The world of yoga. In this article you will get to know yoga. I will briefly talk about yoga as power and yoga as meditation. Wherein yoga as therapy will be discussed thoroughly. Yoga is one of the few activities I am doing to ease and or treat my lower back pain. So sit back and enjoy reading.
The world of yoga
The origin of yoga can be traced in ancient India. Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines as defined by Wikipedia.
I asked random people what is yoga and got various answers. Most of them answered yoga is meditation, other literally said that it is breathing exercise, some said it’s an art. From their responses I would say that they are all correct. Yoga itself is very broad. It is a four letter word with a very comprehensive meaning. It’s fascinating world has so much to explore and I will just touch some of them.
To date, is very popular around the world. Obviously yoga has found its way outside India. Yoga found it’s way in western language and culture. Going back to India, yoga has a deeper purpose which is meditation and spiritual core.
Approaches of yoga
Yoga can be a means to attain a degree of power, yoga as meditation and yoga as therapy.
What is power yoga? In power yoga, a person tries to attain a certain level to have control over the body and mind through intense mental and physical practice. There are lots of power yoga exercises that is available on videos for beginners to follow. To attain this, there should be no distractions like noisy environment or what so ever. People do yoga in a calm, peaceful and relaxing environment. The power is believed to arise through physical posture wherein one masters his or her own body. The second one is through breathing exercise and lastly through the practice of concentration. These three produces energy and control. This might be a difficult level to attain especially for beginners.
Yoga as meditation, meditation is not simply closing your eyes and sitting quietly. Yogis practice meditation often to master the idea of quieting the mind. I it take lot of practice because it is difficult to empty your mind with all those differing thoughts you have. Yogis have been doing meditation there whole life to master the art of meditation. For beginners, it is advisable to practice meditation often. Find your spot where you can have a peaceful moment. Sit with a good posture so as not to feel heavy on the back or shoulders.
Yoga as therapy. Yogis practices certain yoga poses to address certain ailments physical, mental or spiritual. In ayurvedic medicine, certain yoga techniques, postures and breathing can cure different types of illnesses. There are many proven benefits of yoga. The benefits of yoga for lower back pain or back pain in general is what I have experience. I am doing it twice a week in conjunction with other back training that I am doing as planned by my physical therapist.
Furthermore, yoga can also be an effective weight loss training. Every individual is different so try to know and understand your body’s needs.
Basically you can hold each yoga pose for 10.12 breaths (wherein 1 breath is one cycle of inhalation and exhalation). But depending on what level you are then you can hold it up to 30 breaths. These yoga poses can also be modified according to your level. Find your comfort especially if you are a beginner. Below is my yoga routine poses for my back pain. I am sharing it with you because I find it effective.
Before anything else, I start my yoga with a breathing exercise with my knees crossed over the other. Straighten your back, rest the back of your palms on your knees and try to relax. Feel your breathing. I do this for 3-5 minutes to try to relax my mind and put my mind and body on yoga mode. You can of course decide to do it longer if you want depending on your preferences.
This is Vrksasana (tree pose). This pose has different variations according to different levels. You can either choose to do what’s on the picture or you can raise both your arms on parallel position above your head. Again it depends on what you prefer. Tree pose is good for balancing and strengthening of the thighs, and spine.
The Virabhadrasana 1 pose ( low warrior pose) opens the hips, opens the chest and strengthens the arms and legs. This is good for balancing as well. As you do this, you can feel the muscles of your legs being stretched, your chest opens up and that is beneficial for good respiration. You will feel energized.
You have the option to kneel back or straighten your leg, depending on what level you are comfortable with. Don’t force yourself especially if you are a beginner.
Warrior 2 pose. Just like warrior pose 1 in this pose you will develop a good balance and stretches different muscles in your back, legs,arms and shoulders.
There is a modification in this pose as well. You can stretch your arms sideways, twist your hips and face front.
The Bhujangasana (cobra pose). This posture prepares the body for more deep bending. It eases muscle stiffness at the back. I improves flexibility, and tones the buttocks. Try to hold the pose for 15-30 seconds and slowly relax to the floor with exhale.
Do not try to hyper extend especially if you are just starting with yoga. Try to know your body and do the posture where you are most comfortable with.
Cat-cow pose. Start with a table position, both your hands and knees on the floor. Relax your head and slowly arch your back, then do the opposite rounding your back like the cat when it stretches, with your head looking up. This pose is very beneficial for back pain, menstrual discomforts and is good to relieve stress.
The muscles of your back, hips, shoulders and abdomen benefits in this pose.
The balasana (child’s pose). This is common for beginners. It is also a very nice way to relax the entire back. You can hold this position as long as you want and as long as you are comfortable. If you are doing this pose for the purpose of yin then hold it for 3-5mins, but if it’s a counter pose then one minute should be good.
This is a good pose to stretch your gluteus muscle and hamstrings.
The Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) is one of the most iconic poses in yoga. The posture helps rejuvenate the entire body. It stretches the entire body muscles which is a good way to develop muscle strength. Just like the cat-cow pose this is also one of the best way to relieve menstrual cramps and back pain. This pose stretches the calves, hamstring and shoulders.
The sarvangasana (bridge pose) pose. This pose stretches the back, neck, abdominal and gluteus muscle. It also opens up the hips and stretches the hamstrings. It calms the brain and central nervous system.
The savasana (corps pose). Often called the final relaxation because this is the final pose in any yoga routine. The body is in supine position. Literally you just let your mind and body relax. This equates the cooling down time of every training or physical exercise.
The above mentioned yoga poses is very effective for my lower back pain. It is my yoga therapy program from the yoga class I am attending. You too can attend yoga classes or if not then there are lots of yoga video for beginners that you can try.
Either you are interested in power yoga or in other types of yoga, a piece of advice is to consult your physician before starting any yoga training. We all have individual needs and have varrying health situations. There might be some contraindications or limitations depending on your case. So always asked health professionals before starting any fitness program.
- Natural healing: remedies & therapies by Mark Evans
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