Question on Yoga Practice

(November 10, 2010)

How often should one practice -- daily, 5x per week? thank you very much

Yoga practice can be done by people of all ages, and it is rapidly gaining popularity due to the numerous benefits it offers. Yoga, which means ‘union’ in Sanskrit, involves the use of various pranayamas (breathing techniques) and asanas (postures) to bring about relaxation and increase strength of the practitioner. Yoga practice can range from mild forms like Hatha yoga to the more strenuous Bikram yoga. Each of the forms of yoga will benefit the body in a slightly different manner.
There are basically eight different types of yoga practice, that are Swara yoga, Mantra yoga, Karma yoga, Hatha yoga, Bhakti yoga, Bahiringa yoga, Kundalini yoga, and Jnana yoga. Certain aspects like technique, history, significance, and origin separate each of the different types of yoga. Hatha yoga practice was started in India by Yogi Swatmarama in the fifteenth century. Many styles of yoga practice, like Power yoga, Kundalini yoga, Ashtanga yoga, and Bikram yoga, have originated from Hatha yoga. The main purpose of Hatha yoga is to bring a balance between the mind and body through asanas, shatkriyas (purification procedures), pranayama, and meditation. Its aim is also to bring serenity to the mind with meditation and relaxation techniques. When you perform Hatha yoga, your body will continue to feel relaxed long after you complete the postures. As Hatha yoga is a mild form of yoga, it can be performed by people of all age groups. The different relaxation techniques will open up the channels of energy enabling the spiritual energy to flow freely.
While Hatha yoga tends to be more traditional, Bikram yoga is quite structured and specific, and it involves all the main components of yoga. Bikram yoga practice commonly known as “Hot yoga” can be quite vigorous as compared to Hatha yoga. However, Bikram yoga also includes the postures and breathing exercises that are commonly practiced in the other types of yoga. The main difference between Bikram yoga and the other types of yoga practice is that the combination of the postures and breathing exercises are performed in a room that is kept at 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps the muscles to become more flexible and supple enabling the postures to be performed with greater ease and reduced risk of injury.
Pilates practice makes use of the practitioners own body as weights to build strength and flexibility. The exercises concentrate on the core muscles that maintain balance in the body and give support to the spine. As the exercises of Pilates are mild, it can be very beneficial to old people, pregnant women, and athletes who are recovering from injuries.

Submitted by A on November 10, 2010 at 05:30

Yoga practice includes breathing exercises and postures which help in increasing strength and bringing about relaxation. The benefits that come from yoga practice exceed that of any other activity. This is because yoga practice not only improves the physical state, but also the state of the mind and spirit. Yoga helps in sharpening and bringing focus and calmness to the mind. Yoga poses are meant to be practiced with awareness and focus on the movements of the body and the breathing patterns. An active and strong mind is as important as an active and strong body. Yoga practice reminds us to breathe in full and deep breaths instead of the shallow breaths we get accustomed to as adults.
The core of yoga practice is the performing of the different yoga positions (Asanas). Each of the yoga positions has particular mental and physical benefits. The different yoga positions can be done in the sitting, standing, prone, and supine position. To perform yoga in the standing position you should position yourself erect with your feet together. The big toes and heels of each leg should touch each other. Your hands should be touching the thighs. Practice of the yoga standing positions help in keeping the pulse stable. Veerasana (Warrior pose), Trikonasana (Triangle pose), and Vrikshasana (Tree pose) are some of the yoga standing positions.
To do the sitting positions you should sit on the ground with your legs together and stretched out. Keep your toes and spine erect and let your palms face the ground. Ardhamatsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist), Sharanagata Mudra (Forward Bending), and Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose) are some of the sitting positions.
Ashtanga yoga refers to the eight limbs of the yoga exercises.  Ashtanga yoga is a way to cleanse the mind of the practitioner by making use of the eight forms of yoga. When practicing ashtanga yoga it is important that each step is perfected before moving on to the next. The ashtanga yoga exercises are intensive and physically very demanding. They are very effective in channeling the energy of restless minds.
The benefits of yoga are numerous. The practice of yoga helps strengthen the body by involving all the muscles to hold the different yoga postures. Yoga also helps in improving flexibility and maintaining the balance of the body. The practice of power yoga is very effective in building endurance and increasing stamina as the exercises involved tend to be very vigorous. However, to experience the benefits of yoga, you should practice it daily and sincerely. Make sure that you are guided by a qualified instructor as some forms of yoga, if not done properly, can cause injury.

Submitted by A on September 21, 2010 at 05:19

Ideally Yoga should be practised on a daily basis. But this also depends on your reasons for taking up Yoga. Ideally, the spiritual intent inculcates a daily, round-the-year practice and delivers best results. Those, on the other hand, seeking just physical, mental or emotional benefits may practice for a few months a year, a couple days every week. Still, we would say, for best results you should do some practices, at least for a few minutes everyday, with a probable weekly holiday, like in all other exercises and practices.

Submitted by A on June 7, 2007 at 04:50

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