The Word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’, which literally means to merge, join or unite. It also represents unity, and yoga is the union of the mind, body and universal spirit.
Yoga is the art of knowing oneself, the functions of the body, the rhythm of the mind and the ability to look at all aspects of life evenly. It is a discipline that involves directing intellect, the mind, the emotions and the will. Through the practice of yoga, the rhythm of the mind is conquered and the body is controlled. This opens doorway into the inner spirit and creates equilibrium, good health, peace and tranquility.
In practice, yoga is an applied science of the mind and body. Practice and study of yoga helps to bring about a natural balance of body and mind in which the state of health can manifest itself. Basically, yoga teaches that health is a harmonious integration of the body, mind, sprit, and community in the modern world, most people regard yoga as a form of Holistic exercise that promotes flexibility, good posture and relaxation.
The Three Practices
According to Neha Gothe, PhD, director of the Exercise Psychology Lab of University of Illinois, Hatha Yoga is made up of three main practices:
- Body Posture (Asanas)
- Breathing Techniques (Pranayama)
- Relaxation and Meditation (Dyana)
You may learn about different ways of controlling your breath or how to sit in meditation in addition to doing yoga poses.
The Benefits of Hatha Yoga
There are many health benefits associated with the practice of asanas (movements) and these have been documented extensively in both evidence-based research papers and personal records.
Holistically speaking, asana (movement) practice can help to:
- Improve physical health
- Direct prana (breathing) and awaken energy centres (Kundalini)
- Awaken proprioception (awareness of the position and movement of the body)
- Develop concentration and focus
- Develop confidence and self-awareness