Laya Yoga And Kundalini Yoga
Laya and Kundalini yoga are closely associated with Hatha yoga but are often presented as being independent approaches.
According to Georg Feuerstein, Laya yoga “makes meditative absorption its focus. The laya-yogin seeks to transcend all memory traces and sensory experiences by dissolving the microcosm, the mind, in the transcendental Self-Consciousness.” There are various forms and techniques of Laya yoga, including listening to the “inner sound” , practicing various mudras like Khechari mudra and Shambhavi mudra as well as techniques meant to awaken a spiritual energy in the body .
The practice of awakening the coiled energy in the body is sometimes specifically called Kundalini yoga. It is based on Indian theories of the subtle body and uses various pranayamas and mudras to awaken the energy known as kundalini or shakti. In various Shaiva and Shakta traditions of yoga and tantra, yogic techniques or yuktis are used to unite kundalini-shakti, the divine conscious force or energy, with Shiva, universal consciousness. A common way of teaching this method is to awaken the kundalini residing at the lowest chakra and to guide it through the central channel to unite with the absolute consciousness at the highest chakra .
It Taught Me To Trust The Process
A lot of the work we do in yoga takes time. Ive had to learn that the work I was doing was getting me somewhere. There were so many times I thought Id never get into a pose, and then suddenly, I would find myself there without realizing it.
Through the years, Ive learned to trust the process and just know its going to work. This lesson has carried over into so many areas of my life and given me a lot more patience than I ever had before.
Age And How We Practice
Does how and when we do our yoga practice change as we age?
The yoga experiment, as we practice it in modern times, is actually a fairly recent experiment. There really isnt any one single answer to: What should older or younger practitioners of yoga do in their asana practice? Just like any other question about yoga asana, the answer depends on the each individuals situation. We were curious though, about how practitioners are choosing to do their practice across different age groups. We found a relationship between age and self-reported consistency of yoga practice .
As age groups increased, a higher percentage of practitioners reported practicing consistently as opposed to off and on.
Practitioners in different age groups also differed slightly in number of days each week that they reported either practicing with or without a teacher , however these differences were small and not linear. What you can see from the tables is that, regardless of age group, practitioners were fairly evenly divided up as far as how many days they practiced each week, whether it was with a teacher or not.
We also found a relationship between age and self-reported average length of an individual practice session . You can see from the table that doing an individual practice session of 2 hours or more decreased as age groups increased.
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Treatise On Yoga Philosophy
Nobin Chunder Paul, a renowned Indian surgeon and scientist, is credited with being the first person to write about the science of yoga – examining ancient Yogic practices through the lens of Western medical science. He spent many decades studying and following the lives of practiced Yogis.
Among many things, he goes into great specificity about the Yogic diet, the chemistry of Pranayama, why Yogis prefer meditating in caves, and the health benefits of asanas and breathing techniques.
The 65 page book was first published in London in 1851.
From The Eight Limbs To Modern Interpretation
Yoga, like any science, is constantly evolving. But yoga is not just a science. Its a philosophy and a way of life that seems to be more and more open to interpretation as it gains widespread popularity around the world.
Yoga began as an ancient practice that originated in India circa 3000 B.C. Stone-carved figures of yoga postures can be found in the Indus Valley depicting the original poses and practices.
Yoga was developed as a way to achieve harmony between the heart and soul on the path to divine enlightenment. Along the way, it was discovered that yoga has a practical benefit of curing many diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, and alleviating physical injuries and chronic pains.
These side effects are partly why yoga has taken off in the West. And as yoga has become increasingly popular outside of India and in so many widely varying cultures, so has the practice cleaved into ;many different schools. Yogas diversion from its roots is a popular topic, and everyone seems to have an opinion.
According to a NPR piece, a group called the Hindu American Foundation has founded a Take Back Yoga campaign to bring yoga back to its original Hindu roots. While an integral part of Hinduism, yoga is itself not a religion ;its a science. People of India, however, do often specify saints or munis in their yoga practice in order to connect with the eternal and divine.
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Our Humble Attempt At Packing 5000+ Years Of The Rich History Of Yoga Into One Article
Welcome to your crash course on the history of yoga!
What youll learn:
- Youll be getting a short high-level overview of the history of yoga.
- Feel free to stop here if thats all you need!
What might surprise you:
- While many people associate yoga with Hinduism, yogic tradition has been influenced by Buddhism, ritual sacrifice, gymnastics, and many other practices.
- Although yoga has been around for millennia, the focus of yoga as exercise blossomed only in the last two hundred years.
We should start by saying history can be subjective. Attempting to represent the complete history of yoga would be almost impossible, especially in one article.
There is still debate on the origins of yoga, and it’s pretty clear that there is no single fixed yogic tradition.
However, heres what we can all agree on:
- Yoga is a group of spiritual, mental, and physical practices that began in ancient India.
- Historically, yogic tradition primarily focused on how to cultivate spiritual liberation.
- Today, most of the world views yoga as a physical practice of asanas and vinyasas .
We’ve divided our article into a few sections:
Without further ado, lets dive in.
For a quick summary on the history of yoga, look no further!
Feel free to skip the rest if this is all you need
The history of yoga is complex, but here’s a quick summary:
How did yoga begin?
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An Example Of Changing Rules
Let’s take rules about golf clubs. In the beginning, there weren’t any. Until 1908, rules referred to a “club’s length” and playing a ball with “any club,” for example, but did not include any further details about requirements for those clubs. The 1908 rules introduced a restriction on having any mechanical “contrivance” on the club head.
In 1910, a notable split came between the USGA and the R on the topic of center-shafted putters. The USGA accepted them, whereas the R declared them to be illegal. This difference lasted until the joint rules were published in 1952, when it was declared that the shaft of the putter could be attached to the head at any point.
The latest change in the rules concerning golf club conformity is to the groove rules that took effect on January 1, 2010. A memorandum in February 2011 to those entering the US Open, US Women’s Open, and US Senior Open informed them that some uncertainty about conformance had arisen in some cases, and that the USGA planned to provide a testing service without charge, if needed.
How much influence do the rules of golf have? Some golfers don’t care about the rules, and just want to have a good time. They’ll use non-conforming golf balls, take mulligans, and shift their golf ball around if they don’t like the location. Others take the rules much more seriously. And professional golfer John Daly says, “The only rules I follow are the rules of golf.”
Two Years Ago I Started Doing Yoga Every Day Today Im Sharing How Yoga Changed My Life And How It Can Change Yours Too
Two years ago, I set a goal to do yoga every single day. And, I did. For a really long time.
I havent kept up a two year streak of daily practices, but still to this day, yoga is a regular part of my life. Its something I do most days, even after all this time.
Its taught me a lot. In fact, you could go so far as to say yoga has literally changed my life. Today, I wanted to share a bit more about my yoga journey, what its taught me, and how its changed my life over the years. I hope it encourages you to give it a try!
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How Yoga Has Evolved Over The Years
The new styles of “yoga” that are gaining popularity around the world are fun, fast and will make you serene while working on a six-pack, it has been claimed.
While acro-yoga “blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics and the loving kindness of healing arts”, naked yoga, which many may not deem “fun”, is certainly racy.
In hip hop yoga you do sun salutations to the soothing sounds of Eminem and in “Doga” people essentially use their dogs as props to deepen their poses.
Two new recent styles are stand-up paddleboard yoga and hoop yoga.
Charlotte Piho of Work Out On Water paddled into the middle of a lagoon on her paddleboard to do her daily yoga ritual on a day when she found there were no waves to surf and it was too hot to go inside for a yoga class.
Her lessons in Sydney begin with a gentle paddle, but once you’re out on the water it’s yoga as usual.
Similarly, Gloria Tong found a way to fuse yoga with her other passion – hula hooping.
After attending workshops in the United States, where it’s a “big scene”, she began hooping in Sydney.
Tong felt that traditional yoga moves, or asanas, and the flow of hooping were a natural fit.
“I think different types of yoga are making yoga more accessible to everyone,” Stuff.co.nz quoted Tong as saying.;”It always comes back to the same principles of yoga: breathing, connecting and moving with your body,” she said.
Age And Yoga Experience
Is there a relationship between age and self-reported impacts and experience of yoga practice?
While you will certainly find recommendations out there from a variety of angles on what students should or should not do with their yoga practice as they age, theres very little information about what practitioners are actually doing differently, if anything, as they age. We were curious about yoga and aging, specifically whether yoga practice was or was not being done differently among different age groups. We summarized the practice habits and experiences in four age groups surveyed in our study. The age groups included were: 30 years old or younger, 31-45 years old, 46-60 years old, and 61 years or older.
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Mahabharata And Bhagavad Gita
Heralded as one of the worlds greatest stories, the Mahabharata tells the epic tale of a family divided by war, interwoven with a myriad of philosophical and spiritual lessons.
Its sometimes referred to as the longest poem ever written, at about 1.8 million words in total and 200,000 individual verse lines.
Its a bedrock of Indian culture and history. Some compare its influence with the likes of the Bible, the Quran, Shakespeare, and other great works.
According to the Mahabharata, the purpose of yoga is the experience of uniting the individual with the universal Brahman. It explores yoga in more depth in one of its most famous sections, the Bhagavad Gita .
The Gita details the conversations between warrior prince Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna. Arjuna is conflicted with despair and moral dilemmas about waging war, and Krishna calls upon him to uphold his Dharma, or duty.
In their rich dialogue, were introduced to three types of yoga:
- Karma yoga: The yoga of action
- Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion
- Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge
One of the primary messages for Arjuna is to uphold one’s Dharma to achieve Moksha .
In modern times, The Gita has served as inspiration to many.
- Gandhi, the leader of the nonviolent movement for Indias independence, leaned on The Gita in dark times for comfort and strength.
- Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, praises The Gita as Indias biggest gift to the world.
Age And Aspects Of Yoga Practice
As we age, does our interest in the different aspects of a yoga practice change?
We might start yoga practice for one primary reason and continue on for an entirely different reason or our primary reason for doing the practice might remain basically the same. We were curious about the ways in which yoga and aging might be related. Were practitioners reasons for starting a yoga practice related to age group? We did find a relationship between yoga and aging with regard to a primary reason for starting a yoga practice . The percentage of practitioners who reported beginning a yoga practice for physical reasons and for other reasons increased as age group increased, while the percentage of practitioners who reported starting a practice for mental or emotional reasons decreased as age group increased.
Interestingly, we also found a relationship between age and having taken a yoga philosophy class . The percentage of practitioners who reported having taken a yoga philosophy class increased as age groups increased. This suggests that while the potential benefits of the physical aspects may draw in older participants, there is also a strong interest in the context and philosophy of yoga as we age.
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It Taught Me To Slow Down
Throughout my entire life, I have rushed through everything. Im impatient and want instant results. When things take longer than I expected, I tend to get angry and frustrated.
But, with yoga, Ive learned to just take it slow. Theres no rushing in yoga. In fact, the biggest physical challenges Ive experienced seem to come from the slowest practices!
Vivekananda’s Appearance In Chicago
Swami Vivekananda was born in 1863 in a well-to-do Calcutta family. As a young man, he became a disciple of the mystic Ramakrishna and took monastic vows shortly before his teachers passing. After traveling in India for five years, Vivekananda left India to travel to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, an interfaith conference held during the massive;World’s Columbian Exposition.
According to the legend that has grown around Vivekanandas appearance at the Parliament, despite travel difficulties and nervousness, the swami addressed the crowd as sisters and brothers of America to thunderous applause. Vivekananda then rode the wave of success and lectured, wrote books, and opened branches of the Ramakrishna Mission known as Vedanta Societies during two separate U.S. tours.
The approval given to Vivekananda at the Parliament in Chicago was not unique to him, however. In the account of the Parliament published by its president John Henry Barrows, applause was also freely given to the other speakers as part of the self-congratulatory spirit of the Parliament. And Vivekananda did not just receive praise at the Parliament. Barrows also noted that very little approval was shown to some of the sentiments expressed by Vivekananda in his closing address.
Vivekananda sitting center among a group of men.
Jim Navy/Flickr Creative Commons
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It Showed Me That Fitness Is About More Than A Bikini Body
Like many women, Ive always had body issues. My workouts were always part of a desire to fit into a certain size pants or look good in a bikini. Its all I ever associated exercise with. But yoga has taught me that fitness is about so much more.
Its about being able to catch my breath when Im tired, and having strength to do the things I used to struggle with. When I get on the mat, I dont picture myself looking like a model on the beach. Instead, I picture myself running and playing with my kids, taking my dogs on walks, and even being able to unload my groceries without feeling winded.
My body now craves movement in ways it never did before. I can tell when Ive taken too long off the mat, and I actually want to return. Fitness is no longer a punishment, and its no longer something I do to change myself. Its something I do to make myself feel better, inside and out.