Yoga

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Physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India, now very popular worldwide.

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.

There are many schools of Yoga, or Yogic thought. Wikipedia lists 13 schools of postural Yoga alone. 

Yin Yoga is highly influenced by the philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which say that the body contains meridians–invisible energy highways that carry Qi (energy). The physical postures of Yin are said to work with these meridian lines to improve health and wellbeing.

Western science is also discovering the impact of the practice on a physical and psychological level. Yin creates the space to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (our rest and digest) and the longer holds work to unwind the body’s deeper layers of fascia (as opposed to working with the muscles in more dynamic movements). As we work with these layers, we create the conditions to release deeply held tension in the body and mind.

Yoga includes the following disciplines:

  1. yamas (restraints)
  2. niyamas(observances)
  3. asana (postures)
  4. pranayama (breathing)
  5. pratyahara (withdrawal of senses)
  6. dharana (concentration)
  7. dhyani (meditation)
  8. samadhi (absorption)

In the West the most common disciplines are 3, 4 and 7.

Mystic belief in the Abrahamic religions has a strong correlation with the Yogic disciplines.

See also: chakra, prayer, affirmation

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