What is Yoga?
What is Yoga?
Yoga’s literal meaning is “to yoke” or “Union” and refers in the context of philosophy, or theology, as a practice or method used to create union of our physical mind and body to the spiritual. It has its origins in the East, specifically Hinduism from India but also can be seen in Buddhism & Jainism. There are many variations of the yoga practice. Some of the first, described in the ancient spiritual text the Bhagavad Gita, include Jnana Yoga (the yoga of knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of love & devotion), & Karma Yoga (the yoga of action). Over time the concepts of Tantra yoga, Raja/Kundalini Yoga (the yoga of awareness), & Ashtanga Yoga came about. Ashtanga Yoga, or the practice of 8 limbs, or areas, explain metaphysics, ethics, and define techniques to increase awareness of which the first 4 work with purification and the last 4 work with focus, non attachment, and dedicated meditation leading to a state of universal consciousness or “samadhi”. Of this derived Hatha yoga, which focuses on the 3rd of the 8 limbs, poses or “Asana”. These poses, often paired together with breathing techniques were designed to prepare the body for positions of meditation. It is from Hatha yoga where more modern practices, such as Bikram & Vinyasa that we are more familiar with in the West, derive from. The 4th limb of Ashtannga yoga is Pranayama which are techniques dealing with the breath and are also incorporated into the more modern physical practices, such as the Vinyasa, that we primarily practice in our studio.
We could talk/write for hours about this subject but if you’re interested here are some links to YouTube videos with explanations form the philosopher Alan Watts which we find to be a great explanation:
No particular yoga is better than another, and if the physical side of it is all one wants to explore that’s totally fine. They are quite good for you. Whatever type of yoga you works for you and how ever it may serve you is totally fine, as long as it does serve you.
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa yoga is a more modern evolution of the physical techniques of Hatha yoga. It is also referred to or similar to “Ashtanga Vinyasa”, “Power Yoga”, & even “Flow Yoga”. It involves sequences of poses which link together in harmony with one’s breath in a sort of dance like movement. Each side of each sequence typically gets linked together with a “Vinyasa flow” which incorporates certain transitions learned in the Sun Salutations. A typical Vinyasa flow session can be in a hot or non hot setting and touches seated poses, standing poses, balancing poses, inversions, back bends, supine movements, core movements, and of course Savasana (the corpse pose), often said to be the most important part of the practice where after the physical work out one can take the time to quiet the mind.
Benefits of Yoga
Some of the said benefits of Yoga & Hot Yoga consist of:
Hot yoga burns, on average, 500 calories per 75 minute class.
Sweating detoxifies body.
Heat allows the body to be loser quicker so to help us take poses further than normal & avoid injury
Yoga in general can improve focus and awareness as well as improve strength, flexibility, balance, cell function, endurance, cardiovascular function, breathing, and can relax both mind and body at the same time.
The original “Hatha Yoga’ was developed first to prepare our bodies to be comfortable in positions ideal for meditation. It also relates to the concept of “purity”, and in the case of the physical body, how that can have a transnational relationship to our own mind as well as our external actions or “karma”.