Yoga is another spiritualistic practice that was created in ancient India. It was created with the hopes that the person practicing yoga gains the ability to be spiritually and mentally tranquil. This benefit of yoga is best described as reaching a type of Nirvana. It is a form of meditative practice hat has very specific goals.
The modern benefits of yoga and current idea of yoga comes from one of six forms, or schools, from the Hindu philosophy. The form that we know today is officially referred to as Raja Yoga. This system is commented on and explained frothier in many different Hindu texts that were later written in support of the practice. Most would recognize the benefits of yoga as being a direct part of the Buddhist and Jainist religions.
The Meaning of Yoga and the Goals
The meaning of yoga comes from the ancient Sanskrit word “yup,” or yoke. It literally means to join or unit. It can also mean “to attach.” The meaning of yoga and the term was used for as early as the 2nd century BC. The goals and path of Raja yoga can take years to master and be so intense that advanced yoga positions, when tried by a novice, can not only be painful but extremely harmful to their body. A master, or simply someone who practices for all the benefits of yoga is called a yogi, or yogini.
The goals of yoga range from everything to improving your health to achieving total moksha. Moksha is the release of the pain that is brought with being a part of the continuing cycle of death, reincarnation, and rebirth. Within the ancient definition of the goals of yoga, the attainment of moksha is the primary goal and benefit of yoga. In today’s day and tome it is used to promote good health, flexibility, a quiet state of mind, and the ability to have complete control the body.
The reason that most Buddhist practice yoga to attain moksha is so they can escape the rebirth cycle altogether. When this is done, the true benefit of yoga can be known, total self awareness and realization of self identity. The goal and benefit of yoga can also be described as entering the world of Brahma… as Brahma. That simply means that you realize the true-self spirit and enter that spirit never to return to the person you were before it.
The practicing yoga in modern times is, surprisingly, more of a mind exercise than a body exercise. The benefits of yoga, Raja yoga, are achieved by focusing thought-waves and the mental modifications you’ve made throughout the day and your life. Most yoga sessions will begin with a few moments of quiet meditation and then the positional training will start.
For those few moments before the practicing yoga begins, you will be asked to concentrate your mind and your inner sight between the eyebrows, in the place of the famous inner third eye. This is the same place you can see something in your mind or even dream. Constantly practicing yoga in this way will lead to the ability to truly reach a state of Moksha, or total self realization, in the Raja yoga practice.
Practicing yoga helps the mind get used to focusing on a single internal location, there come the ability to allow the energy within them to flow unbroken towards that point of concentration, allowing the practitioner to get one step closer to that magical moment of moksha.
Best Positions for Starters
As I mentioned before, using the wrong positions as a novice can be hard, if not dangerous, for on your body. As a starter, it’s best to crawl before you run. To help you figure what are the best positions for you to start off with, I have put together two great starter positions for your to consider.
One of the best positions for a novice is the downward-ward facing dog. Start by getting on the floor upon your hands and knees. You want to place your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders. Spread your fingers out and turn your palms slightly out to better support your weight. Then, for flexibility and a slight feeling of awareness, turn your feet slightly inwards, so that your big toes are making a “V” shape.
As you lift your knees off the floor, you want to exhale a deep breath. At first you will naturally bend at the knees and lift your heels off the floor, for now leave them just like that. Stretch your tail bone away from your pelvis and lift your butt toward the ceiling using your body, not your feet. The benefits of yoga positions, especially this one, are becoming aware of your body that may require some slight discomfort.
With one final push, stretch your heels flat onto the floor and slowly straighten your knees, but be sure not to completely lock them. If your knees lock it can cut off your blood circulation and cause you to pass out. For maximum results and mental awareness , this is one of the best positions in the Sun Salutation sequence and should be held for anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes.
We all know the classic happy newborn baby look, the baby smiling while lying on its back with a foot in each hand. In yoga this is called the happy baby and if you want to start gaining the benefits of yoga, this is one of the best positions to use.
You begin this position by lying on you back on the floor. With a deep and slow exhale, bend your knees to your belly. As you inhale again, grip your toes or the outside of your feet with your hands. When this is accomplished, open your knees slightly and stretch until your legs are open slightly wider than your chest.
After this is done, bring each hand, while gripping the feet, down slightly toward your armpits. For the true effects of this position, and the benefits of yoga in general, you have to push yourself, just a little, and hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute. Release the feet and let them drop back to the floor. Don’t jump up right away, take a few breathes then rise to your feet.