Yoga has gone from a little-known, esoteric-looking Indian practice to a reasonably fashionable hobby in the last fifty years. Nonetheless, it is difficult to describe and add to the confusion; the term yoga has been used for thousands of years and has seen various changes in meaning. Let’s look at the growth of yoga and how it is practiced today to understand better what current yoga is.
Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, is the source of the word yoga. It is a literal derivation of the term “yuj “. It is more given the meaning of togetherness nowadays. Yoga is stated to strive to bring the mind, body, and soul together. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a collection of aphorisms published around 250 BC, are a cornerstone of most modern yoga practices.
The Yoga Sutras outline eight different types of yoga. Pranayama (breathing exercises), Dyana (meditation exercises), and asanas (postures) are the three branches most widely performed (physical poses).
ORIGINS THAT COME TO US FROM INDIA
We are not the only ones to practice this form of gentle gymnastics in France, far from it!
More than 250 million people around the world devote themselves to the discipline and all together celebrate the international day of Yoga on June 21, because yes, the practice has its international day!
Born in India some 5,000 years ago, it was created by scholar philosophers to lead every individual to the liberation of the spirit and detachment from material goods (the poor did not yet know smartphones), source of suffering according to them.
Why bring so much importance to this liberation, you will say? It is not I who speak it! or simply because if we do not reach it, the cycle of reincarnation cannot stop, and our soul will continue to float from body to body after our death. At the ogirine and as it was conceived, the discipline is above all a form of spiritual exercise, a form of meditation inspired by sacred and philosophical texts.
However, it has come to us in a more focused form on the physical, sporty side. In Europe, we mainly practice Hatha Yoga, which is a little less traditional. I’m not even telling you about the new types that we can see, like naked yoga, Voga (mixed with dance), or even hot yoga; not sure that the old Indian philosophers would have validated all that!
INDIAN STUDENTS RECEIVING THEIR YOGA CLASS AT THEIR SCHOOL
Well, you will understand, in India, we are not joking about this type of exercise, it is more than a sport, it is an art of living and Yoga classes are even given in schools. If this discipline is taught, it is because it conveys many more values than any other sport, there we are not talking about the Coubertin spirit or what; it is a real treasure of benefits, an art of living.
For your information, namasté does not mean “simer”; it simply symbolizes the belief that there is a divine light within each of us, located somewhere in the heart chakra. Therefore, the term Namaste is a sign of recognition of a soul towards another soul, which means, I bow to you. Yogi and yogini say they are namasté at the end of each class.
What are The Benefits of Yoga?
OPEN YOUR CHAKRAS WIDE AND EMBRACE THE BENEFITS OF YOGA
The big question: gymnastics for the body or the mind? Well, a bit of both! It should be seen as a discipline combining gentle gymnastics and the art of meditation based on moral principles and a proper philosophy borrowing techniques of meditation, relaxation, accentuated by ethical principles (all that)! It is about awareness of your body and mind; remember constantly trying to link the two through body exercises and various postures (called asanas).
The values conveyed are to live in harmony with one’s body and mind and with others, with one’s environment and one’s mind. We are constantly looking for fulfillment and reaching a level of perfection so that our spirit no longer has the urge to reincarnate in a new body when death comes.
If you do not believe in reincarnation at all, that does not prevent you from embracing this discipline because it has much more to offer, especially in terms of the benefits it brings to your body.
Here are some benefits of yoga :
- promotes qualitative sleep
- helps relieve stress and depression
- permits to work your breathing
- promotes relaxation
- allows you to set foot in the world of meditation
- improves energy levels, increases concentration tenfold
- allows overall muscle strengthening, especially of the abdominal strap
- back pain prevention and relief
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF YOGA?
There are a lot of different forms of yoga. All of them are based on the traditional model and can find a specific audience; among these, different types of yoga can be counted the following.
It is the form most practiced by us, a complete form for all promoting flexibility and relaxation; hatha yoga is ideal in stress management.
It is mainly based on tonic and athletic sequences, punctuated by work on breathing which improves concentration and anxiety management and improves strength and endurance.
Dynamic yoga encompasses vinyasa, power (also called Baptist yoga in honor of its creator Baron Baptiste), and ashtanga.
Note that the dynamic form of the yogist discipline is rather intended for those who have no problem with their cardio and have an “advanced” level.
It is characterized by the work done on the alignment of different parts of the body. It is organized around postures using accessories such as bricks, straps, and other blankets. It is excellent for posture and muscle building.
It is a very gentle form that focuses on long stretching sessions combined with slow and deep breathing phases. This one is ideal for those who suffer from back pain and want to improve their flexibility and the overall health of their joints.
Also known as “sleep yoga”, this exercise would significantly improve the quality of your nights. Very gentle, it is comparable to a relaxation or sophrology session and can last up to 1h30 depending on the course. In the end, you will come out of it relaxed, relaxed and can notice lasting effects on your ability to manage your emotions and chase away negative thoughts.
These are just the most common shapes that you can find in schools near you. However, there are many more designs to check out! Some variations move a little further from traditional yogist practice, such as Voga, which we spoke about earlier (a discipline whose name is the contraction of voguing and yoga, voguing being this rhythmic pattern popularized in the 1980s by Madonna).
There is also acro yoga trendy, Bikram (hot yoga), naked yoga (even hotter;)), SUP yoga or very recently the “sound bath” (a kind of course accompanied by vibrations of gong produced). Live). Five thousand years old, the discipline is therefore constantly reinventing itself while retaining the main principles that define it. There are even clubs in New York combining Yoga and Networking; no doubt that some take the opportunity to surf the trend a little!
POSTURES, THE FOUNDATION OF THIS SPORT
What would yoga be without its famous postures (or Asanas)? While some are basic, others are up to the challenge! Many think that yoga is all about stretching. Granted, this is part of the discipline, but the goal of yoga is really to create balance in the body by developing both strength and flexibility. It is done by performing postures, each of which has specific physical benefits.
The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating a small wave of heat in the body (as can be experienced with vinyasa) or more slowly to increase endurance and perfect the alignment of each pose. These yoga postures can be practiced in a heated room (yoga Bikram), on a roof, gym, or even on a stand-up paddle (paddle yoga)!
Also, the poses are a constant link between the disparate branches of the yoga family tree. Asanas are grouped into different families, including:
- Standing postures take up most of the time in most yoga classes. They strengthen the legs and abs, especially when the balance is incorporated.
- Sitting postures, which are used to stretch the muscles in depth.
Standing and sitting postures can include forward bends, twists, and stretching (especially in the hamstrings and hip opening).
Posture names can make you smile.
Am I sure you know at least one? If I tell you Surya Namaskar? Does this mean nothing to you? So, what if I say “Sun Salutation” (Surya = Sun, Namaskar = Salutation)? Ahhh, I knew it! This posture goes back to the very origin of this sport; it was prescribed to perform a Sun Salutation every morning, and if possible, in the evening as well.
The sun represents the source of life, so it is a thank you to perform this exercise; why not do it daily?
“Yeah, but I live in the North, and the sun I can’t see it!” “
Ah, well done! Nice mentality! Now, if you don’t do it for the sun, do it for yourself. Indeed, this posture has many benefits. First, it is excellent for cerebral circulation and your eyes since it involves having your head down, affecting the proper functioning of muscles and your joints.
It is also perfect for stretching your shoulders, arms, back, and legs. It also helps burn fat, improve flexibility, tone muscles, and be beneficial for posture and fighting insomnia! On closer inspection, it looks like a kind of jerky burpee and a bit less violent, don’t you think?
So, are we doing this sun salutation?
HOW TO PRACTICE IT?
At this point in your reading, you should usually be won over and interested in becoming a Yogi (how’s that not?), And just one question burns your lips, am I worthy of the discipline? Can I also take yoga classes? OK, that might not be the question that pops into your head, but you might be wondering whether or not this form of “meditative gymnastics” really has something for you.
If so, can you practice it near you and affordably? And finally, if the budget is too important, is it possible for you to make it at home? In short, the answers to these three questions are respectively yes, yes, and yes, let’s see it all!
FOR WHO? FOR ME? FOR HIM? FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE ALONE?
Whether you are an absolute beginner with the stiffness of broom toilet toilets or even an inveterate yogist having cut his teeth, there is necessarily a form, there, somewhere, which is made for you. This is what we saw in the section dedicated to the different types of the discipline, and if you passed it because you are reading diagonally, there would be no catch-ups!
FOR YOU, THE PERFECT BEGINNER
You are lost in the yogist jungle, and you do not know which way to go; it has been a while since the sport has been summed up for you to watch a Champions League match at the bar with your friends. No worries, yoga is THE ideal “sport” to gently resume and wake up your body. So look for inexpensive classes near you, ideally Yin Yoga classes to start. You can make friends there, flirt, and get your body back in shape before attacking hard! Little by little, build up your strength and when you are ready, take on the dynamic form!
FOR YOU, THE STRESSED PARISIAN
You are the ideal target! Tracked down by your boss, you no longer spend your nights; you gradually lose self-confidence and do not manage to dispel the anxiety that haunts you. Orient yourself towards the Nidra; it is found everywhere, this break in your schedule, you will not regret it, when you get home, you will take a good bath and go directly into the arms of Morpheus (get out of the tub and go to bed before).
You can also try laughter yoga if you feel a little depressed; this aspect is based on what we call the “funny”, these are fun exercises that are practiced in groups and aim to release endorphins and chase away stress. Once the first few minutes of embarrassment have passed, you will see, no one is judging anyone!
FOR YOU, THE PREGNANT WOMAN
There are also some for you ladies, as long as you choose the proper practice. Prenatal yoga is a form of Hatha, but with exercises suitable for pregnancy. This type has a double cap since it allows, on the one hand, to teach the future mother to relax and improve her flexibility through exercises carried out gently while learning to control her sensations, especially that of her child.
The other notable benefit is that this form dedicated to pregnant women will prepare for childbirth by learning breathing techniques and work done on the breath. The future dad can also benefit since the exercises will help mum fight against stress and possible mood swings relating to the first months of pregnancy; what a bonus!
FOR YOU, THE SENIOR WHO FEELS LONELY AND SAD
Some retirement homes offer yoga classes for seniors, but you can find them elsewhere. The ideal forms for the elderly to adopt are laughter, yoga, and Nidra. The first will fight against the loneliness and sadness it generates, while the other will allow the elders to improve their sleep and pain.
In short, at all good, these courses are also well recommended for people who still have the physical resources that those who have difficulty exercising.
FOR YOU, SPORTSMEN
If you are a successful athlete looking for a supplement, yoga can be perfect. It turns out that combinations with bodybuilding or athletics are exciting, among others. The dynamic classes will all be indicated to you; firstly, they will satisfy your athletic side, some lessons can put a strain on your abdominal strap!
On the other hand, they will give you the flexibility that you may not have, and the stretching aspect will be particularly interesting for your joints.
WHERE DO WE PRACTICE IT?
Now that there is something for everyone in the practice of the discipline, the question remains where? If you live in a big city, I don’t worry too much about you, and you have to type yoga classes into google to realize that there is not the offer that is lacking. Small towns are not left out either, even in my home town of 6000 inhabitants, you can find lessons very easily!
The problem is the price of these courses (and here I am speaking, especially to those who live in urban areas). The price of a classic course can range from 10 to 25 €, but it can quickly go up to sixty euros for specific classes, such as prenatal practice or a private lesson at home.
Sometimes the town halls also offer classes. It may be good to inquire about this. You can also get closer to associations or schools. Another solution is to practice at home, relatively cushy.
HOW TO MAKE IT AT HOME?
Practicing at home can be a significant cost-saving idea. However, it might not be the most suitable solution if you are a complete beginner. It would be advisable to have taken one or two lessons beforehand to train a little or bring in a teacher for a private class, once in a while.
Once you know what you’re doing, you can do your course independently in front of videos. YouTube can be an exciting solution, but I would recommend subscribing to an online yoga class platform; instead, there are tons of them! You can also opt for a playful form in front of the Wii with the yoga Wii fit plus solution!
Practicing at home will undoubtedly require purchasing a bit of yoga equipment which you will amply amortize if your practice is sustained over time.
You will need some of these yoga accessories: