoga!

Yoga Clothing - What To Wear For Yoga?

Mike Singh is the publisher of On his website he provides free yoga lessons and more articles about health benefits of yoga.

Yoga For Sports Training - 8 Famous Professional Athletes Who Practice Yoga

So we've all heard that many pros practice yoga for sports training. But who exactly does yoga benefit the most? Does it work better for some sports rather than others? I was quite curious to find out, so I did a little bit of research and found a very impressive (and diverse) list of famous professional athletes who practice yoga to improve their game performance. In no particular order:

  1. Le Bron James. Perhaps the most well-known player in the NBA, Le Bron attributes his good health to his regular yoga practice.
  2. Maria Sharapova. Famous for her grace and performance in tennis, she says:" When I travel to tournaments I put the disk in my computer three or four times a week and do yoga for about an hour. It helps my flexibility and gets me more relaxed, especially after a good workout. I enjoy it, and it helps my game tremendously."
  3. The entire Philadelphia Eagles NFL team. The famous Baron Baptiste yoga guru led the team through their yoga for sports training for four years!
  4. Tim Thomas. The Boston Bruins and US Olympic goaltender says he "had no idea what [he] was getting [himself] into" and he was sweating within 5 minutes."My whole career has been about proving to people that I can play in the NHL and that I can be very successful in the NHL so yoga's part of that journey."
  5. Ex-Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabar. He has been quoted saying "There is no way I could have played as long as I did without yoga."
  6. Daylan Childress, Cincinnati Reds Pitcher. This baseball player uses yoga to relieve stresses in his body and cure back pain.
  7. The Ottawa Senators NHL team. They reported that the fewer injuries in the 2006-07 season were the fruit of their yoga training.
  8. Shaquille O'Neal.


Wow! What a diverse group of well-known professional athletes! In this list, we have got basketball, tennis, football, hockey, and baseball players who all use yoga for sports training. I think it is safe to say that no matter what sport you are playing, you will benefit from practicing yoga.

Yoga For Sports Training - 8 Famous Professional Athletes Who Practice Yoga
Yoga For Sports Training - 8 Famous Professional Athletes Who Practice Yoga

Did you know that Le Bron James and Maria Sharapova both practice yoga to enhance their athletic abilities? Don't you ever wish you could dramatically improve your performance? Join the revolution, and find out how yoga for athletes can skyrocket your playing to a new level:

The Best Yoga DVD For Men

The best beginner's yoga DVD for men is the one that men actually will use.

Until Bruce Willis develops a series of "Explosive Yoga" DVD's, go with whatever looks good, promising you will stick with it at least through one entire practice. This is, a promise you that will try to keep pushing yourself through one entire practice, because you very quickly will discover that yoga makes football, rugby, and cage fighting look easy. If you collapse half-way through the practice, expect the woman in your life simply to smile, nod, and say, "If it were easy, honey, boys would do it."


Guys, you really must get over some of your stereotypes, misconceptions, and prejudices about yoga. Ancient mystics did not invent yoga because they had foreseen the advent of soccer moms seeking stretching and breathing exercises they could work-in between carpools and shopping. Ancient mystics did not develop the disciplines, practices, and spiritual blah-dee for the sake of studying the cute college coeds at the gym. In fact, if you would get off the weight machines and actually try yoga, you immediately would develop appreciation and admiration for its difficulty. In fact, if you would try yoga, you would discover that the soccer moms and coeds have strong, flexible muscles and cardiovascular fitness you barely can begin to imagine. And they feel centered, at-peace, and content, too.

The Best Yoga DVD For Men

Protecting yourself against painful public humiliation, guys, you should rent a couple of yoga DVD's, learning the basics and enduring the initiation in the privacy of your own living room. No tight bike shorts required. As you begin, the best yoga DVD will be the one you pick-up, put in the machine, and follow. You may start anywhere as long as you start.

Guys, any yoga DVD will be the best for you if it inspires you to practice the poses every day. Motivation does not matter. If the best yoga DVD has the most attractive women in the cutest yoga pants, making you look forward to join in the exercise with them, fine. If you have conceived an impossible crush on the instructor in the best yoga DVD, hoping she somehow will notice you through the broadband, fine. As long as you crank-up the machine and fire-up yourself to go through the poses with proper attention to form, breathing, discipline, and meditation, then you have found the best yoga DVD, and you should work it.

The Best Yoga DVD For Men

Ashley J Michaels is an home economist and yoga practitioner. For a highly regarded current list of the Best Yoga DVD's please visit

Yoga Insights: Walking Yoga Meditation

Walking meditation is more difficult for most Yoga students, than breath awareness meditation, but it is very beneficial to those students who have difficulty sitting still. Some Yoga practitioners are more restless than most of us, so this is when walking Yoga meditation comes in handy, but we should all give it a try. You will find walking Yoga meditation to be a very rewarding practice for your mind, body, and spirit.

When you first start practicing walking Yoga meditation, you should set a steady pace and breathe naturally. Once you have established your pace, you should then try to focus on your breath without controlling it.


The first exposure I had with walking meditation was in Kundalini Yoga practice. We would establish how many foot steps per inhale and how many foot steps per exhale. This is your own natural breathing pattern and it may be difficult to get the typical Yogic breathing - One part inhale to two part exhale ratio.

Yoga Insights: Walking Yoga Meditation

An example of the one to two Yogic breathing patterns would be: You inhale for three steps and exhale for six steps. Please bear in mind that each of us will breathe differently. Some of us may find the one to two Yoga breathing to be a strain, so your natural breathing pattern is important to establish.

It will take a while to focus on your natural breathing pattern and determine what the correct ratio is for you. Whatever you do, it should be easy and this should not be a strain.

Later in life, I learned Sanchin Kata. Sanchin is an Okinawan Karate form that may seem simple from the outside looking in, but is, in fact, a form of walking meditation.

The breathing is different in Sanchin practice, but the movement is repetitious enough to qualify for an example of meditation in motion. This exercise can teach you many things, but one valuable component is not to worry about your breathing, or anything else in life, if possible.

When you decide to try walking Yoga meditation, you should choose your location carefully. Choose a course that you are familiar with. This must be a safe place for walking Yoga meditation. During day light hours a local park is a safe place you could try a walking Yoga meditation session. Walking across or through traffic would not be recommended.

Although, it is very beautiful up north, during the foliage season, you would want to keep your awareness very keen. Bears, bucks, moose, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, and some people, do not have the same appreciation for walking Yoga meditation and you want to be careful about what you stumble across. You should also be aware that people do hunt in season, or out, and are not always where you expect them to be. Once I ran into a hunting party, with a complete entourage of dogs, in a wildlife refuge.

Therefore, carefully choose a walking course that will keep you out of harm's way. Morning hours are always my favorite. Take the time to develop mindfulness of each step and each breath. Try to walk without talking, when you have a companion with you. This silent walking will keep your mind in the moment and you will be able to take the surroundings in, without disrupting your meditation.

Yoga and Yoga meditation can be carried into many aspects of your life. Walking Yoga meditation is just one example of this.

© Copyright 2006 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Yoga Insights: Walking Yoga Meditation

Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: "Yoga in Practice," and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit:

The Different Types of Yoga - An Introduction to The Most Common Yoga Styles

Yoga is a training system for body and mind that can be traced back more than 5000 years. It focuses on what is here and now and on being present. Therefore yoga has become more popular than ever - it brings back focus on the present, in a world that is constantly changing and where humans are often focusing on the future instead of the present. There are many different types of yoga and they are all a development of the ancient form. However, as a beginner it can be very difficult to know which type of yoga to try out with. Only by trying different styles, you can find out which one suit you better. Therefore, this article will provide you with a brief overview of some of the most common types of yoga.



The classical Hatha yoga consists of the original physical postures and breathing exercises, usually done in a calm and relaxed pace with pauses between the positions. Most of the yoga types performed in the West are inspired by Hatha, and they all vary in their shape in terms of 'asanas' - the natural positions - and their focus on breathing and meditation. The focus of Hatha is typically to perform the classic posts properly in accordance with the body's abilities. 'Ha' means in Sanskrit 'sun' while 'tha' means 'moon'. Hatha represents the duality in life - yin and yang, masculine and feminine, darkness and light. Hatha Yoga tries to balance these opposing forces.

The Different Types of Yoga - An Introduction to The Most Common Yoga Styles


Vinyasa yoga is more dynamic than Hatha yoga since the yoga exercises are performed at a fast pace without long breaks between them in a flow. The name Vinyasa refers to the movement respiratory system, and it is about the relationship of the breath and the movements.During the practise of Vinyasa yoga much heat is formed in the body and therefore the body produces a lot of waste through sweat.


Astanga yoga is a very physically challenging type of yoga, and provides good training for strength, flexibility and endurance. Astanga yoga consists of a series of yoga exercises performed in a flow without a break in between. In Astanga Yoga, the breathing must be coordinated with the movements as in Vinyasa Yoga.


Yin yoga is developed by Paul Grilley, and is a tranquil type of yoga, which focuses on deep stretching and balancing of the body. In Yin Yoga positions are held for a long time. Yin yoga combines wisdom from Taoism and Chinese acupuncture with the Indian yoga philosophy.


Power yoga is based on Astanga yoga and for those who want a vigorous workout. This type of yoga is often seen in gyms and fitness centers. Even though it is based on Astanga yoga, it is often a mixture of many different types of yoga, forming a very dynamic yoga class.


Iyengar Yoga was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar - one of the most known yoga teachers in the world. In the physical positions there is a strong emphasis on detail and on body position and straight lines. Another characteristic of this yoga style is that it frequently uses tools such as blocks and belts. In Iyengar yoga, each position is often held for a long time, and the breathing deepens the effect of each position.


Tri Yoga is a trinity of physical poses, breathing, and focus on a combination of flow and static positions. Characteristic of this type of yoga is the use of wave-like backbone movements and breathing exercises. The founder Kali Ray has created seven levels of severity and meditative content.


Sivananda yoga is a gentle form of yoga and recommends a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and positive thinking and meditation. This yoga style was founded by Swami Vishnu-devananda. A Sivananda yoga class also consists of chanting, meditation and deep relaxation.


Kundalini yoga includes physical exercise but is concentrated on breathing exercises and chanting. The purpose is to awaken the kundalini energy located at the bottom of the spine and help it to move up along the spine through the body's chakras in order to reach your head and give a strong spiritual experience. Kundalini is very powerful and should only be exercised in collaboration with an experienced teacher.

The Different Types of Yoga - An Introduction to The Most Common Yoga Styles

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Yoga: Firm Your Quads and Release Your Hamstrings

Those yoga practitioners with tense hamstrings are the ones most likely to tense up in poses meant to release the hams and they then lose the benefit of the pose. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) is a pose where to experience a relaxing stretch in your back, neck and legs, you must release the hamstrings.

Uttanasana is often used as a relaxing break after standing poses or as a rest during an intense vinyasa sequence. When performing the Standing Forward Bend, it is best to stretch the hamstrings on the back of your thighs and contract the quadriceps on the front of your thighs. In Uttanasana, positioning is important to allow the hamstrings to lengthen and relax into the stretch as opposed to holding on tightly and contracting.


To appreciate how your hamstrings work in Uttanasana, it is important to understand the three distinct forms of muscle contraction. In an isometric contraction, the muscle does not change length; a concentric contraction makes the muscle shorter; and an eccentric contraction lengthens the muscle.

Yoga: Firm Your Quads and Release Your Hamstrings

If you start in Uttanasana with your knees straight and your pelvis tilted forward so that your head and spine are moving towards the floor, as you come up out of the pose, the hamstrings contract and pull down the sitting bones. The pelvis will then move upright and the upper body aligns with the legs. The hamstrings have performed a concentric, or shortening, contraction.

However, when standing and tilting the pelvis forward the hamstrings perform a lengthening, or eccentric contraction. If you stop halfway, the hamstrings will perform an isometric contraction. They are still working hard, but are neither shortening nor lengthening. Here is the problem for students with tight hamstrings: they cannot reach their fingers to the floor so when they bend over they end up sort of "stuck" halfway - and in an isometric contraction.

It is not recommended that Uttanasana be practiced with the fingers dangling towards the ground. This puts undue pressure on the muscles as well as the lower back. The hamstrings will not benefit and become more flexible, but remain rigid.

A simple solution is to put a yoga block or a folded blanket under your hands to support the weight of your body through your arms. The hamstrings will then no longer be required to support the torso and can lengthen and relax.

For proper alignment in this pose, ensure that the hips are over your ankles, not behind them. The knees should be straight. To offset the tendency to bend the knees, the quadriceps should be contracted. Since they are "antagonistic" muscle groups, the hamstrings will automatically relax when you flex your quads. This will allow for a fuller stretch of the hamstrings.

The Standing Forward Bend is also excellent work for the erector spinae, the group of small muscles that run up and down the spine. Just as with the hamstrings, the erector spinae will only benefit from this pose if the weight of the upper body is supported by placing the hands on the floor or a prop.

Remember to keep the quads working. With time and practice, the hamstrings will lengthen and release, allowing further release in the lower back and pelvic region.

Yoga: Firm Your Quads and Release Your Hamstrings

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Yoga

Yoga - Origin and Background

Yoga is an age-old science made up of different disciplines of mind and body. It has originated in India 2500 years ago and is still effective in bringing overall health and well being to any person who does it regularly. The word yoga is based upon a Sanskrit verb Yuja. It means to connect, to culminate or to concur. It's the culmination of mind and body or the culmination of Jiva and Shiva (soul and the universal spirit). It's also a culmination of Purush and Prakriti (Yin and Yang).

The term Yoga has a very broad scope. There are several schools or systems of Yoga. Dnyanayoga (Yoga through knowledge), Bhaktiyoga (Yoga through devotion), Karmayoga (Yoga through action), Rajayoga (Royal or supreme Yoga) and Hathayoga (Yoga by balancing opposite principles of body). All of these schools of Yoga are not necessarily very different from each other. They are rather like threads of the same cloth, entangled into each other. For thousands of years, Yoga has been looked upon as an effective way of self-improvement and spiritual enlightenment. All these systems essentially have this same purpose; only the ways of achieving it are little different for each of them. In its most popular form, the term Yoga has come to associate with the last of these systems which is Hathayoga. For the purpose of this article too, the term Yoga is used with the same meaning. Although, when it comes to Philosophy of Yoga, which is at the end of this article, the term Yoga will have a broader scope.


Asana and Pranayama

Yoga - Origin and Background

Let's take a detailed look at the main two components of Hathayoga i.e. Asana and Pranayama.

a) Asana:
Asana means acquiring a body posture and maintaining it as long as one's body allows. Asana, when done rightly according to the rules discussed above, render enormous physical and psychological benefits. Asana are looked upon as the preliminary step to Pranayama. With the practice of Asana there is a balancing of opposite principles in the body and psyche. It also helps to get rid of inertia. Benefits of Asana are enhanced with longer maintenance of it. Asana should be stable, steady and pleasant. Here is the summary of general rules to be followed for doing Asana.

Summary of rules:

1. Normal breathing
2. Focused stretching
3. Stable and pleasant postures (sthiram sukham asanam)
4. Minimal efforts (Prayatnay shaithilyam)
5. No comparisons or competition with others
6. No jerks or rapid actions. Maintain a slow and steady tempo.

Each asana has its own benefits and a few common benefits such as stability, flexibility, better hormonal secretion, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It's a misconception that an Asana (Yoga stretch) has to be difficult to do in order to be beneficial. Many of the easiest Asana render most of the common benefits of Yoga to their fullest. Besides, the beauty of Yoga is in the fact that at a not-so-perfect level most of the benefits are still available. That means even a beginner benefits from Yoga as much as an expert.

In their quest to find a solution to the miseries of human body and mind, the founders of Yoga found part of their answers in the nature. They watched the birds and animals stretching their bodies in particular fashion to get rid of the inertia and malaise. Based upon these observations, they created Yoga stretches and named them after the birds or animals or fish that inspired these stretches. For example, matsyasana (fish pose), makarasana (crocodile pose), shalabhasana (grasshopper pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose), marjarasana (cat pose), mayurasana (peacock pose), vrischikasana (scorpion pose), gomukhasana (cow's mouth pose), parvatasana (mountain pose), vrikshasana (tree pose) etc.

Many of the Asana can be broadly categorized based upon the type of pressure on the abdomen. Most of the forward bending Asana are positive pressure Asana as they put positive pressure on the stomach by crunching it e.g. Pashchimatanasana, Yogamudra (Yoga symbol pose), Hastapadasana (hand and feet pose), Pavanmuktasana (wind free pose) etc. The backward bending Asana are the negative pressure Asana as they take pressure away from the abdomen e.g. Dhanurasana (bow pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Naukasana (boat pose) etc. Both types of Asana give excellent stretch to the back and abdomen and strengthen both these organs. Alternating between positive and negative pressure on the same area of the body intensifies and enhances blood circulation in that area. The muscle group in use gets more supply of oxygen and blood due to the pressure on that spot. E.g. in Yogamudra (symbol of Yoga), the lower abdomen gets positive pressure due to which Kundalini is awakened. Hastapadasana refreshes all nerves in the back of the legs and also in the back. As a result you feel fresh and rejuvenated. Vakrasana gives a good massage to the pancreas and liver and hence is recommended for diabetic patients.

2. Pranayama
Practicing Pranayama is one of the ways of getting rid of mental disturbances and physical ill health. Pranayama means controlled and prolonged span of breath. Prana means breath. It also means life force. Ayama means controlling or elongation. Just like a pendulum requires twice long to come back to its original position, the exhalations in Pranayama are twice longer than the inhalations. The main purpose of Pranayama is to bring mental stability and restrain desires by controlling breathing. Breathing is a function of autonomous nervous system. By bringing the involuntary process of breathing under control of mind, the scope of volition is broadened. Pranayama is a bridge between Bahiranga (exoteric) Yoga and Antaranga (introspective or esoteric) Yoga. A body that has become stable by Asana and has been cleansed by Kriya (cleansing processes) is ready for Pranayama. On the other hand Pranayama prepares the mind and body for meditational and spiritual practice of Yoga such as Dhyana, Dharana and Samadhi. On physical level, practice of Pranayama increases blood in oxygen, subsequently refreshing and rejuvenating the brain and the nerves. Here are a few physical benefits of Pranayama.
a. Lungs, chest, diaphragm become stronger and healthier.
b. Capacity of lungs is increased.
c. Slow changing pressure creates a form of massage to all organs in the stomach cavity.
d. Purifies blood by increasing blood's capacity to absorb more oxygen.
e. Brain functions better with more oxygen in the blood.
f. Neuromuscular coordination improves.
g. Body becomes lean and the skin glows.

There are 8 main Pranayama namely, Ujjayi, Suryabhedan, Sitkari, Shitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murchha, Plavini. Among these, Ujjayi is the most popular Pranayama. Pranayama consists of 4 parts in the following order:
1) Puraka (Controlled inhalation)
2) Abhyantara Kumbhaka (Holding breath in)
3) Rechaka (Controlled exhalation)
4) Bahya Kumbhaka (Holding breath out).

The ratio of these parts to each other is generally 1:4:2:4 with a few exceptions. Patanjali's Yogasutra agrees with this ratio along with many other scriptures. For the purpose of overall well-being, practicing the first three parts is sufficient. A spiritual practitioner generally practices all four parts including the last one i.e. Bahya Kumbhaka. Such a practitioner also does many more repetitions than someone who does it for general health and well-being. Out of the four parts of Pranayama, it's the Abhyantara Kumbhaka that is essentially identified with Pranayama. There is one more Kumbhaka that happens spontaneously and is called Keval Kumbhaka.

Bandha (Locks) are very crucial to the practice of Pranayama. Mulabandha (locking the anus), Jalandharbandha (locking the throat area or jugular notch), Udiyanabandha (locking the abdomen or diaphragm) and Jivhabandha (locking the tongue) are the four locks that are performed during Pranayama. Depending upon the purpose of Pranayama (spiritual or general health), locks are performed. Mulabandha, Jalandharbandha and Udiyanabandha are the common Bandha performed by everyone. Jivhabandha is mandatory only if done for spiritual purposes.

Characteristics of Yoga

Let's take a look at some of the chief characteristics of Yoga.

1) Yoga is not an exercise.

To understand the concept of Yoga one must keep in mind that the positions in Yoga are not exercises but bodily stretches and maintenance of stretches. You may describe Yoga in terms of Yogic stretches or Yogic practices. Acquiring a body position by stretching the muscles and then maintaining this position as long as one's body allows, that is what Yogic stretches are. Yoga requires very smooth and controlled motions and a slow steady tempo. To achieve this one needs to have total concentration of mind while doing Yoga. The movements in Yoga are smooth, slow and controlled. Comparison with others is greatly discouraged. Doing something beyond one's capacity just out of competition generally results in hurting one's body and hence is greatly discouraged. Breathing in Yoga remains steady unlike many aerobic exercises. Yoga is also Isotonic unlike bodybuilding exercises, which are isometric in nature. In isotonic stretches, length of the muscles increases while tone stays the same as opposed to the isometric exercises in which length of the muscles stays the same while the tone changes. In Isotonic stretches, body is stretched in a particular manner and maintained that way for some time.

2) Longer maintenance and fewer repetitions (as per the body's capacity).

Benefits of Yoga are enhanced with the maintenance of a body stretch. Longer the maintenance better will be the effect. However one cannot force oneself into maintaining the stretch longer than the body can bear. Each and every position is pleasant and stable (Sthiram Sukham Asanam). Sthiram means steady. Sukham means pleasant and Asanam means a body posture or position. The right position for you is that in which your body remains steady (sthiram) and which is pleasant and comfortable to you (sukham). The moment a stretch becomes unbearable and uncomfortable and the body starts shaking, one needs to come out of that position in a very slow, smooth and controlled manner. There will be more repetitions and shorter maintenance for a beginner. With more practice, the repetitions will be fewer and maintenance will be longer. After doing Yoga one should only feel pleasant and fresh and nothing else. If you feel tired or fatigued or any part of your body aches, it only means that you have tried beyond your capacity.

3) Trust your body. Apply minimum efforts:

With the practice of Yoga, you also learn to trust your body's capacity to progress in terms of flexibility without conscious efforts. As long as the aim is in mind and the body is stretched only to its current capacity, the flexibility develops on its own. One needs to just focus on breath, focus on the present state of the body pose and enjoy that pose as long as it feels comfortable. 'Prayatnay Shaithilyam' means minimum efforts. Although there is an ideal position described and desired for each asana, no one is forced into attaining the ideal position. Yoga is done with the trust that flexibility is acquired after a continuous and regular practice. There is a message here and that is to have faith in the unknown. This message along with the improved endocrine function, better muscle tone, calmer mind and increased positive outlook can be enormously beneficial for recovery from any illness.

4) Focused stretching:
The ability to stretch or pressure one muscle group while relaxing the rest of the body is called focused stretching. For example if a particular Asana is based upon stretching the stomach as the main muscle group (the pivotal muscles), then the rest of the body is relaxed while the stomach is stretched or pressured. One has to watch for unnecessary straining of those muscles that are supposed to be relaxed. Initially this is hard to follow nevertheless it becomes easier with some practice. This habit of differentiating between different muscles for the pressure becomes very useful in other areas of life too. It enables you to relax better while driving during rush hour. While doing normal daily tasks it makes you aware of the unnecessary tension on different parts of your body. You are watchful even while talking to someone or while brushing your teeth or when stuck in a traffic jam. You learn to ask yourself, 'Am I holding my breath, are my shoulders tense, is my neck stiff, are my fingers curled?' etc. etc. These acts are unnecessary and they dissipate energy. Yoga teaches you how to relax and gives you time free of worries and regrets, impatience and anxieties.

5) Breathing:
Monitoring your breathing is an integral part of Yoga. Common mistakes such as holding of breath or breathing deliberately occur during Yoga. Both these mistakes must be avoided. Holding back on breath gives headaches, fatigue and thus the benefits of Yoga are lost by improper or inadequate breathing.

6) Anantha Samapatti (Merging with the Infinite):

Ultimate goal of Yoga is the amalgamation of self into the greater self. Yuja means to combine or to connect. A connection of Atma and Parmatma is the merging of the body and the spirit. Yoga is a way of life. It's a total integration. According to Patanjali (founder of Yoga), two things define Yoga postures; a stable and comfortable body posture and Anantha Samapatti. Therefore you cannot separate bodily postures from meditation. In fact a body that has become flexible and steady through practice of various positions becomes a good basis for the ultimate transcendental state of mind (Samadhi). The kriya (cleansing processes) purify the body. Mudra and bandha bring the necessary stability of mind and concentration, initially on one's breathing (pranadharana) and then on God (Ishwarpranidhana). Initially the mind wanders a lot and that's o.k. One should let it wander. Later one should count his breaths and should observe the inner and outer flow of air through the air passages. (pranadharna). This will enable him to concentrate better on himself (sakshibhavana). In the beginning it will be difficult to concentrate since the body postures are not that steady. But with practice it becomes better and better. For this one must purposely take away his mind from body posture and focus it on to the breathing process (pranadharana).

Benefits of Yoga

If you follow the basic rules, several benefits can be reaped. Maintenance of body stretches makes the body supple, lean, flexible and stable. Breathing techniques purify the blood and cleanse nasal passages and sinuses. Stress relief is the greatest of all the benefits. Relaxing positions in Yoga teach you to relax your muscles and let the gravity work on your body. The ability to differentiate between tension on different parts of the body, i.e. to stretch one muscle group while relaxing all the others teaches you to relax and not waste energy during your daily routine. The part about concentration is important in providing relief to your mind from worry and stress of everyday activities. Here is a detailed look at some of the major benefits of Yoga.

1. Stress relief

Stress, tension, anxiety are the inevitable features of modern day life. Yoga offers many techniques to cope up with the stress and anxiety. A stress free mind reduces the chances of catching a disease to half, this has been widely known by now. Yoga teaches very effective breathing and relaxing techniques to achieve this. Yoga also helps you to feel relaxed quicker and raise your energy reserve by teaching you how to let the gravity work on your body. Half of the fatigue in any activity comes from improper and inadequate breathing and by holding breath unnecessarily. Yoga teaches you how to breathe adequately and how not to make your body tense and stiff while doing other daily tasks too. The principle of focused stretching teaches you how to not waste energy during your daily routine. It makes you aware of the unnecessary tension on different parts of your body. Yoga teaches you to relax fully and gives you time free of worries and regrets and impatience and anxieties. People having busy schedules who are used to being in action all the time, must understand that relaxing is not a crime or not a waste of time. On the contrary it gives you new energy to do your tasks better.

2. Feeling energized and refreshed

Adequate breathing plays a great role in rejuvenating and refreshing mind and body. Breathing techniques in Yoga provide abundant supply of oxygen to the lungs, cleanse nasal passages and sinuses and thus help feel refreshed. A body that has become lean and flexible with stretches and maintenance of the stretches gets purified by breathing techniques and becomes energized. Various Yoga stretches induce a balanced secretion of hormones, which subsequently rejuvenates the whole body and one feels refreshed and energized as a result.

3. Flexibility of mind and body

Apart from the relaxing effect, yoga also consists of many body stretches which when maintained for a few minutes give a wonderful flexibility to our muscles. One starts wondering, 'Am I the same person who used to be so stiff?' In many chronic disorders of the spine, Yoga has helped many people to reduce the frequency and intensity of the disorder such as spondylitis, arthritis etc. Maintenance of body stretches makes the body supple, lean, flexible and stable. In the process, not only your body but also your mind becomes flexible. The mind acquires faith that things can change favorably given enough time.

4. Relief from chronic disorders

Yoga is particularly good for having control over breath and spine. Breath and spine are like wild animals. You force them to do something they pounce on you. You coax them, be patient with them, they can be tamed to any extent. Many Yoga stretches make the spine strong and flexible. Time and again Yoga has proved to be a blessing for all kinds of disorders of the back. The technique of exhaling twice longer than inhaling (Pranayama) gives abundant supply of oxygen to blood and many impurities of blood are cured. The deliberate exhaling technique (Shwasanmargshuddhi) cleanse the nasal passage and the sinuses. They help get rid of chronic sinus trouble or clogging of nasal passage for many people. That makes the lungs and respiratory organs stronger. The abdominal breathing technique (Kapalbhati) helps people with asthma or weak diaphragm to breathe easily.

5. Focus of mind

Practice of Yoga helps in getting better focus of mind. Meditation, being part of Yoga, teaches you how to focus better and achieve more from any activity. Dharana, which means narrowed focus on a subject by restricting Chitta (mind) is one of the 8 limbs of Ashtangayoga. It teaches you to get rid of all other thoughts from the mind and focus on the target. People have benefited enormously in terms of focus of mind by doing meditation (Dhyana) and Dharana throughout all ages.

6. Benefits at not-so-perfect level

Even if one cannot achieve perfection in an Asana, the benefits of an Asana are still available at a not-so-perfect level such as calmer mind, better flexibility, better blood pressure, lower pulse rate and better endocrine function. Whatever state of Asana one is in, if one maintains the pose comfortably, body gets the necessary massage and stretch. There is a better secretion of endocrine glands as a result of the steady and sufficient stretch. The brain cells get the necessary signals and mind becomes calmer. Breath is more controlled and as a result feels refreshed. All of this happens regardless of the level of perfection. It's the steadiness and level of comfort that's more important than perfection.

Origin and philosophy of Yoga:


Among the many proponents of Yoga, Patanjali (2nd century B.C) is the most well known and most revered of all and is well accepted as the founder of Yoga. His book Shripatanjali Darshan which is a collection of hymns (also called as Patanjali's Yoga Sutras) is held in high esteem by the experts and practitioners and is known as one of the most revered reference book (a workbook for actual practice) on Yoga. Patanjali's Yoga is called Patanjala (that of Patanjali) and is also considered as Rajayoga, which means the royal Yoga or the supreme, sublime Yoga since it consists of practices that lead to spiritual liberation (Moksha). Rajayoga is a part of Sankhya philosophy and is known to awaken Kundalini (Complete opening of Chakra when reached in transcendental state of meditation) and results into complete spiritual enlightenment if practiced regularly.

Patanjalayoga is also called Ashtangayoga since it has 8 dimensions or 8 limbs. Ashta means 8 and Anga means dimension or a limb in Sanskrit. Yama (Rules for the social life), Niyama (Rules for personal development), Asana (Yoga Posture), Pranayama (Prolonged and controlled breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (narrowed focusing on a subject), Dhyana (continued experience of meditation), Samadhi (transcendental state in which there is only an essence of pure existence) are the 8 limbs of Ashtangayoga. The first four dimensions make up the exoteric (Bahiranga) part of Ashtangayoga while the last four dimensions make up the esoteric (Antaranga) part of Ashtangayoga. Out of the 8 limbs of Ashtangayoga, Asana and Pranayama are the only two limbs that generally stand for the term Yoga in its most popular form.


In the 15th century A.D. Yogi Swatmaram founded one of the six systems of Yoga called Hathayoga. Although the term Hatha in Sanskrit means being forceful, Hathayoga is not about Hatha but is about the balance between the two principles of the body. Ha and Tha are essentially symbols. Ha means surya (sun). Tha means chandra (moon). Right nostril (Pingala) is the Surya nadi while the left nostril (Ida) is the Chandra nadi. Just the way the sun and the moon balance the life cycle of the world; the two nostrils balance the life cycle of the body. Nadi is a channel through which the life force flows. Hathayoga helps to maintain this balance by correcting the functional disorders of the body and bringing mental peace. Hathayogapradipika is the standard textbook on Hathayoga written by Yogi Swatmaram. Hathayoga accepts Patanjala Yoga as standard. Although it's a completely independent school of philosophy in its own right, it's essentially based upon the philosophy of Rajayoga expounded in Patanjali's Yogasutra.

In fact, every school of philosophy culminates into Rajayoga since the aim of every school is the same as Rajayoga i.e. to attain ever-lasting peace and happiness.

Hathayoga consists of
a. Asana (body positions or stretches e.g. mountain pose, cobra pose)
b. Pranayama (controlled breathing techniques e.g. Ujjayi, Anuloma Viloma)
c. Kriya (cleansing processes e.g. Kapalbhati)
d. Bandha and Mudra (Locks and symbol poses e.g. Udiyana bandha, Jivha bandha, Simhamudra)

As per Hathayoga, Asana, Pranayama, Kriya, Bandha and Mudra are stepping stones to achieve the ultimate psycho spiritual effect of Rajayoga. They create the necessary foundation of stable and calm mind and body for Rajayoga. There are however subtle differences between Patanjala Yoga and Hathayoga. Patanjali emphasizes more on the psycho spiritual effect of Yoga rather than the physical aspects and actual techniques of Asana and Pranayama. His Asana and Pranayama are also much simpler and easier to do than the ones in Hathayoga. For this he recommends least amount of efforts (Prayatnay Shaithilyam) and maintaining a steady, rhythmic tempo and a stable, comfortable body position. Patanjali's Yogasutra discuss Asana and Pranayama only in the chapter of Kriyayoga (part of Sadhana pada) as the tool to achieve physical and mental health. On the other hand, the emphasis of Hathayoga is more on the techniques of Asana and Pranayama, Kriya, Bandha and Mudra.

Philosophy of Yogasutra:

Patanjali's Yogasutra consists of 195 sutra and 4 Pada (sections or chapters): Samadhi pada, Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada and Kaivalya pada. Kriyayoga, the chapter on the actual practice of Yoga is a part of Sadhana Pada (section about the means of study and practice of Yoga). Kriyayoga discusses Asana and Pranayama viz. the physical part of Yoga. Just to give a glimpse of Patanjali's philosophy, here are a few thoughts from the Samadhi Pada and Sadhana Pada of Yogasutra:

According to Patanjali, meaning and purpose of Yoga is to attain Samadhi (ultimate transcendental state in which there is sense of pure existence and nothing else). Yoga is a union of mind and body. It's compared with a calm river, which flows down towards its inclined bed without efforts. Thus Yoga is more than a physical exercise. To be able to concentrate your mind is the greatest benefit of Yoga. Yoga is nothing but self-study. Purpose of Yoga is to be self-aware. Yoga teaches you to be nearer to nature and lead a healthy life. For this you need determination and faith in Yoga.

Tapaswadhyayeshwarpranidhanani Kriyayogah

Tapa (austerities), Swadhyaya (reading of scriptures), Ishwarpranidhana. Tapa is to make body alert and active glowing with health. Swadhyaya is the continuous study to sharpen the intellect. These sadhanas are to be used to wipe out faults of human nature. There are five kleshas (bad tendencies) such as avidya (ignorance), asmita (ego), Rag (attraction-affection), dwesh (hatred) and abhinivesh (self insistence, stubbornness). These five vrittis disappear by Dhyana.

Yogaschittavrittinirodhah. By practice of Yoga, all the functional modifications of the mind completely cease.

Control of your mind is what Yoga is about. You have to involve your mind in the Asana. Asana is an instrument to Yoga. Body postures, maintenance and rounds of an asana are to be done according to one's own capacity. Retention is more desirable than repetition. Meditation cannot be separated from Yoga.

Prayatne Shaithilyam anantha samapatti. While doing Yogasana (Yogic postures), two things need to be observed. One is to be relaxed mentally and physically. The second one is Anantha samapatti. It means to merge with something infinite. Patanjali says that all good things happen when you stop trying hard. You become one with Ishwara, you let go your control and forget that you are in particular body posture. Yoga should be the way of life.

Yoga chitasya malam apakarot, Padena vachanam malam, sharirasya cha vaidyaken yo apakarot. The speech is improved by reading loud a Pada (stanza of a poem) and a physician cures the diseases of body. Similarly, Yoga cures and cleanses an ill mind.

According to Samadhipada, all kinds of mental and physical problems such as disease, laziness, doubts and suspicions, disobedience, misunderstandings, temptations, unhealthy thoughts are the modifications of Chitta (mind). Consequences of these modifications are unease, instability, shakiness and disturbances of inhalations and exhalations. Patanjali says that through total concentration and steadfastness and a regular practice of Yoga, one can get rid of all these problems.

Ishwarpranidhanadva However if that is very difficult for someone, there is another way to achieve total health and peace and that is to surrender to God (Ishwarpranidhanadva). According to Samadhi pada, when you have no knowledge whatsoever, surrender to God completely and you will gain knowledge.

Yoga - Origin and Background

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