Yoga is not just a physical exercise, it's a science that uses techniques, which with practice and patience will allow you to get control over your body and mind and will transform yourself into a better self. It is an aid to establishing a new perception of what is real, what is necessary, and how to become established in a way of life which embraces both inner and outer realities.
Yoga means "union". If you can break the limitations of the illusion that you are "separate", and begin to experience the oneness of the existence, that is Yoga.
This way of life is an experience that can not be understood intellectually and may only become living knowledge through practice and experience.
Right now the number of people practicing Yoga is growing in a big way. This could be simply because the scientific community is slowly beginning to recognize the depth and dimension of what this is. But with so many types of Yoga available in the Yoga studios, it might be confusing, for someone making his first steps into Yoga, to choose what type of Yoga is better for him.
So today I'm going to share a few information about the two most basic and well known worldwide practices, Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga, so you can have a more clear image about what they actually are and what they include. Ashtanaga and Hatha yoga are different in theory and practice though the objective of spiritual upliftment is common to both.
The word “ha” means sun, “ta” means moon. “Hatha” means Yoga bringing balance between the sun and the moon in you. However, the literal meaning of the word ‘hatha’ is force; therefore, it refers to a set of physical techniques.Hatha yoga is generally considered to be a gentle and slow yoga class. It is a preparatory process of Yoga, with the physical exercise preparing the body for a higher possibility. You may elevate your consciousness, if consciously you're moving your body through postures (asanas), while connecting and being aware of your breath during each posture. I do recommend it for beginners, because in Hatha Yoga you have the time to understand and perform the right alignment in each asana. A sequence like the most Yoga videos you might have seen online, is not necessary. You can stay in each posture for a bit longer. This way you can improve your flexibility (and strength depending on the posture), as well as you get more familiar with using your breath correctly during the practice.
Reduces anxiety and stress levels
Increases physical strength
Improves physical fitness
Brings awareness in your breath
Expands your life force
Allows you to take your time and learn alignments correctly.
More awareness and concetration in all other daily activities
Ashtanga yoga is a structured and dynamic type of yoga, and follows a set sequence of poses.Ashtanga Yoga translates to 8 limbed yoga as taught by the great Patanjali. Those 8 limbs, basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline. they bring attention toward one’s health, and help us acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga
Yama : Moral Disciplines
The 5 Yamas are:
Aparigraha: non covetousness
Niyama : Positive attitude towards ourselves
The 5 Niyamas are:
Tapas: spiritual austerities
Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
Isvara pranidhana: surrender to the Divine
Asana : Posture
Pranayama : Breathing Techniques
Dharana : Focused Concentration
Pratyahara : Withdrawal of the senses
Dhyana: Meditation or contemplation
Samadhi: Enlightment / Bliss. A state of ecstasy
Improves well being
Easy pain and discomforts
Promotes a healthy way of living
Helps bones formation
It's nice to explore and try different types of yoga and teachers to practice with, so you can find exactly what feels better for you. As the number of teachers around the world is increasing rapidly, unfortunately there are many chances as well for you, to practice in places that the environment might not be what you expected or you might find yourself practicing with people that won't pay attention on your alignment or to your physical difficulties if there are some, due to lack of knowledge or simply lack of attention and willingness. On the other hand you might get a class that the energy in the class and the way you will be feeling after it will leave you speechless and wondering why you didn't try Yoga before. Everything is possible, but my point is that if you get in a class and it simply doesn't feel right, quit on that class, don't quit on Yoga. If you find the right class and the right teacher for you, you will see your life literally changing for the best. If you practice consistently, transformation to your whole being and existence will occur. I hope these information was helpful and hope you will find what you're looking for.
Love & Light