Yoga, or “Yog” as it is traditionally called, means “Union with the Divine.” It is a science of Self which dates back some 10,000 years or more, originating in India. There is no Eastern spiritual or religious practice that has not been directly or indirectly influenced by this path. A simpler meditation practice which can be done on your own, is Mindfulness meditation. Yoga is a spiritual practice with the goal of awakening to one’s true nature or cosmic consciousness, gradually attaining higher and more expanded states of absorption and at the most advanced stages – “samadhi.”
Kundalini yoga is a form of yoga that involves dynamic, repetitive movements and breath work to move the energy and lift the spirit. It is the only form of yoga that specifically targets certain glands in the brain, such as the pituitary and the pineal glands, to activate them for improved health and well-being. Sometimes called “Insight Meditation,” Mindfulness does not involve the intense concentration of Kriya Yoga.
Pranayama is an important aspect of yoga and meditation practice, that involves the willful use of breath. Rather than “breath control” however, it is more accurate to consider pranayama to be “life-force control.” “Prana” means life-force or life-energy, and “yama” means restraint or control. The controlled use of breath can powerfully shift one’s consciousness, and change the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state.
The deep, invigorating breath techniques of Yoga bring large amounts of fresh oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body. Complete relaxation and meditation practice show you how to access the strength and power of your inner self for a support system that keeps you going through all the ups and downs of your life. Yoga exercises put pressure on glands and organs, helping them to produce the soothing, healing chemical balance that is needed to feel well and be well. Yoga exercises improve circulation, sending invigorating oxygen to your brain and all your muscles.
The Lion Pose (Simhasana)
This is a wonderful pose for gaining courage and lightening your emotional load; the facial expressions involved are guaranteed to boost your mood, especially if you perform this pose in front of a mirror.
The Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Releases tension and is also good for deep breathing and relaxation.
Benefits: This is a great chest-opener; many people who have depression coupled with anxiety often have feelings of tightness or pressure in the chest—this pose can help ease the pressure. The Fish is also very beneficial for a tense neck, shoulders and lower back.
The Child’s Pose (Balasana)
A good, relaxing counter-pose if performed after the Fish pose.
Benefits: Child’s pose is a comforting, peaceful asana. Staying in this position is not only relaxing, but also promotes a feeling of safety and security. The stretch involved to the lower back and arms also feels wonderful!
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
Warrior I is a great confidence booster; anytime you feel unsure of yourself or uneasy, try this posture.
Benefits: This is a very easy asana, but also a very powerful one. Warrior I can help you feel more grounded. You can gain equilibrium with this pose, both mentally and physically!
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
There’s just no better way to end a yoga session than with the ultimate relaxation pose.