Home » Religion and Spirituality » Meditation

Understanding Yoga Fitness

Aug 17, 2007
Even if you are not a regular practitioner of yoga yet you will probably find that understanding its basic background will give you a good context around why you are practicing yoga fitness and what you are doing. By understanding that yoga is not just physical positions but also a full lifestyle you'll come to appreciate its complete health benefits.

No one really knows who first developed yoga except for the fact that it seemed to have originated somewhere in the Indus Valley regions of Northern India. References to yoga first appeared in both archaeological and written references about 3000 to 5000 years ago. The first compilation of yoga practices seems to have appeared about 2200 years ago with the publication of a book called the 'Yoga Sutras' by Patanjali.

The Yoga Sutras are a compilation of 196 principles about the practice and philosophy of yoga that are meant to be memorized and incorporated into one's lifestyle. These principles have become to be known as the foundation of Raja Yoga - sometimes referred to as Royal Yoga with a primary focus on the mind by taming the body and enhancing the spirit.

The Raja Yoga discipline as described in the sutras is divided into eight steps - otherwise known as the eight 'limbs'. Each step focuses on aspects around lifestyle, purity, body, breathing and meditation. Here is a high level description of each:

1. Yama - abstentions for living virtuously such as truth, non-violence and continence
2. Niyama - observances and disciplines for mind and body
3. Asana - bodily postures for meditation
4. Pranayama - regulated breath and control of the life force
5. Pratyahara - sensory withdrawal of the mind from the physical world
6. Dharana - meditative concentration on an object - knowing you are meditating
7. Dhyana - meditation with no consciousness of the act of meditation
8. Samadhi - enlightenment

As you probably noticed modern yoga as it is typically practiced today is heavily influenced by steps three and four - Asana and Pranayama. Most modern yoga fitness programs are related to the practices of Hatha Yoga which is a system of physical purification to assist the meditative effects of steps five through nine. This system is comprised of a large number of bodily postures designed to develop balance, poise and strength.

The mainstream instruction of yoga includes many body positions and breathing exercises that have been found to be extremely beneficial to personal well being, fitness and health. Practiced over time yoga can become a path to improving anyone's lifestyle. By combining this practice with the additional Raja 'limbs' yoga can lead you an enlightened life change.
About the Author
D James is a writer and an aspiring yoga practitioner. Discover online yoga videos and other resources allow you to practice at home with a flexible schedule keeping mentally, physically and emotionally healthy at Yoga Motions
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 169
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources