Asal Usul Yoga

About Yoga

The origin of yoga are shrouded in the mists of time. It is believed was revealed to the great sages of ancient India three or four thousand years ago. Yoga literally means ‘ union ‘. Union of atman ( body, mind, and spirit ) and brahman ( the intelligent cosmic ). The ancient yogis had a profound understanding of man’s essential nature and of what he needs to live in harmony with himself and his environment. They perceived the physical body as vehicle, the mind as the driver, and the soul/spirit as man’s true identity; and action, emotion and intellegences as the three forces which pull the body-vehicle. In order for there integrated development these three forces must be in balance. The yogis formulated a unique method for maintaining this balance – a method that combines all the movements you need for physical health with the breathing and meditaton techniques that ensure peace of mind.

There are many forms of Yoga, but Hatha Yoga is the one most commonly practiced. Hatha Yoga concentrates on the physical body as the way toward self realization. It teaches us that gaining control over the body is the key to controlling the mind. A blend of Asana with correct breathing techniques ( pranayama ) bring balance and harmony to the mind, thus creating health, happiness, and fulfillment. Also, develop discipline and the ability to concentrate, which are necessary for meditation, the ultimate goal of yoga.

Ha ( Sun ) Tha ( Moon )

Hatha Yoga emphasizes balancing the opposing forces in the body, such as masculine energy ( the sun ) and feminine energy ( the moon ), left and right, inhalation and exhalation, joy and sadness, and so on, thereby restoring the body to its natural equilibrium.

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Asal muasal yoga tidak diketahui secara pasti. Dipercayai bahwa yoga berasal dari kebudayaan India kuno sekitar 3000 – 5000 tahun yang lalu. Secara bahasa, Yoga berarti penyatuan, akan atman ( kesadaran mikro kosmos ) dan Brahman ( kesadaran makro kosmos ). Para yogi ( praktisi yoga ) di masa lalu memiliki pengetahuan yang luar biasa mengenai kondisi alami manusia dan memahami apa yang manusia butuhkan untuk hidup selaras, baik dengan dirinya sendiri maupun dengan lingkungannya. Diibaratkan tubuh sebagai kendaraan dan pikiran sebagai pengemudinya ( dan jiwa, adalah identitas murni manusia ). Saat ’mengemudikan’ tubuh, pikiran terpengaruh oleh tiga hal, yakni emosi, akal dan aksi. Agar tubuh dapat beroperasi dengan baik maka ketiga hal yang memengaruhi pikiran ini harus dijaga agar selalu berada dalam keadaan yang seimbang. Oleh karenanya, para yogi kemudian menciptakan sebuah metode yang merupakan kombinasi unik antara gerakan yang bermanfaat untuk menjaga kesehatan tubuh fisik dan teknik – teknik pernapasan dan meditasi yang dapat memberikan ketenangan pikiran.

Ada banyak jenis dari yoga, namun yang paling umum dan populer dilakukan adalah hatha yoga. Hatha Yoga menjadikan tubuh fisik sebagai gerbang untuk mencapai self realization / kesadaran diri. Prinsipnya, sebelum menguasai pikiran, seseorang terlebih dulu harus menguasai tubuhnya. Kombinasi asanas yang dilakukan dengan kesadaran napas akan memberikan keseimbangan pada pikiran dan mengembangkan kemampuannya untuk berdisiplin dan berkonsentrasi, yang keduanya adalah hal yang diperlukan dalam proses berkontemplasi/meditasi, yang merupakan tujuan utama berlatih yoga.

Ha ( matahari ) dan Tha ( bulan )

Hatha Yoga menyeimbangkan dua kekuatan yang berlawanan di dalam tubuh, seperti kekuatan maskulin ( matahari ) dengan kekuatan feminin ( bulan ), sisi kiri dengan sisi kanan, tarikan napas dengan embusan napas, kesenangan dengan kesedihan, dan seterusnya, yang akan mengembalikan tubuh ke kondisi alaminya yang seimbang.

Hatha Yoga memfokuskan pada teknik – teknik asanas ( postur yoga ), pranayama ( teknik pernapasan ), mudra ( gestur ), bandha ( teknik pembersihan ), kriya ( teknik pembersihan ) serta relaksasi yang mendalam. Melalui berbagai macam posisi tubuh yang disertai dengan cara bernapas yang benar akan meningkatkan kekuatan, kelenturan, meningkatkan konsentrasi, dan memberikan energi pada tubuh.

sumber : http://www.yogaleaf.com

 

www.iyengaryogaindonesia.com

 

7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

Yoga adalah salah satu latihan yang paling menyehatkan, baik untuk pikiran maupun jiwa. Yoga dapat memperkuat tubuh, otot-otot, meningkatkan kekebalan, menurunkan berat badan, dan melenturkan tubuh.

 

Pada masa India kuno, yoga adalah latihan yang dilakukan untuk melawan penyakit, tetap fit dan juga meningkatkan kekebalan tubuh. Bagi Anda yang ingin menurunkan berat badan, yoga menjadi cara terbaik untuk melakukannya. Berikut adalah enam pose yoga asana yang dapat membantu Anda menurunkan berat badan, seperti dilansir Boldsky.

 
7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

Kategori Sehat Bugar

1. Pose busur

Pose yoga ini dapat membantu membakar lemak pada bagian tersulit dari tubuh Anda. Latihan ini dapat menekan bagian paha, dada perut, dan pinggul. Tarik napas dalam dan keluarkan secara perlahan untuk tetap merasa santai.

 
7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

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2. Paschimottanasana

Ini merupakan latihan yoga yang efektif untuk menurunkan berat badan. Pose ini juga dapat membantu Anda mengurangi lemak di perut dan masalah nyeri punggung.

 
7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

Kategori Sehat Bugar

3. Pose pohon

Ini adalah salah satu pose yoga termudah yang dapat membantu menurunkan berat badan dan menenangkan pikiran. Sebaiknya Anda mengosongkan perut terlebih dulu sebelum melakukannya.
 

 

7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

Kategori Sehat Bugar

4. Bhujasana

Bhujasana atau juga dikenal dengan sebutan pose kobra, sangat baik untuk menyembuhkan sakit punggung. Selain itu, pose ini juga efektif untuk membakar lemak tubuh.

 
7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

Kategori Sehat Bugar

5. Pose kupu-kupu

Pose yoga ini dapat membentuk perut dan paha. Jika Anda ingin mendapatkan kaki ramping, rajinlah mencoba pose kupu-kupu.

 

7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

Kategori Sehat Bugar

6. Pose unta

Frustasi dengan lemak di perut? Pose yoga ini dapat membantu Anda menghilangkan lemak di perut, dada, pinggang, dan lengan.

 
7 Pose yoga yang melangsingkan tubuh

Kategori Sehat Bugar

7. Kundalini

Pose yoga ini dapat membakar lemak di bagian perut dan paha. Selain itu, pose yoga ini juga membantu Anda agar perut tetap rata.

 

Ingin punya tubuh langsing dan perut rata? Lakukan pose yoga asana secara rutin dan rasakan hasil terbaiknya.

 

Kareena Kapoor Rajin Iyengar Yoga Demi Tubuh Seksi

Image

KAREENA Kapoor sedang persiapan syuting film Gori Tere Pyar Mein.

Dalam film yang diproduseri Karan Johar tersebut, Kareena dipasangkan dengan Imran Khan.

Ini untuk kali kedua mereka beradu akting, setelah sebelumnya bermain bareng di film Ek Main Aur Ek Tu.

Film yang disutradarai Punit Malhotra (sutradara I Hate Luv Storys) ini rencana mulai syuting bulan Maret.

“Punit ingin melihatku dengan gaya berbeda di film ini. Selain itu, ada lima lagu di film, yang memerlukan banyak tarian. Aku akan tetap tampil menggoda. Bedanya, tubuhku akan lebih kencang dan fit, karena diperlukan penampilan seperti itu untuk tarian,” jelas Kareena seperti dikutip Indian Express, Selasa (5/2).

Kareena-Imran dijadwalkan latihan koreografi bersama mulai 18-20 hari sebelum syuting.

“Aku sudah banyak melakukan Yoga. Tapi sekarang aku mulai berlatih Iyengar Yoga, lebih sulit. Aku sudah mengikuti dua sesi dan rasanya luar biasa,” ungkap istri Saif Ali Khan itu.

Kareena sempat dikritik terlihat lebih gemuk saat adegan menari bareng Salman Khan di film Dabangg 2.

Konon, ini yang membuat Kareena terpacu untuk mendapat tubuh lebih aduhai di film selanjutnya.

sumber : http://www.tabloidbintang.com

Ternyata Iyengar Yoga sangat terbukti… membuat tubuh jadi fit dan kencang… salah satu manfaat yang di dapat dalam iyengar Yoga ini. Bgaimana dengan anda?

kunjungi

Iyengar Yoga Center Indonesia

JL. Kemang  Raya no 18D

Jakarta Selatan

atau lihat di www.iyengaryogaindonesia.com

 

Cara menguasai pikiran dan tubuh Anda dengan Yoga

Yoga adalah sistem latihan fisik dan mental yang memungkinkan kesadaran seseorang untuk menyinkronkan dengan semangat kesadaran universal. Asal yoga dapat ditelusuri lima ribu tahun yang lalu. Keinginan hidup sehat, kebebasan pribadi dan spiritual melahirkan berlatih yoga. Sejak itu, yoga telah berkembang menjadi media oleh yang satu dapat menguasai pikiran, tubuh dan jiwa. Latihan yoga mengarah seorang praktisi mengalami keselarasan antara tubuh dan pikiran.

Istilah Yoga berasal dari kata Sansekerta ‘yuj’, yang berarti untuk mengintegrasikan. Jadi, yoga mengacu pada penyatuan tubuh seorang individu dengan pikiran dan pikiran dengan jiwa.

Latihan yoga, yang dikenal sebagai Sadhana, adalah seni yang menghubungkan praktisi (sadhak) untuk seluruh akhir dari penciptaan. Praktik (Abhyasa) dari Vairagya (non-menggenggam) dan Meditasi (dhyana) adalah kunci untuk Yoga. Ada berbagai jenis yoga seperti hatha yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Gnana Yoga dan masing-masing bentuk yoga hanyalah cara untuk mencapai tujuan spiritual yang umum dan kesehatan fisik.

Dengan berlalunya waktu, yoga telah menjadi bagian integral dalam kehidupan setiap orang. Dengan manfaat yang luas dan penggunaan, telah menjadi sebuah entitas yang tidak terpisahkan dari kehidupan manusia. Latihan yoga memiliki kekuatan untuk mencegah dan memperbaiki kondisi fisik tubuh manusia. Yoga membantu dalam penyakit penyakit kronis seperti Arthritis, sakit punggung, Gangguan pencernaan, Diabetes, Bronkitis, Dispepsia dan banyak lagi. Praktek yoga adalah penawar yang sempurna untuk kerusakan stres, kecemasan dan gugup. Asana Yoga, ditambah dengan praktek meditasi pernapasan yang tepat dan mengintensifkan stamina, vitalitas dan semangat untuk hidup. Praktek pernapasan yang tepat dalam yoga dikenal sebagai pranayama. Pranayama yoga bertujuan untuk membawa fungsi tak sadar dari mekanisme pernapasan dalam kontrol manusia. Praktek pranayama menawarkan nafsu makan yang baik, kekuatan, standar tinggi kesehatan, kekuatan dan vitalitas. Dengan menghirup tepat dan menghembuskan napas prosedur, pranayama membuat individu seimbang dalam semua kondisi dan situasi. Kecerdasan dikembangkan dan hasil dalam kekuasaan akan ditingkatkan. Dengan praktek Pranayama, pikiran ditarik ke dalam kegiatan rohani yang pasti. Ini mempersiapkan individu untuk ketenangan batin dan ketenangan pikiran dan preset untuk praktek meditasi.

Meditasi berarti keadaan kesadaran, ketika pikiran bebas dari pikiran tersebar dan berkeliaran. Sebagai bagian dari yoga, meditasi membantu praktisi untuk bersantai dan akhirnya drive kesadarannya untuk wawasan yang lebih. Para keadaan meditatif hasil pikiran dalam manfaat rohani dan praktisi pengalaman kebahagiaan tertinggi dan pencerahan. Meditasi tidak selalu berkaitan hanya latihan rohani, tetapi juga memiliki banyak manfaat kesehatan. Dari perspektif fisik yang baik dari seorang individu, meditasi membantu dalam pengobatan banyak penyakit. Meditasi membantu dalam mengurangi serangan kecemasan dengan menurunkan kadar laktat darah. Ini mengarah ke tingkat yang lebih dalam relaksasi dan mengurangi tingkat stres dan kecemasan.

Musik dan berlatih yoga secara intrinsik terhubung satu sama lain. Sejak zaman dahulu, musik dengan tepat dilengkapi yoga dan meditasi. Musik yang menenangkan dapat membantu untuk menjaga pikiran Anda terfokus dan menghapus gangguan pikiran. Musik memastikan cara untuk menikmati perdamaian abadi dan harmoni pikiran. Yang tepat musik Yoga membantu memecahkan kendala kaku pikiran dan menghubungkan seorang yogi dengan keilahian-Nya dalam. Kekuatan musik meditasi memiliki efek bermanfaat dalam merangsang dan merevitalisasi seluruh sistem kekebalan tubuh dan memperdalam proses penyembuhan pikiran. Sejak masa lalu, yoga DVD dan CD telah menjadi buku terlaris dari perusahaan label rekaman banyak. Ada genre yang berbeda dari musik yang dapat menemani Anda dalam sesi yoga harian Anda. Ini bisa menjadi New Age Celtic Musik atau musik Amerika asli, alur Tinggi Yoga jangkauan atau bahkan beberapa nyanyian, himne dan mantra. Bahkan, suara gong, lonceng dan mangkuk dapat mempercepat latihan yoga harian Anda.

Roh Voyage adalah sebuah perusahaan terkenal yang menawarkan berbagai jenis DVD yoga dan CD. Musik dari Roh Voyage mengkompilasi suara dan nada yang sangat dapat menyentuh pikiran dan jiwa dari setiap orang. Musik menenangkan indera, mengangkat pikiran dan menginduksi keadaan kesadaran yang berubah. Segudang koleksi musik Roh Voyage itu mencakup beberapa kategori seperti musik untuk Kundalini Yoga, Gurmukhi mantra, mantra dan Kirtan yang ideal untuk yoga dan meditasi. Nyanyian dan himne untuk sadhana sehari pagi, CD mantra Sansekerta, Penyembuhan dan Musik Terapi Pijat adalah beberapa koleksi eksklusif yang ditawarkan perusahaan. Roh Voyage artis seperti Wah, Shiva Rea, Kaur Khalsa Satkirin, Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur, Kaur Khalsa Suroop Dev, Guru Shabad Singh Khalsa, Bachan Kaur dan banyak lainnya menarik pikiran mendengarkan dan memimpin mereka untuk sebuah perjalanan mistik. Musik meditasi menenangkan dari Roh Voyage memungkinkan Anda untuk bersantai dan reformasi diri Anda ke keadaan ketenangan. Pikiran pengalaman keheningan dan pikiran yang mengganggu yang dihapuskan. Masukkan ke arus suara ilahi dengan musik yoga dari Roh Voyage.

Yoga, dengan menyeimbangkan tubuh dan pikiran, membuka jalan spiritual untuk mencapai pencerahan diri. Dengan proses Asana yoga, meditasi dan pernapasan, seseorang dapat melawan stres sehari-hari dan monoton. Yoga menyeimbangkan dinamika tubuh praktisi, meningkatkan kesehatan mental dan mengembangkan nilai-nilai pribadi dan sosial. Ini membawa stabilitas tubuh dan kontra menyeimbangkan fluktuasi pikiran. Melalui latihan meditasi dan pernapasan, seseorang dapat mengusir semua stres dan kecemasan dan dapat menjalani hidup sehat. Hal ini dapat menyimpulkan bahwa praktek yoga adalah pedoman untuk hidup sehat dan kehidupan yang lebih baik. Dengan latihan yoga, praktisi mencapai pengetahuan ilahi sebuah wawasan halus serta ketenangan fisik yang sehat.

www.iyengaryogaindonesia.com

lokasi : JL. Kemang Raya no 18D

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Paths of yoga

Introduction

In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is a two-thousand-year-old collection of the oral teachings on yogic philosophy, there are one hundred and ninety-five statements which are a kind of philosophical guidebook for dealing with the challenges of being human. The Yoga Sutras provides an eight-fold path called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs”. These eight steps are basic guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They are a prescription for moral and ethical conduct. They direct attention toward one’s health, and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.

The first four steps or stages concentrate on refining our personalities, gaining mastery over our body, and developing an energetic awareness of ourselves, all of which prepare us for the second half of the journey, which deals with the senses, the mind, and attaining a higher state of consciousness.

Yama

The first step deals with one’s moral or ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in our interpersonal life. These are, literally, the controls or don’ts of life. They include areas where we must learn to control tendencies which, if allowed expression, would end up causing us disharmony and pain. They are the same moral virtues that you find in all the world’s great religious traditions. The five yamas are:

Non-violence (Refrain from harming or demeaning any living thing, including yourself, by action, word or thought.)

Non-lying (Control any tendency to say anything that is not truthful, including not being truthful to yourself)

Non-stealing (Curb the tendency to take anything that does not belong to you which includes not only material objects but also things such as praise or position.)

Non-sensuality (Learn the art of self-control; to control the tremendous energy expended in seeking and thinking about sensual pleasure and to abstain from inappropriate sexual behavior.)

Non-greed (Learn not to be attached to or desirous of “things”; to learn to discriminate between “needs” and “wants”.)

Niyama

Niyama, the second step, are individual practices having to do with self-descipline, self-development and spiritual observances. These are the non-controls or the dos of the path. The five niyamas are:

Purity (Strive for purity or cleanliness of body, mind and environment.)

Contentment (Seek contentment and acceptance with what you have and with things as they are right now. But, also, seek ways to improve things in the future.)

Self-control (Learn to have control over your actions and to have the strength of determination to do what you decide to do; to replace negative habits with positive ones.)

Self-study (This requires introspection; studying our actions, words and thoughts to determine if we are behaving in a harmonious and positive manner in order to achieve the happiness and satisfaction we strive for.)

Devotion (Devotion is the turning of the natural love of the heart toward the Divine rather than toward the objects of the world.)

Asana

Asana, the postures practiced in yoga, are the third step. In the yogic view, the body is a temple of the spirit, the care of which is an important stage of our spiritual growth. Through the practice of asana, we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation. If the body is in proper working order and comfortable in one position for a long time, it can ultimately become a vehicle for spiritual powers, instead of preventing progress by bothering its owner with physical distress.

Pranayama

Generally translated as breath control, this fourth step consists of techniques designed to gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, the mind and the emotions. The literal translation of pranayama is “life force”. Yogis believe that it not only rejuvenates the body but actually extends life itself. You can practice pranayama as an isolated technique (simply sitting and performing a number of breathing exercises) or integrate it into your daily hatha yoga routine.

Pratyahara

Pratyahara, the fifth step, means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. We direct our attention internally. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. This can happen during breathing exercises, during meditation, during the practice of yoga postures, or during any activity requiring concentration. Detachment is a great technique for pain control and an excellent way to deal with uncomfortable symptoms or chronic conditions.

Dharana

The practice of pratyahara creates the setting for dharana or concentration. Having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. In the practice of concentration, which precedes meditation, we learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object. The goal is to become aware of nothing but the object on which you are concentrating, whether it’s a candle flame, a flower, a mantra you repeat to yourself, a specific energetic center in the body, or an image of a deity. The purpose is to train the mind to eliminate all the extra, unnecessary junk floating around, to learn to gently push away superfluous thought. Extended periods of concentration naturally lead to meditation.

Dhyana

Meditation or contemplation, the seventh step of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. Although concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, a fine line of distinction exists between these two stages. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness it produces few or no thoughts at all. Meditation occurs when you’ve actually become linked to the object of your concentration so that nothing else exists. It is a keen heightened awareness, not nothingness. Your mind is completely focused and quiet but awake and aware of truth. Many methods exist to bring you to this state, but oneness with the object of your meditation, and subsequently, oneness with the entire universe, is the objective. It is quite a difficult task to reach this state of stillness but it is not impossible. This state is a goal to keep striving for and, even if it is never attained, there is benefit from each stage of progress.

Samadhi

Patanjali describes this eighth and final step of ashtanga as a state of ecstasy. All the paths of yoga lead to this stage. This stage is one which most of us are unlikely to attain in this lifetime. At this stage, the meditator merges with his or her point of focus and transcends the self altogether. When in this state, you understand not only that you and the object of your meditation are one, but that you and the universe are one. There’s no difference between you and everything else. The meditator comes to realize a profound connection to the Divine, an interconnectedness with all living things. What Patanjali has described as the completion of the yogic path is what, deep down, all human beings aspire to: joy, fulfillment, freedom and peace

 

Source From : http://www.yogaforbeginners.com/paths01.htm#top

 

www.iyengaryogaindonesia.com

 

Basics of Yoga

What is yoga?

Often associated with Hinduism, yoga actually is older. It is the oldest physical discipline in existence. The exact origins of yoga are unknown, but it is thought to be at least five thousand years old. The earliest evidence of yoga can be traced back to about 3000 B.C. The original purpose of the postures and breathing exercises was to bring stability and relaxation so practitioners could prepare for the rigors of meditation, sitting still and alert for long periods of time.

The word yoga has its roots in the Sanskrit language and means to merge, join or unite. Yoga is a form of exercise based on the belief that the body and breath are intimately connected with the mind. By controlling the breath and holding the body in steady poses, or asanas, yoga creates harmony. Yoga is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions and is a tool that allows us to withdraw from the chaos of the world and find a quiet space within. To achieve this, yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation in order to establish a healthy, vibrant and balanced approach to living.

Modern scholars have defined yoga as the classical Indian science that concerns itself with the search for the soul and the union between the individual, whose existence is finite, and the Divine, which is infinite.

Yoga is one of the original concepts which today would be labeled as holistic. That means that the body is related to the breath; both are related to the brain; in turn this links with the mind, which is a part of consciousness.

The essence of yoga is to be in the driver’s seat of life. Control is a key aspect of yoga: control of the body, breath and mind.

The secret of yoga practice lies in a simple but important word: balance. In every area of our life, yoga represents balanced moderation.

What is Hatha Yoga?

The system of yoga used most often in the West is called Hatha yoga. The word Hatha is a composite of Ha, which means sun and Tha which means moon. Yoga is the union between them, suggesting that the healthy joining of opposites – in this case, the mind and body – leads to strength, vitality and peace of mind.

Hatha yoga is the physical aspect of the practice of yoga. Hatha yoga emphasizes asanas (practice of postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and dhyana (meditation). It aims to balance different energy flows within the human body. As a form of exercise, hatha yoga consists of asanas or postures that embody controlled movement, concentration, flexibility, and conscious breathing. About half of the nearly 200 asanas are practiced widely in the West. The postures range from the basic to the complex, from the easily accomplished to the very challenging. While the movements tend to be slow and controlled, they provide an invigorating workout for the mind and body, including the internal organs.

Yoga exercises are designed to ease tense muscles, to tone up the internal organs, and to improve the flexibility of the body’s joints and ligaments. The aim of proper yoga exercise is to improve suppleness and strength. Each posture is performed slowly in fluid movements. Violent movements are avoided; they produce a buildup of lactic acid, causing fatigue.

Hatha yoga is a complete fitness program and will release endorphins in the brain as well as any regular exercise program. Yoga postures stretch, extend, and flex the spine, while exercising muscles and joints, keeping the body strong and supple. When done in conjunction with breathing techniques, hatha yoga postures stimulate circulation, digestion and the nervous and endocrine systems. As a workout, yoga can be intense, easy, or somewhere in between.

It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age, to achieve a more limber body, increased physical coordination, better posture, and improved flexibility without incurring the potentially negative effects associated with high-impact forms of exercise. Hatha yoga remains different from newer or more modern types of exercise. It does not aim to raise the heart rate (although variations such as Ashtanga, Power Yoga, or the flow series taught by Bikram Choudhury may) or work on specific muscle groups.

Overall, the postures release stiffness and tension, help to reestablish the inner balance of the spine, renew energy and restore health. Some postures provide the added benefit of being weight-bearing which helps sustain bone mass (very important for women). Relaxation and breathing exercises produce stability and reduce stress and put you in touch with your inner strength. In addition, regular practice of hatha yoga can promote graceful aging.

Whether you are learning yoga singly or in a group, it is a good idea to be supervised by a qualified teacher. A teacher will demonstrate how to ease your body gently into and out of the yoga postures. He or she will ensure that you do not strain your limbs and will help you align your body in the asanas.

According to a recent Roper poll, six million Americans now practice hatha yoga. Furthermore, yoga’s visibility and viability as an effective exercise program has been increased by the endorsements of celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Sting, Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton, Kareem Abdul Jabar and Evander Holyfield.

Yoga also is increasingly embraced by the medical community. Popular health practitioners who possess mainstream medical credentials and are open to alternative practices include Andrew Weil, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., Joan Borysenko, M.D., and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. Such practitioners have long encouraged patients and clients to take up yoga. Yoga is also an integral part of many stress management programs endorsed and paid for by HMOs and insurance companies. In fact, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center includes gentle yoga postures and breathing techniques to aid the recovery of patients with heart disease.

Yoga asanas can be practiced by young and old alike. While there is no one who should be excluded, you should check with your doctor before you begin a course if you suffer from a medical condition or have any doubts. If you have any concerns about your health or fitness, consult your physician, qualified health practitioner or yoga teacher before undertaking a yoga practice, especially with these specific health problems: high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, back or neck injury or recent surgery.

Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga does not meet the traditional definitions of a religion. Rather than broadcasting a philosophy or doctrine of its own, hatha yoga is a physical and psychological discipline that combines the learning and practice of asanas, pramayama, and meditation.

Because of its roots in Eastern religion and mythology, hatha yoga has often been associated with the Hindu religion. While both Hinduism and yoga have their roots in India, yoga is an independent tradition. Its separate physical and psychological processes have no connection with religious beliefs. Additionally, dedicated hatha yoga practice has been found to enhance the religious practice or beliefs of practitioners, whatever their current beliefs.

While yoga is not a religion, there are, however, a set of ethics associated with it which complements the practice of hatha yoga. This set of yoga ethic principles include five yamas which are: non-violence; truthfulness; non-stealing; chastity; and non-greed. Also there are five niyamas which are: purity; contentment; self-discipline; self-study; and centering on the Divine.

source from : http://www.yogaforbeginners.com/basics01.htm

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