We may think we are going to yoga to increase strength, flexibility, find peace, make change, do a funky pose, reduce stress, whatever the reason be, but really, yoga is doing much deeper work.
The word yoga in the dictionary means “to union.” Yoga allows you to see all the different parts of yourself and to be accepting of them; whether good, bad, ugly, pretty. When you start to become more familiar with these parts of yourself, you begin to see that these parts lie within all of us. My psychology professor brought up the term ‘quick & dirty’ and used it in reference to the American healthcare system. To be healed (different than to cure) takes time; It is commitment and requires patience and persistence. Unfortunately, in a ‘quick and dirty’ way of living, healing becomes much more challenging. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to experiment, research, and live yoga. I continue to find ways of making a yoga practice conducive to this quick and dirty lifestyle.
I do not have a medical degree but I have a few yoga certifications and I am currently studying psychology at URI. However, I feel confident enough in my practice to know I can guide people towards feeling more complete and living more healthful lives. You don’t need to put your leg over your head or be a vegan to do this work! You don’t need to own Lululemon yoga pants (I can’t afford them) nor does your crow pose need to be perfect. What you do need is Heart.
Types of Yoga
- Hatha (sanskrit)
– Hathayoga or Hatha Vidya – founded in 15th century by Yogi Swatmarama
– Primary focus is on asanas (body positions) and skatkarma (breathing techniques) meant to reduce stress by balancing mind and body
- Ashtanga Vinyasa (sanskrit)
– Vinyasa – found in 20th century by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
– Primary focus is using inhale and exhale breaths to initiate changing asanas (body positions) – salutation the sun – examples of poses are “downward dog,” “upward facing dog,” and “plank.”
– Creates an internal heat and promotes perspiration through increased blood flow cleansing the body.
- Iyengar (sanskrit)
– Founded in late 20th century by Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar. Form of Hatha Yoga.
– Primary focus is strength and stability while also allowing for more flexibility/mobility. Key aspect here is alignment.
– Many levels from beginner to advanced and gradually works you through the more simple to the more difficult asanas.
- Bikram (sanskrit)
– Founded in late 20th century by Bikram Choudhury in India.
– Primary focus is weight loss and body healing through intense heat (rooms are heated to about 105°F). Classes are long and take a lot of focus. For more experienced Yoga heads!
- Types of Meditation
- Ancient forms of Meditation – Kriya Yoga, Transcendental
- Why should I Meditate?
- Benefits of Meditation
- The “right” way to Meditate
- How long should I meditate for?