Yoga dates back more than 5,000 years in the East. The word “Yoga” came from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning, “to unite or join” This refers to the union of a person’s own consciousness and the universal consciousness. Ancient Yogis believed that integrating the body, mind, and spirit harmonized man with himself and his surroundings. These ancient Yogis devised a way to achieve and maintain this balance through exercise, breathing, and meditation.
Exercise improves circulation, stimulates abdominal organs, and regulates the glandular system, resulting in better health. Breathing techniques were developed on the idea that breath is the source of life. Students of Yoga slowly increase their breathing, gaining breathing control. By focusing on their breathing, they prepare their minds for meditation. Meditation helps students focus the activities of their mind resulting in a “quiet” mind. This does not mean that the mind goes blank which is a general misconception.
Now, the word “Yoga” refers to numerous postural and physical exercises and meditation, but the most common theme is that Yoga improves health and well-being, reduces stress, and promotes self-knowledge. With these main common threads in mind, there are many “types” of Yoga referring to different activities of the body and mind. There are many, many different types but we would like to share some of the most common Yoga types you will find here in the West:
- Hatha: Postural and breathing exercises
- Kundalini: “Chakra” – Freeing up the energy of the base spine
- Bikram: Alignment exercises in 105° hea
- Vinyasa: Also called “Flow” – flows rapidly from one pose to the next
- Ashtanga: Also called “Power” – physically demanding with constant movement
- Iyengar: Alignment and breathing – most used in physical therapy
- Anusara: Alignment and breathing – spirituality based
- Restorative: Relaxation and breathing exercises
- Prenatal: Core, posture and breathing exercises for expectant moms
At Divine Joy Yoga, we base our teachings on the Hatha style Yoga, the foundation of all Yoga styles:
- Hatha is an easy-to-learn basic form of yoga and incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), Dharana & Dhyana (meditation), and Kundalini (Laya Yoga) into a complete system used to achieve self-realization or enlightenment, as well as a good source of stress management and exercise. When starting the session, we sit quietly for a few moments, then we begin the series slowly, with control and grace, being aware of our inner mind as the body peforms the various poses during the class. We take it easy and enjoy.
- Power Yoga, the physically demanding American interpretation of Ashtanga Yoga that combines stretching, strength training, and meditative breathing. Power Yoga takes it further than Ashtanga with many poses resembling basic calisthenics – push-ups, handstands, toe touches and side bends. The pace is the key to this sweat-producing, muscle-building workout, with each move flowing into the next without pausing, making it an intense aerobic workout.
- Gentle Yoga, the opposite of Power Yoga is best for those wanting a more relaxing and meditative experience. It is much less intense and best for people who are not capable of the demand of other types, such as the non-flexible, physically challenged or in poor physical condition. Great for seniors or for physical therapy patients.
- Back Care Yoga is what it says it is. People with chronic back pain benefit from this type of Yoga. This includes a series of Yoga poses such as stretching, flexion and extension, balance flexibility and strength, that increase the ability of one to move better over time. By lengthening connective tissue and improving posture, these exercises help protect against back injury.
- Prenatal Yoga can prepare one for labor and promote your baby’s health. It is another safe method for women to prepare for labor through stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. It focuses on breathing, gentle stretching, postures, a cool down and relaxation. This type of Yoga has been proven to help improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles need for childbirth, decreases lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath, but most important, it decreases the risk of preterm labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension and intrauterine growth restriction.
- Meditation is a technique designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy, and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. This practice helps the individual train his or her mind to concentrate on the inner self in relation to the surrounding environment. It also eases many health issues such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.
Divine Joy Yoga know that by creating physical poses and breathing techniques to develop awareness in our bodies, Yoga helps us become stress-free and physically healthy regardless of where we are in our lives. Check out our weekly schedule and list of locations to start your yoga experience today.