Yoga is normally considered to have 8 facets, or limbs of teaching. Of these 8 limbs, there are two that we are particularly interested in:
- Exercise (asana, limb 3)
- Mediation (pranayama, limb 4)
Yoga is Hindu philosophy of life, not limited to exercise and has many applications that can be assimilated into modern lifestyles to help you to be functional and ideally, happy.
Western organizations have adopted yoga as a form of fitness, which it suits excellently. Yoga benefits are backed in many ways by modern science, however, we are constantly learning more about the purposed benefits
The third and fourth limbs, Mediation and breath work (pranayama) can be done any time, any where, which is part of what makes yoga so useful. I practice this on planes, in airports, when I wake up, and like to start my day with a meditation and Dharana(focus).
My yang practice is heavily influenced by Ashtanga. I love exercise, handstands, jump throughs, burpees, and work heavily on abdominal strength through breath control in the classes that I instruct. I mostly practice in yoga studios, but also have a very personalized practice and practice the primary series somewhat regularly. Lately I have been delving into calisthenics and body resistance exercises that aren’t necessarily called “yoga” and I run pretty often, play other sports, and am generally an active person.
Yin yoga is very a very powerful, new practice that overlaps heavily with my meditation and yang practices; it is so useful! It tends to be much slower and easier to perform, as the poses are extended and the breath tends to be much slower.