Before You Begin Learn The Types Of Yoga

Yoga in the Middle East

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There are quite a few "types" of yoga. A traditional physical and mental discipline originating in India, yoga has been practiced for centuries, and is a sequence of positions and postures, synchronized with your breathing, designed to improve mind, body and soul. Ultimately, as you venture through the various stages, the result will be a more developed, focused mind, improved fitness and, if you are a spiritual person, a stronger connection with the universe! However, given the number of different styles of yoga, it's often difficult for future practitioners to know exactly where to begin or which type is most appropriate for them. [Read more...]

Learn Ashtanga Yoga For Strength And Flexibility

Yoga postures halasana
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Ashtanga is a more physically intense form of yoga than most, which is one of the reasons for its' immense popularity. This can make it more challenging to learn however. There are two main ways it is taught - a more traditional approach pioneered by Pattabhi Jois in India, and an adapted form of the primary series developed by teachers here. One of the questions many beginners may have, is do they actually need a class to learn this style anyway? An associated question is what makes it so different? By addressing these issues, it is much easier to learn ashtanga in a way that promotes true benefits, as well as avoiding some of the frustrations that beginners may face.
Pattabhi Jois was a lifelong student of Krishnamacharya, one of the most well known Indian yoga teachers this century. Krishnamacharya may have developed the system of ashtanga, but it was Jois who adopted it as his own. Through Jois' patronage, ashtanga became popular in India and the West. When students traveled to Jois' school in Mysore, India, they were taught as much as they could do of the Primary Series at a time.

The Primary Series is the first series of asanas. There are later, more advanced series, but everyone starts with this one. However, because of its' dynamic and athletic nature, the Primary Series is generally too much for a beginner to learn in one session. So, Jois would teach one, or a few, poses, and once a student had mastered those, he would give them another. Thus, new asanas were gradually introduced, until the whole series was completed.

This was a somewhat slow way to learn ashtanga, and perhaps influenced by the way other styles of yoga are taught, many Western teachers taught beginners a different way. They maintained the essence of the series, but left out some of the more challenging poses until later, and included adaptations of some poses so beginners could do them. Thus, they were able to give beginners both standing and floor postures in one abridged session, all linked by the characteristic vinyasa flow. [Read more...]

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