How To Yoga The Right Way

Yoga is everywhere these days as social media platforms shows the aesthetics.

Instagram feeds are full of flexible people on tropical beaches.

Whilst yoga may be advertised as this ideal, making beautiful and often impossible positions it is not the reality or the core of the practice.

How to do yoga the right way may be confusing in this day and age of social media.

Let’s get back to the basics of yoga and discover where it all started.

Beginning in India, Yoga is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning to join together.

A complete union of the mind, body and soul, and returning to one’s inherent peace.

Whilst the Western world first adopted the physical postures for aesthetic gains.

Yoga today has developed with a greater understanding of the Eastern traditions and wisdom teachings,

With many seeking a deeper meaning from their practice.

Traditionally the desired effect was to sit longer during meditation, stilling the mind and letting go of the ego.

The aims of the physical side of yoga are in the embodiment, the feeling of being grounded and the cultivation of awareness, intelligent alignment and mobility in the body, all from a place of strength, balance and non-judgement.

Yoga is the balance within the mind and the body, created with the breath as the guide.

This could be the asanas, the breathing technique or the connecting flow in between.

Yet, in spite of the differences, there are certain commonalities among the many and varied forms of yoga.

Below you will find some yoga basics.

What you need to know and understand before you take yoga.

Gomukhasana pose

Asanas:

The term asana literally means seat. In yoga, asanas are poses or postures.

They are positions the practitioner places his or her body into to reach the goal of the practice.

Asanas comprise the 3rd limb of the Astanga.

Many may argue that yoga starts and ends with the asanas.

They are essential elements of many types of yoga including Hatha Yoga and its offshoots.

Various asanas are practiced in yoga.

Some include the Bharadvajasana (an asymmetrical twist), the Gomukhasana (Cow-face pose) and the Utthita Parsvakonasana (an abdomen muscle toner).

There is also the Parivrtta Parsvakonasana or revolved side angle pose.

Some basic asanas include the Dhanurasana or Bow, the Parvatasana (Mountain), the Jatara Parivartanasana or Crocodile for fat reduction and pelvis stretching Supta Virasana.

In many types of yoga, asanas combine with pranayama (breath).

A common example of this is the Sun Salutation.

This, as the name suggests is the greeting of the sun.

It consists of a number of movements interconnected into a series and linked through the breathing techniques.

Bow Pose

Bhakti:

Bhakti is love or devotion.

It is the root of some forms of yoga, including Bhakti Yoga.

Those who opt to focus on Bhakti are choosing to follow a religious path.

It is a route with the aim of achieving union with the Absolute.

Dyhana:

This is the term for meditation.

It comprises the 7th limb of the Astanga.

Dyhana is a form of mind control.

It is a means of stopping and realizing through the meditative state all existence.

It’s a step along the path towards Perfection

Mantra

Mantra:

A Mantra is a sacred sound or word.

It is repeated in yoga verbally or internally to achieve a meditative state.

A Mantra is a tool to help the practitioner obtain spiritual transformation.

The word, syllable or sound is usually simple and short.

The best-known Mantra is OM. OM or Aum is also the most sacred of Mantras.

Whatever the choice of Mantra, there must always be intent.

A practitioner chants with willfulness.

Mudra:

A Mudra is a symbol.

In yoga, this is a specific and symbolic hand gesture (hasta mudras).

There are many types of hand gestures.

Traditionally, there are 24 mudras.

Yoga may have an infinite number.

Hand Mudras are based on Hindi concepts of the flow of energy and the 5 elements.

These are fire, air, ether, earth and water.

Each digit on the hand represents an elemental force with the power to help conduct and direct the flow of energy.

The thumb is fire, the forefinger air, the middle finger is ether, the ring finger is earth and the little finger or pinky is water.

Niyama:

Niyama is the personal attitude of the practitioner.

It is the 2nd limb of the Astanga.

Traditionally, there are 10 Niyamas.

Others state there are 5.

These are personal codes for living your life.

They involve

• Sauca or purity of the mind and body

• Samtosa or contentment with your lot or reality in life

• Tapas or balance and strength of being

• Svadhyana or self-examination

• Isvarapranidhana or the celebration of the Spiritual or the Divine

Pranayama breathing

Pranayama:

Prana means life force or energy.

Yama means stretch, expand or regulate.

Pranayama combines these 2 terms to indicate control of the breath.

Pranayama is the 4th limb of Astanga.

It is the control of breath or breathing.

It usually works in close relationship with the practice of Asana.

Pranayama techniques or methods vary according to the asana as well as the type of yoga a practitioner chooses to follow.

There are 5 traditional breathing techniques:

• High Breathing

• Low Breathing

• Middle Breathing

• Complete or Total Breath

There are also different types of breath. These include

• Ujayyi or victorious breath – full-lung breathing

• Kapalabhti or breath of fire – a cleansing breath

• Nadi shodbana or alternate nostril breathing

• Sitali Pranayam or cooling breath

All forms of breath and techniques are to help the student achieve the goal within the specific form of yoga.

Yogic breathing is an aid in both understanding how we breathe and helping us tap into the vital life force of breath.

As is the case with much of yoga, breathing is and should be mindful

Vinyasa:

Vinyasa is the term used to describe the fluid movements from 1 asana to the next.

It is the sequence of asanas.

Vinyasa is breath-synchronized movement.

The term may mean to place in a certain way. It is also mindful movement in most forms of yoga.

Vinyasa can also refer to various movements that comprise a Sun Salutation Sequence.

Vinyasa is part of Hatha Yoga.

In Vinyasa Yoga, emphasis is on this particular aspect.

Conclusion:

There are many things to learn in order to be able to understand yoga.

The basic terminology can be confusing.

The implementation of terms and their application may also vary within the different forms of yoga.

There are, however, commonalities that bind the diverse types of yoga together.

They provide a commonality that is stronger than the differences.

Understanding this will help a beginner grasp the basics clearly before moving further along the path.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post or this site in general.

I will answer all the comments on my website personally so drop me a line below if you have any Yoga questions or comments.

I’m happy to help any way that I can.

copywrightNamaste Shane.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

8 thoughts on “How To Yoga The Right Way”

  1. hello, i really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. it is true that the basic terminology of yoga can be confusing but if you get a hold of it, it becomes easier. i am less than 2 months old in yoga class and i can say it refreshes the soul and the mind

    Reply
  2. I loved your poem and its contents. Yoga has been something that I’ve wanted to try out for ages but I still haven’t gotten round to it. I am pretty flexible, at least I used to be. However, they say you have to really be in touch with yourself and know how to switch off. Which honestly, I’m no good at, I constantly have thoughts going through my head. 

    I really enjoyed reading about the history and origins of yoga! 

    Reply
    • Hello Hollie, 

      Thank you for your comments. 

      It can be quite difficult to shut down the mind. 

      Practice makes it easier.

       Kind Regards Shane

      Reply
  3. Wow! Thank you for this amazingly useful article!

    I am among those who like to do yoga. Because yoga is easy to do and can be done anywhere also has a million amazing benefits for the body.

    But to be honest, I never memorized the name of the yoga movement. Lol . But because of this writing, I try to remember it.

    And what you write is true, that yoga has several style. As far as I know there is:
    1. Hatha Yoga: which teaches breathing techniques with slow movements (I like this style)
    2. Ashtanga Yoga: this is a type of yoga that moves quickly, and once I was injured because I followed this style (believe me, beginners like me won’t like it)

    However, whatever the style, I like to practice yoga. Usually I do 15 minutes after I wake up and 15 minutes before I go to sleep.

    How about you?

    Reply
    • Hello Ronny,

      Thank you for the comments. 

      Happy to hear you are a regular student of yoga. 

      As long as you do yoga it does not matter if you remember the names.

      Kind Regards Shane.

      Reply
  4. Hello Shane,
    I still remember the benefit of yoga on my wife during the prenatal period of my first son, before that I already realized the power that environmental elements had on my psychic state when I surrendered to the sounds of the torrent behind the the barn, today I and my wife are followers of this lifestyle that is yoga and we fully enjoy all the possible benefits, thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Hello Moi, 

      Thank you for reading my post. 

      Appreciate the comments. 

      Glad to hear yoga helped you and your wife. 

      Kind Regards Shane.

      Reply

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