yoga at sunset #9
Yoga is an ancient and comprehensive system of techniques originating from India. It includes several closely intertwined practices such as:
asanas (postures), – pranayamas (breathing techniques), – kriyas (cleansing procedures), – mudras (psychic gestures) and – bandhas (body locks), – meditation (with senses withdrawal, concentration, focus and stillness of mind). In addition, yoga encompasses not only those techniques, but also a wider philosophical approach to life, with social and ethical implications. These are yamas and niyamas, the principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, non stealing, sense restraint, purity of body and mind, gratitude, austerity, personal development through self study, surrender to God or a higher power, etc.
Yoga is practiced by people of all nations, religions, professions and spiritual aspirations. Yoga means “union” and that reflects our desire to unite with the divine essence, the “Self”, which is love, beauty, goodness and light. The goal is to become the best that we can be, to become self-realized. Yoga also refers to the unity of body and mind, the connection that has recently been gaining more acceptance by the medical field. The truth that ancient sages of all traditions knew so well, that our thoughts, breath, food and water intake and movement affect our health, well-being and longevity is being more and more recognized nowadays. In general, people who practice yoga regularly are much calmer, better focused, and more intuitive and loving.

HATHA YOGA – authentic Indian yoga, over 4,000 years old. Bihar school of yoga, Sivananda yoga, Himalayan yoga, and others belong to this classic yoga category.

TAOIST YOGA – originates from China; also known as the Yin & Yang yoga; a well known representative of this branch is Master Paulie Zink┬┤s lineage; the postures are based on animal forms, the five elements of Taoism and the Yin and Yang interaction.

YIN YOGA – a newer form of yoga founded by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers; consists of holding postures for a longer time and has a calming and soothing effect.

ZEN YOGA or CHAN YOGA – has its foundation in Buddhism; the movements are mostly slower with a flow; pranayama and zazen meditation are important components.

TANTRA YOGA (right hand) – very ancient school of yoga mentioned in the Vedas and other ancient texts; self-realization is achieved through the body and movement of energy; its philosophical basis is the union of Shiva and Shakti principles.

KUNDALINI YOGA – energizing postures, movements and breathing techniques with the aim to awaken evolutionary Kundalini energy.

VINYASA YOGA – dynamic yoga with flowing sequences of asanas, synchronized with the breath.

TAI CHI (or Tai Chi Chuan, also transcribed as Taiji Quan) – ancient Chinese system of self-defense and physical exercises which consists of a sequence of slow, flowing and meditative movements; originally a martial art, Tai Chi today is mostly practiced for its health benefits.

QI GONG (or Chi Kung) – originally a martial art, often considered “tai chi`s parent”; qigong is essentially practiced for healing through a variety of movements and breathing techniques; while tai chi always involves stepping, many forms of qigong are done simply standing, and sometimes even sitting or lying down.