The foundation of yoga is that each of us is a spiritual being in human form who is here on Earth to find out who we are – spiritual beings in human form! According to this ancient science, you are composed of the transcendental self (or soul) and the mind-body. Your true identify emerges when these parts are melded into a unified whole. This is the central belief of yoga from which the guiding eight principles (called sutras) flow.
The eight sutras of yoga are: do good (yama), be good (niyama), feel good (asana), live good (pranayama), inner focus (pratyahara), one-pointedness (dharana), deep meditation (dhyana), and absorption (samadhi). Each of the eight sutras has a different yoga associated with it. Others types of yoga (such as kundalini yoga or Kali Natha yoga) combine the eight paths. Our video Yoga to Awaken the Chakras is a general guide to your body’s energy centers, what they are and how to use them. It provides specific postures for each chakra.
Ashtanga yoga, which is called Power Yoga in the West, is becoming increasingly popular partly because it is the yoga of movie stars, athletes and gymnasts. It combines a series of postures with specific breathing techniques into a method known as ‘vinyasa’. Foundations of Power Vinyasa Yoga by Baron Baptiste presents new versions of the traditional poses along with advice and corrections. The vinyasa process produces intense internal heat and a purifying sweat to detoxify the muscles and organs. This leads to improved circulation, a calm mind, and a strong, light body. Seane Corn in the video Vinyasa Flow Session 1 – Unity, Movement and Breath shows you how to maximize the breathing techniques along with the movements. You get a balanced inner self combined with a physical workout.
To begin your Ashtanga yoga experience remember that you need to heat the room to keep your muscles limber. Seventy to seventy-five degrees is recommended. Be sure to follow the vinyasa in sequence. Start your yoga practice slowly and build on gradual changes that will come when you practice regularly. Focus first on the breath and alignment. The rest comes in time. The video Fluid Power: Vinyasa Flow Yoga by Shiva Rea is for those who already know the basic poses. White Sands National Monument in New Mexico provides the background against which the standing poses, pranayama with mudras, meditative poses and spiral-oriented dance like moves are set.
For those of you who want an even stronger workout, try Bikram yoga – which is practiced in eighty to 100 degree temperatures. If you have a specific health need or want a more spiritual workout, check out Ma’s India other yoga offerings.