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Yoga means "union". It comes from the same root word as "yoke". Its goal is union with the
Divine - uniting your limited "self" with your larger, all-encompassing "Self", in essence,
discovering your True Self. But beyond that high-level description, what does it really mean to
learn, practice, and ultimately teach Yoga?
Yoga is an analysis of the dysfunctional nature of everyday perception and cognition, which lies
at the root of suffering, the existential conundrum whose solution is the goal of Indian
philosophy. Once one comprehends the cause(s) of the problem, one can solve it through
philosophical analysis combined with meditative practice. Through analytical inquiry and

meditative practice, the lower organs or apparatus of human cognition are suppressed,
allowing for higher, less obstructed levels of perception and cognition to prevail.
The word yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated.
We can think of it as the union occurring between mind, body, and spirit. Yoga is not a religion,
but it is a philosophy that has endured 5,000 years.
Yoga refers to the practice of physical postures or poses called "asana's". Asana is only one type
of yoga.
Today, however, the words 'asana' and 'yoga' have become almost synonymous. With increased
awareness, the poses become meditation-in-action with awareness of the breath flowing through
the body.
Each of the poses has specific physical benefits. Physical tension and imbalances are brought to
attention and begin to release. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the
body through movement or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the
pose. There is an ideal way that each pose should be performed.
Many people think that yoga is stretching. But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is
really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. Most
types of yoga are more concerned with mental and spiritual well-being than physical activity.

The 12 definition on nature of yoga as follows:

1. Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind.
2. Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity includes all
aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union - the
union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the
ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in daily life and endows skill in the performance
of one's actions.
3. Yoga is said to be the unification of the web of dualities.
4. Yoga is collectedness.
5. Yoga is said to be control.
6. Yoga is ecstasy

7. Yoga is said to be the oneness of breath, mind, and senses, and the abandonment of all
states of existence.
8. Yoga is the separation of the awareness of the Self of the phenomenological
9. This they consider Yoga: the steady holding of the senses.
10. Yoga is the union of the individual psyche with the transcendental Self.
11. Yoga is said to be the unity of exhalation and inhalation and of blood and semen, as well
as the union of sun and moon and of the individual psyche with the transcendental Self.
12. Yoga is skill in action.


Yogas history has many places of obscurity and uncertainty due to its oral transmission of sacred
texts and the secretive nature of its teachings. The early writings on yoga were transcribed on
fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed or lost. The development of yoga can be
traced back to over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000
years old. Yogas long rich history can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice
and development.

Pre-classical yoga
Classical Yoga
Post-classical yoga
Modern yoga

Despite more than a century

of research, we
still dont know much about the earliest beginnings of Yoga. We do know, though, that it
originated in India 5,000 or more years ago. Until recently, many Western scholars thought that

Yoga originated much later, maybe around 500 B.C., which is the time of Gautama the Buddha,
the illustrious founder of Buddhism. But then, in the early 1920s, archeologists surprised the
world with the discovery of the so-called Indus civilizationa culture that we now know
extended over an area of roughly 300,000 square miles (the size of Texas and Ohio combined).
This was in fact the largest civilization in early antiquity. In the ruins of the big cities of Mohenjo
Daro and Harappa, excavators found depictions engraved on soapstone seals that strongly
resemble yogi-like figures. Many other finds show the amazing continuity between that
civilization and later Hindu society and culture.
There are many benefits of practicing yoga. Here are a few:
1. You'll feel more relaxed and learn to stay relaxed.
2. Your overall muscle tone improves as well as alignment.
3. You'll add vitality to your spine, improving all systems of the body, especially the
glands and nerves.
4. Digestion improves; gas and bloating lessens.
5. Your lungs expand, increasing oxygen intake.
6. You'll sleep better.
7. You'll be less tired during the day with higher energy.
8. Your immune system will strengthen.
9. You'll learn to set aside time for yourself.
10. You'll learn to trust yourself more.
Performed properly with a qualified teacher, the therapy of yoga movement often benefits
physical conditions. Health improves as a result of improved alignment, flexibility or strength.
Remember to discuss any issues of health with your medical professional and your teacher prior
to starting your class.
And just too simply set the record straight: Your chances of achieving an ultra-fit "celebrity
body" just by practicing yoga are - no pun intended - slim. This is certainly not to say that yoga
can't help deliver impressive fitness results. But it takes other forms of exercise - such as
cardiovascular training - to help round out the fitness benefits of any yoga practice.
Furthermore, many of yoga's numerous benefits - for example, increased flexibility, postural
alignment, low-back strength, abdominal tone, stress reduction - are far from instantaneous.

Different Yoga Asana and their correct procedures

Yoga asanas are the simplest and easiest way to reduce our excess weight and meditatinh our
body and mind. The ancient practice types of yoga asanas provides a wide range of mind and
body benefits, including other benefits like giving strength and flexibility, stress relief and even
cure many diseases.

Yoga is all about stretching our body in different forms and

meditation. Yoga poses like Surya namaskara, Dhanurasana,
Bhujangasana, Kapalabhaati pranayama and so many other
effective yoga possess helps in reducing weight as well as belly fat.

Tadasana also known as mountain pose and it is one of the

best yoga asanas. Practicing this yogasana regularly every
morning gives a good massage to our hands, back, spine
and the whole body.

Figure 1: Tadasana

Trikonasana Yoga:
This trikonasana yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles along with improving the
functions of our body. It helps in reducing blood pressure, stress and anxiety and also
improves the functions of the blood through the entire body. This improves our balance
and concentration power. It also removes fats from waist and thighs.
This strengthens your arms, wrists and abdomen. It is also a good preparation pose for
more challenging arm balancing poses.
Uthkatsana tones your leg muscles, strengthens your hip reflexors, ankles, calves and
back. It stretches the chest and shoulders. It reduces symptoms of flat feet and it
stimulates your heart, diaphragm, and abdominal organs.
The Varksasana may seems as another easy posture but it is not a resting asana. Your back
should be aligned property (extended), your hips should be at one level, and since your
stability depends on the distribution of your weight on your standing leg ensure you do
while maintaing and improving your balance.
Dhanurasana Yoga:
This is a very effective in weight loss program, this yoga pose helps in reducing the belly
fat very easily. It strengthens the ankles, thigh, chest and abdominal organs and spinal
cord. This improves the functions of kidney, pancreas, and liver. It also acts as a stress
reliever and gives flexibility to the back. It improves the function of digestion and
removes gases.
Surya Namaskara:

It improves flexibility, strength, balance, reduces stress and anxiety, reduces symptoms of
lower back pain, and reduces sleep disturbances and hypertension. It also increases
energy and decreases fatigue and very beneficial for asthma and chronic diseases.
Kapalbhati Yoga Asana:
Recommended breathing yoga exercise which cures our stomach disorder completely and
loses weight. This removes the toxins and increases metabolism. It also cures
constipation, acidity, diabetes, asthma and all kinds of respiratory troubles.
Sarvangasana Yoga:
This strengthens and cures back pain, improves resistance power of the body, keeps our
face bright and removes dark circles and those suffering from sleep disorder it promotes
deep restful sleep.
This strengthens our back muscles and gives flexibility. It cures indigestion and
constipation as well as reduce stress. It stimulates the abdominal organs and cures
abnominal problems.
Setu Bandhasana:
This pose strengthens our legs, back neck and chest. It provides great balancing power to
our body.
It is an excellent yoga exercise for those suffering from back pain and relaxes the spine. It
also stretches and strengthens muscle of hips, thighs and ankles.
Virabhadrasana Yoga:
It gives flexibility to the entire body and strengthens the legs, arms, lower back and toes
the lower body.
This asana is also called as the boat yoga pose. This helps to strengthen the lung, liver
and pancreas. It also helps to increase the circulation of blood and maintain the sugar

Wrong methods followed by the users

Yoga philosophy says the guru is within, but people practice memorizing the rules of
some outside guru. Philosophy lectures will have you seated, writing in journals, and
lectured to. It's more useful when you practice exactly what you want in your life, rather
than having this disconnect between an idealized philosophy and a very different-looking
practice. One version of a pose is not better, or more advanced than another. Too often
instructors say "If you are advanced to this, if you are a beginner do this." If advanced
yoga had to do with the poses, 11 year old gymnasts would be the most advanced
yogis. Advanced yoga has to do with what is going on in your mind. A mistake that
happens along a yoga path is disconnecting the mind, body and spirit. "I am not my
body" is a mantra that leads to unhappiness while you are living inside your body, which
is your entire life. It's ok and not superficial to move your body in a way to keep it

healthy, strong, and open. Yoga is the connection of the mind, body, and spirit. The power
is within you. Yoga connects you back inward. The practice brings you closer to your
own truth. At Strala we have a Rabbi, Christians, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, and many
other religions all practicing together. People get injured practicing yoga when they
disconnect from how they feel. When you push and force your body, your body will
break. When you practice listening and following how you feel, you will cultivate a
strong, healthy and radiant body and mind from the inside out.


In the current western culture, Yoga and exercise are popular ways to stay in shape but the two
have a number of differences in regards to the ultimate goal and the specific benefits that they
can have on your mind and body.
The ultimate aim of Hatha yoga is to reach Samadhi, a higher state of consciousness. In order to
purify the mind it is necessary for the body to undergo a process of absolute purification in order
to remove impurities so the nadis function and the energy blocks are released. The main
objective of Hatha yoga is to create an absolute balance of the interacting activities and processes
of the physical body, mind and energy. When this balance is created, the impulses generated
give a call of awakening to the central force (sushumna nadi) which is responsible for the
evolution of human consciousness. If Hatha yoga is not used for this purpose, its true objective
is lost.
The ultimate aim of exercise is to improve overall physical fitness level and health by practicing
aerobic activity, which elevates the heart rate. Exercise can strengthen muscles and the
cardiovascular system, improve athletic skills and aid weight loss. Regular exercise can boost
the immune system and also improve mental health e.g. prevent depression and
promote/maintain positive self-esteem. Furthermore, exercise in the form of different sports can
be practiced competitively and the aim is to be the best within the sport, which can be an external
driver to the individuals performance.
There are a number of similarities between exercise and the physical aspects of yoga and they
therefore are not necessarily distinct practices as yoga can be considered as form of exercise. As
a form of fitness, yoga is excellent at building strength, flexibility, balance, and functional
movement skills. And as a mind/body modality, yoga is unparalleled in its ability to relieve
stress, help people cope with medical treatments, find meaning in daily life, and create more
positive relationships with their bodies. Yoga works brilliantly to improve and normalize
distressed breathing patterns, which is key to shifting an individual from the taxing fight or
flight mode of the sympathetic nervous system and enhancing the rest and digest mode of the
parasympathetic nervous system to achieve homeostasis.
The differences between yoga and exercise will depend on the type of yoga or exercise being
practised and it should be noted that certain types of yoga e.g. Ashtanga are more vigorous than

other forms and therefore share more similarities with exercise. However, general physical
differences are outlined below:

Yoga stimulates parasympathetic nervous system (hence relaxing) / Exercise stimulates

sympathetic nervous system (hence tiring)


In yoga, subcortical regions of brain dominate /In exercise cortical regions of brain


Yoga is anabolic which conserve energy / Exercise is catabolic which is capable of

breaking down the energy


Yoga practices slow dynamic movements / Exercise involves rapid forceful movements


Yoga practices reduced muscle tension, progressive movements / Exercise involves

increased muscle tension


Low risk of injuring muscles and ligaments / Exercise has a higher risk of injury


Yoga leads to relatively low caloric consumption / Exercise leads to moderate to high
caloric consumption


In yoga, energizing (breathing is natural or controlled) / Exercise fatiguing (breathing is



Yoga is non-competitive, process-oriented / Exercise is commonly competitive, goaloriented


In yoga, awareness is internal (focus is on breath and the infinite) / in exercise,

awareness is external (focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.)


In yoga there are limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness / in exercise there is
generally no aspect of self-awareness.

Other differences are also apparent with regard to the practice of yoga and exercise. In general,
yoga is self-sufficient in that it can be practiced anywhere, anytime with the minimal requirement
of sufficient space; a yoga mat is not even a pre-requisite. Exercise on the other hand generally
requires equipment and therefore is constrained to being practiced within a certain environment
(e.g. gym/sports club) and may require other people to participate such as in group/partner
Furthermore, Hatha yoga involves a number of steps:

Shat karma (purifying practices)


Asana (postures)


Mudra (finger and hand positions)


Pratyahara (sense withdrawal / non-attachment)


Pranayama (breath exercises)


Dhyana (meditation)


Samadhi (realisation of the true self)

Of which the physical practice of asanas is just one step, whereas this is the main focus of
In conclusion, both yoga and exercise are comparable in some regards in terms of the physical
and (to some extent mental) benefits, but exercise is limited to focussing on the maintenance and
improvement of the physical body as the sole aim whereas yoga is based in ancient Hindu
tradition and aims to use the balanced physical body as a preparatory pre-requisite to achieve a
higher state of consciousness.


Alter, Joseph S. (2004). Yoga in Modern India: The Body between Science and
Philosophy.Princeton university Press
Kadetsky, elizabeth (2004). First There Is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance. Boston, new
and London: Little, Brown.
Eliade, Mircea (2009). Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, 2d ed. Princeton, nJ: Princeton
university Press.