oga, a holistic art and practice that originated some 5,000 years ago in India, aims to integrate mind, body

and spirit. Te word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning to yoke or unite, and refers to the joining of body with mind and mind with soul to achieve health, bal- ance, tranquility and enlightenment. Individuals of every age and physical

condition can benefit from the regular practice of yoga, which has been proven to enhance flexibility, strength, stamina and concentration. Using a combination of asanas, or postures, and breathing techniques, yoga works to induce deep relaxation and reduce stress, tone the body and organs, increase vitality, and improve circulation and energy flow. Upliſting and meditative, yoga can be applied as a spiri- tual practice, as well. Although many schools, or styles, of

yoga exist, most differences derive from the primary focus of the practitioner’s attention: precise alignment of the body; holding of the asanas; flow between the postures; breath and movement coordina- tion; or inner awareness and meditation. No particular style is better than another, and many students practice more than one. Aerial: Originated in California and

now in several countries. Sometimes brand- ed as AntiGravity Yoga, aerial incorporates traditional yoga asanas with the use of a hammock or sling and combines elements of Pilates and dance. Tis style is said to deliver benefits on emotional and psycho- logical levels and has a fun component.

34 NA Triangle Ananda: A form of gentle hatha yoga

with an emphasis on meditation. Anan- da combines classic yoga postures with breathing and silent affirmations to attune with higher levels of body sense, energy and silent inner awareness. As an inner-directed practice, it has less appeal to those desiring a more athletic or aerobic experience. Anusara:Anusara means “go with the

flow,” and blends spirituality with inner/outer alignment and balanced energetic actions. Developed by John Friend in 1997, this style urges students to think of poses as artistic ex- pressions of the heart. Individual abilities and limitations are deeply respected and honored, so Anusara yoga can be helpful for everyone and is good for beginners. Aqua: Also known as water or pool

yoga. Aqua yoga is practiced in water—a warm indoor pool or natural body of water. Asanas are adapted to work with the buoyancy provided by water and have a positive effect on joints. Tis form is a viable option for older individuals or anyone else with physical condi- tions that prevent them from practicing land yoga. Its benefits include lymphatic stimulation and improved range of motion. Ashtanga: A physically

demanding style that is light on meditation, ashtanga yoga em- ploys a fast-paced series of flowing poses to build strength, flexibil- ity and

stamina. Developed by Indian yoga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, ashtanga’s progres- sively difficult postures are synchronized with a loud breath (called ujyaii breath in Sanskrit) and are designed to produce intense internal heat and purifying sweat in order to detoxify muscles and organs. Te room is usually heated to warm muscles and increase flexibility. Preferred by many athletes, this style is too intense and de- manding for most beginners. Chair: Practiced sitting or standing,

it uses a chair as a support/prop. Asanas are adapted from traditional hatha yoga. It benefits older individuals and those that are body-challenged. Flexibility is en- hanced, as well as mind-body awareness. Hatha: Hatha yoga is the founda-

tional discipline on which nearly all other styles are based. In Sanskrit, ha represents the sun and tha, the moon—hence, the practice is designed to bring the yin and yang, light and dark, masculine and fem- inine aspects and polarities into balance. Essentially, hatha yoga brings all aspects of life together. A class described as hatha will likely include slow-paced stretching, asanas, or postures, that are not too difficult, simple breathing exercises and perhaps seated meditation. Hatha yoga classes provide a good starting point for beginners to learn basic poses and relax- ation techniques.

Nikolaeva Galina/


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