While I haven’t been to a yoga class at a gym or fitness center, I have done yoga at home via DVD. My husband and I started this fitness regime that was all the craze at the time, we bought the full set of training DVDs, the necessary equipment of which included yoga mats and blocks and the leggings to complete the look.
The disc set consisted of cardio, yoga, and various other training exercises but still to this day we were shocked and surprised at how tricky yoga is.
We are both avid football players with above-average fitness and endurance levels I would say, and even then the poses and stretches needed to finish the class was tough and exhausting. Core strength is an understatement.
All I can say is hats off to all yoga instructors and students religiously taking classes.
Many theories are floating around on the age of yoga, some say it came about 5000 years ago and others up to as far back as 10,000 years ago where the writings were found on destroyed and damaged palm leaves of which, unfortunately, not many if any still exist today.
We will take a look at the four main periods of yoga and how its practices and innovations have developed over the years.
Pre-classical yoga said to be brought in by the Indus-Sarasvati clans of Northern India, where the word yoga was mentioned in secret texts called Rig Veda. The Veda ‘manuals’ as it was thought to be were a collection of scriptures, sayings, and songs performed by the priests of those times and these represented their documentations of the rituals that were practiced.
It was later shown that the Upanishads took this practice of yoga and turned its rituals inwards, focusing on selflessness and offering wisdom and good actions, known today as “karma.”
Then we have Classical yoga, where the scripts and writings were defined into some of the practices we know today, but essentially a breakdown of levels, in which once completed, led to eternal enlightenment and a cleansed mind and soul.
Post-classical yoga comes next and consists of practices and techniques that aim to free the mind from the physical body.
What has become widely popular into what we recognize as “tantric” yoga, the goal is to rejuvenate the physical body and elongate the spiritual life, yoga masters wanted to release knots, that was thought to ‘bind’ us to our bodies, so that you may be free in mind and soul.
Last, but not least, is the Modern-Period yoga. The news of this mindful practice started to spread across the West and soon with a significant number of followers and over-whelming attention, schools started popping up to teach students and lectures were given to educate all who would listen.
This style of cleansing is still practiced today, the techniques and rituals with a few tweaks here and there are still those of the initial set up from back in time. We turn to yoga to heal, to increase spiritual well-being within ourselves, and to test our physical beings to their limits.
Key pieces of equipment you’ll need.
- The next main piece is a suitable mat, one that offers comfort and won’t go sliding all over the place. For an overview, take a look at non-slip mats and see the options available that best suit your style and can bring a calm, relaxed experience in your next session.
- This may seem an obvious item when it comes to fitness, but you’d be surprised how many people think tight is always better, but when it comes to yoga comfort is key. There are a lot of tricky positions you need to twist your body into and having restrictive leggings will only make things difficult. Big & baggy I say.
- These are great for increasing your flexibility, helps with posture extensions, and ‘literally’ brings your body to you as you stretch the muscles and get closer to your limbs.
- Like with all activities that use muscles, the body produces sweat. The towel is necessary to wipe as you go so you are essentially ‘dry’ and to prevent drops onto the mat which can result in you slipping and injuring yourself.
- These come in a variety of materials, foam, wood, or the ones we have which we love, cork. They are soft enough to hold onto for longer periods and sturdy enough to withstand weight, it’s the best of both worlds. They enable you to reach further in your stretches and provide support to hold positions for longer.
Take a minute to watch this quick video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc_9ZMDiOjk to see how to correctly use yoga blocks and prevent any unnecessary injuries. There are safety measures to keep in mind even when you think it is just lying around and stretching, pulled ligaments can take ages to heal and this is the last thing you need when starting your fitness.
People do yoga for many different reasons, some for health benefits others for physical strength and then there are those looking for a deeper meaning of self. Inward reflections and the offer of kindness to the world through the example of self and the life you live to love.
Whatever your reason, take it with both hands, may you have increased self-awareness and continued growth for your future.