Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, originating in India. As a spiritual system, it focuses on obtaining a higher state of consciousness while releasing your spirit from suffering. As is the case in most religious practices, there are differences in the belief systems, but mainly yoga is an ascetic philosophy in which people achieve purity by withdrawing from the world.
There are different components in a complete yoga system governing individual wisdom, spiritual belief and ethical behavior. Out of all of them, it is the physical practices of “hatha” yoga that have caught on most successfully in the West. Almost all of the types of yoga we recognize are geared toward improving the body. Relaxation and reducing stress are involved in the practice as well, but many people are focused on fitness and flexibility.
There are many styles of hatha yoga: slow and gentle, exercises using props, power yoga, and a new trend in the yoga world where participants do yoga in a room as hot as 105 degrees F. (The latter is known as “bikram” yoga and it would probably be best to wait until Continue reading