The Benefits of Gentle Yoga
A regular practice of yoga will increase body awareness and improve overall body functioning. I recommend that you enter into stretches slowly, deepening your breath as soon as you feel a stretch; and trust that a gentle stretch will provide the benefits you expect from yoga. It is primarily through a mild stimulation of the circulation, and a deepened state of relaxation that the body will rebalance and rejuvenate.
As you move into postures, you will inevitably encounter the tensions and resistances of the body. You will begin to discover different degrees of comfort and discomfort. Some you can breathe into easily, some you can’t. With practice you will be able to notice the difference, increase your tolerance for sensation, reducing anxiety and stress.
Of course, everybody’s experience is unique. I suggest you take time to notice the specific effects of each posture and of each practice session. Gentle Yoga embraces the consciousness of moment-to-moment awareness. As you gradually become more aware of subtler sensations, you will increase your sensitivity and self-knowledge. Gentle Yoga emphasizes compassion. With compassion, you can learn how to make your yoga practice an act of self-love.
Yoga is one of the oldest holistic healthcare systems in existence, with roots dating back almost 5,000 years. Founded in India, the Sanskrit word ‘yoga’ literally means ‘union’. The intent of yoga is to form a vibrant connection between body, mind and spirit, creating a lasting, integrative wellness program that one can cultivate for a lifetime. Today, yoga, in forms both classical and contemporary, has been embraced worldwide for its unparalleled health and healing benefits, available to people of all ages, sizes and levels of fitness.
A yoga practice consists of physical postures called asanas, breathing exercises called pranayama, and elements of meditation. Dynamically incorporated into a whole, yoga combines a compelling physical workout, improving strength, flexibility, balance and endurance, with a profound mental wellness component that conveys focus, clarity, and composure long after practice has ended.
The Yoga List
Abhâva-Yoga: A concept found in the Purânas meaning the power of nonexistence; the higher yogic practice of plunging into the Self without any external support such as mantras.
Adhyâtma-Yoga: A concept characteristic of the Upanishads meaning the unifying discipline of the inner self; synonymous with the practice of Yoga.
Agni-Yoga: The integrative discipline of fire. The joint action of manas, the mind and prâna, the life force causes the awakening of kundalini, the serpent power within the body.
Ashtânga-Yoga: The unifying discipline of the eight limbs.
Asparsha-Yoga: The discipline of non contact expounded by Gaudapâda in his Mândûkya-Kârikâ.
Bhakti-Yoga: The collective discipline of love and devotion that is extolled in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, the Bhâgavata-Purâna, and in the scriptures of the Vaishnavas and Shaivas. Buddhi-Yoga: The discipline of the higher mind, first mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ.
Dhyâna-Yoga: The profound discipline of meditation.
Ghatastha-Yoga: The discipline of the ghata, the body; it is mentioned in the Gheranda-Samhitâ
Hatha-Yoga: The discipline of the force exercised by asanas, the physiological activity and pranayama, the breath control
Hiranyagarbha-Yoga: The discipline of Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Germ, who is considered the original founder of the Yoga tradition
Japa-Yoga: The centralizing discipline of recitation of the mantras
Jnâna-Yoga: The exercise of wisdom and knowledge, which is the approach of the Upanishads.
Karma-Yoga: The discipline of self-surpassing action as expounded in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ; the theory of action and reaction, cause and effect.
Kaula-Yoga: The instructions of Tantric Yoga of the Kaula school
Kripalu Yoga is an interplay of body, mind and energy.
Kriyâ-Yoga: The exercise of rituals as mentioned in the Yoga-Sûtra of Patanjali; the combined practice of tapas, asceticism, svâdhyâya, study and îshvara-pranidhâna, the worship of the Lord
Kundalinî-Yoga: The discipline fundamental to the Tantric tradition; the exercise of the serpent power, kundalinî-shakti
Lambikâ-Yoga: The yogic approach that stimulates the uvula to augment the flow of amrita or saliva
Laya-Yoga: The yoga that features the absorption or dissolution of the elements ere their natural dissolution at death
Mahâ-Yoga: The concept that is found in the Yoga-Shikhâ-Upanishad which combines the practice of Mantra-Yoga, Laya-Yoga, Hatha-Yoga, and Râja-Yoga
Mantra-Yoga: The practice of numinous sounds that help protect the mind
Nâda-Yoga: The discipline of the inner sound
Pancadashânga-Yoga: The training of the 15 limbs:
i) yama, moral discipline
(ii) niyama, restraint
(iii) tyâga, renunciation
(iv) mauna, silence
(v) desha, right place
(vi) kâla, right time
(vii) âsana, posture
(viii) mûla-bandha, root lock
(ix) deha-samya, bodily equilibrium
(x) dhrik-sthiti, stability of vision
(xi) prâna-samrodha, control of the life force
(xii) pratyâhâra, sensory inhibition
(xiii) dhâranâ, concentration
(xiv) âtma-dhyâna, meditation upon the Self and
(xv) samâdhi, ecstasy
Pâshupata-Yoga: The yogic discipline of the Pâshupata sect found in some of the Purânas
Pâtanjala-Yoga: The discipline of Patanjali, better known as Râja-Yoga or Yoga-Darshana
Pûrna-Yoga: The cultivation of wholeness or integration. It is the name of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga
Râja-Yoga: The yoga synonymous with Pâtanjala-Yoga, Ashtânga-Yoga, or Râja-Yoga
Samâdhi-Yoga: The yoga ecstasy or eternal bliss
Sâmkhya-Yoga: The discipline of insight, a reference of which is found in the Mahâbhârata
Sanyâsa-Yoga: The procedure of renunciation, which is often pitched against the concept of Karma-Yoga in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ
Samputa-Yoga: The tantric practice of maithunâ or sexual encounter
Samrambha-Yoga: The concept found in the Vishnu-Purâna which states the discipline of hatred as a principle that enable one to become what one continually contemplates; it can even be charged with
Saptânga-Yoga: The discipline of the seven limbs sapta-anga or sapta-Sâdhana (i) shasta-karma, good deeds or the six purifying practices (ii) âsana, posture (iii) mudrâ, seal (iv) pratyâhâra, sensory inhibition (v) prânâyâma, breath control (6) dhyâna, meditation and (7) samâdhi, ecstasy
Shadanga-Yoga: The discipline of the six limbs shasta-anga, as stated in the Maitrâyanîya-Upanishad (i) prânâyâma, breath control (ii) pratyâhâra, sensory inhibition (iii) dhyâna, meditation (iv) dhâranâ, concentration (v) tarka, examination and (vi) samâdhi, ecstasy
Siddha-Yoga: The discipline of the experts; founf in the Tantras
Sparsha-Yoga: The discipline of contact or touch exercised with breath control and mantra recitation; it is a Vedantic Yoga mentioned in the Shiva-Purâna
Tantra-Yoga: The practice of the Tantras based on the serpent power in the body, the kundalinî
Târaka-Yoga: The yoga based on the phenomena of light; the discipline of târaka, the deliverer
Yantra-Yoga: The power of focusing the mind upon yantra, geometric representations of the cosmos.