Perhaps every one has its own definition about Yoga. The word “Yoga” essentially means, “that which brings you to reality”. Literally, it means “union.” Union means it brings you to the ultimate reality, where individual manifestations of life are surface bubbles in the process of creation.
Yoga brings different experience to everyone! And that infuses different definition about yoga into people’s mind. Even a YOGA MAT that accompanying you every day brings you special feeling.
Generally speaking,it is very difficult to tell which is better. It depends what outcome you want.Yoga,relatively, is kind of slow and gentle sports,compared with gym.However, what is the similarity between them? That is it takes a long time to get the result,it needs persistence and patience. They change you slowly and silently.Not matter what you choose,just get moving and start to welcome the whole new you.Go!Yoga!Go!Gym!And don;t forget your special YOGA MAT!
Generally speaking,if you choose those yoga mats made from eco-friendly material, the smell wont smell bad and will go away within several days.I have learnt yoga for several years and I bought several pieces of yoga mats,the one I bought from x-yoga is best one I got, good quality,nice image and nearly no smell.I still keep it now.
From where I stand, the importance of yoga depends on what you expect to get from YOGA. For some people, it is just a sport to loose weight,to spend time, to take ins picture, to make friends.For others, it might be a life style,a belief, a way to heal from inside？
When yoga becomes part of your life,if you don’t do yoga one day,you will miss it so much,just like something you can’t be lack of in the daily life. So it is normal to see some people can bring nothing except a yoga mat to travel!
It is very hard to tell which is the best yoga mat.I think we need to find one fits us according to our needs. When I choose to take hot yoga class,I choose one yoga mat and one yoga towel.The yoga mat I choose is eco-friendly and its material is cork wood and natural rubber. The reason I choose it is because it is anti-slip and its natural material.And doing hot yoga will sweat a lot. So I buy a yoga towel at the same time.I buy from X-yoga and the customer service is good there.
Western culture has embraced yoga as an activity — one that has several healthy benefits — transforming it from its ancient Indian origins. As such, it’s hard to picture yoga outside of what has become commonplace: a casual afternoon workout, a hobby and an expensive line of apparel.
However, the practice is growing as a competitive sport, with an international governing body, in addition to several national organizations (including here in the United States). Yes, competitive yoga is a thing, and it’s hoping to eventually become an Olympic sport.
Competitive yoga competitions in the United States are organized by USA Yoga, which describes itself as a “nonprofit organization formed for the purpose of developing and promoting yoga asana (yoga postures) as a sport.” Like any sport, it needs a set of rules, and the organization has obliged.
According to the official rules posted by USA Yoga, different postures are rewarded varying scores in the adult and senior divisions, depending on the level of difficulty, and a contestant must perform six poses within three minutes. The score is weighted on a scale of 60 — basically, you can get as high as a 10 for each specific pose. The poses are very difficult, though, as competitors only earn an average score of 30, with the highest recorded score at a USA Yoga event a 42, Joseph Encinia, president of USA Yoga, told Racked.
“It’s not just about what you do, it’s how you do it,” Encinia told Racked. “We’re looking at technique. If a yogi’s alignment is off, we’ll hold it against them, but we’re also watching for balance and control of the breath. Someone can be holding still the entire time, but if they’re holding their breath, they’ll eventually start shaking. We’ve had athletes and contortionists come to compete and they think they’re going to kill it, but then they get jittery and fall. Yoga is about catching the stillness.”
Competitive yoga, as it is organized now in the United States, was started by Rajashree Choudhury, the wife of Bikram Choudhury, who was at the helm of the popular Bikram yoga (or hot yoga) offset, which has yoga poses held in 100-plus degree rooms. Both Rajashree and Bikram were heavily involved in the early stages of competitive yoga in the United States; sexual assault allegations against Bikram have since lessened his involvement. The couple has also separated.
Personal issues notwithstanding, Rajashree and the members of USA Yoga and the International Yoga Sports Federation hope that competitive yoga will be recognized as an Olympic sport in the near future. Thus far, they’ve made good progress. Yoga was only represented by 15 countries at the International Yoga Asana Championship in 2009, and since then, there are 32 affiliates of the IYSF, according to Racked.
It’s still a ways away — to be formally considered by the Olympic committee, it has to be practiced in 75 countries spanning four continents. However, it’s also making headway in India, where it was classified as an official sport in the country in 2015 — a distinction that puts it in the same league as mainstream sports such as soccer, swimming and squash.
“It’s far away,” Rajashree said, according to the New York Times. “A lot of work needs to be done before we really get into it, but this is our dream.”
There are criticisms for the sport, however, and whether it creates a culture that’s not associated with the activity. “I don’t really understand how you would compete to be the happiest, most balanced person,” Julie Kleinman, the vice president of programming for yoga studio chain YogaWorks, told the Times.
Regardless of the criticism, competitive yoga has a place — and whether it’s the proper use of yoga is certainly up to interpretation, and dependent on the individual. “Competitive yoga can be considered just as authentic as practice rooted in Hindu mythology,” Chavie Lieber wrote for Racked. “As much as opponents want to fight the rise of competition, history has shown there is room for all manners of yoga. A tournament approach, as well as a transcendent one, can coexist.”
Chair yoga is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so they can be done while seated in a chair.
These modifications make yoga accessible1 to people who cannot stand, lack the mobility to move easily from standing to seated to supine positions, or want a quick break from office work.
Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual postures are retained. While seated on chairs, students can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends.
In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other health benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, better breathing habits, reduction of stress,better sleep , and a sense of well-being.
Who Does Chair Yoga?
Chair yoga can be practiced by anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of yoga and may (or may not) have mobility limitations. For example, chair yoga is great for anyone who needs more support and or is managing an injury or wants a more therapeutic approach to the practice.
Chair yoga classes are widely available in senior centers and retirement homes, as senior citizens are its biggest target audience, but obese people and people with neurological diseases are also good candidates to give the chair method a try. Office workers can also take advantage of chair yoga’s adaptations to sneak in some stretches at work.
The Best Chair for Yoga
Since chair yoga is all about adaptability, it should come as no surprise that the particular chair you use is not important; you don’t have to run out and buy a specialized yoga chair. Chairs with wheels are not ideal since they are unstable, but almost any other chair will do. If you are on the shorter side, put yoga blocks or a folded yoga mat under your feet to give yourself a firm foundation.
1.Chair Cat-Cow Stretch
Come to sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet on the floor. Place your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs.
On an inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, bringing your shoulder blades onto your back. This is cow position.
On an exhale, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head come forward. This is cat position.
Continue moving between cow on the inhalations and cat on the exhalations for five breaths.
2.Chair Raised Hands Pose – Urdhva Hastasana
On an inhalation, raise your arms toward the ceiling.
Maintain good upper body posture with the shoulders relaxed and rib cage sitting naturally over the hips. Anchor your sit bones in your chair seat and reach up from there.
3.Chair Forward Bend – Uttanasana
On an exhalation, come into a forward bend over the legs.
Let the hands rest on the floor if they reach it. Let the head hang heavy.
On an inhalation, raise the arms back up over the head.
Repeat this movement between a raised arms position and a forward fold several times, moving with the breath.
4.Chair Extended Side Angle – Utthita Parsvakonasana
After your final forward bend, stay folded.
Bring your left fingertips to the floor on the outside of your left foot.
Open your chest as you twist to the right on an inhale, bringing your right arm and gaze up at the ceiling. This is your chair version of extended side angle pose. Hold here for several breaths. Bring the right arm down on an exhale.
If your left hand doesn’t come easily to the floor, place a block under it or bring it to your left knee instead and twist from there.
Do the same position with the right arm down and the left arm up.
5.Chair Pigeon – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Come back up to sit.
Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping the knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Hold this chair pigeon for three to five breaths.
You may forward bend to intensify the stretch if you like. Repeat with the left leg.
6.Chair Eagle – Garudasana
Cross your right thigh over your left thigh for eagle pose. If you can, wrap the right foot all the way around the left calf.
Cross your left arm over the right one at the elbow. Bend the elbows and bring your palms to touch.
Lift the elbows while dropping the shoulders away from the ears. Hold three to five breaths.
Repeat on the other side.
7.Chair Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana
Come to sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left.
Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair, for a spinal twist.
Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths.
Move your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist to the right side.
8.Chair Warrior I – Virabhadrasana I
Now keep the right leg in position over the side of the chair while you swing the left leg behind you.
Plant the sole of the left foot on the floor roughly parallel to the seat of the chair and straighten the left leg.
Keep your torso facing over the right leg as you raise your arms up to the ceiling on a inhale coming to warrior I. Hold for three breaths.
9.Chair Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II
On an exhale, open up the arms with the right arm coming forward and the left arm going back.
Draw the left hip back and turn the torso to the left, so that it is aligned with the front of the chair.
Gaze out over the right fingertips and hold warrior II for three breaths.
Let the left arm come down the left leg and lift the right arm up to the ceiling on an inhale for reverse warrior. Hold for three breaths.
Bring both legs to the front of the chair before coming to sit sideways on the chair facing left and going through the series of three warrior poses on the left side.
11.Final Relaxation: Chair Savasana
Take a few minutes to sit with your eyes closed and hands in your lap at the end of your practice. This seated savasana will help your body absorb all the good effects of the poses you have done and transition you into the rest of your day.
Most studios and fitness centers offer yoga in a warm or hot room, but Bikram yoga, sometimes called the original hot yoga style, is a whole different ball game. Technically, Bikram is a version of Hatha, a traditional branch of yoga that combines postures and breathing. But it’s not just a style, it’s a specific experience with a cult-like following (Beyoncé included). Every class features the same 26 set poses, takes place in a 105f-degree room, and is taught by a Bikram-certified instructor. But the heat and tough postures can provide different challenges than a traditional yoga practice. Here’s the 411 on how to stay safe and get the most out of a Bikram session.
Warm Bodies — The Need-to-Know
Back in the 1970s, Bikram Choudhury (a four-time Yoga Champion of India) created a series of poses for amateur yogis. Since Bikram developed his practice, hundreds of Bikram yoga centers have cropped up around the world, from Serbia to San Francisco. Regardless of location, each sweaty 90-minute class features the same series of postures, such as the half moon and the standing bow. According to the Bikram official website, the heat helps sweat out toxins, stretch muscles, and improve circulation throughout the body.
The heat definitely gets the heart pumping, but jury’s still out the on whether or not it counts as a cardiovascular workout. The evenly paced moves are super low-impact, making Bikram a good option for runners or anyone with sore joints. Research also shows that this form of yoga can boost strength, flexibility, and even aid weight lossTrusted Source.
On the other hand, critics claim that the heat can limber up a body a bit too much, and actually do more harm than good when people are suddenly able to push themselves beyond their usual limitations. The excessive heat can also be a problem for people with cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, or those who are more susceptible to dehydration or heat stroke. Bikram yoga is a tough experience for a first-timer — the often-crowded room, the heat, the sweat, and the tricky postures make for a serious workout. Before heading into the toasty yoga studio, check in with a doctor if you have or have had any health problems or a history of cardiovascular issues. Ready to sweat? Here are a few extra tips to get the most out of every Bikram session.
It’s Getting Hot in Here — Your Action Plan
Get prepped. Because the heat can be so hard on the body, it’s important to think ahead before heading to a Bikram yoga class. Start hydrating 24 hours before the class, avoid eating for 1-2 hours to a yoga class to prevent nausea. But don’t make up for lost time by chugging a whole bottle right before walking in the door — overloading on H20 can lead to an uncomfortably full stomach and overactive bladder during class!
Dress to impress. Pick comfortable clothing that doesn’t chafe or restrict movement when wet. Nobody wants to get bogged down by a soggy cotton T-shirt, so opt for form-fitting clothing. Many people minimize the damage by wearing as little as possible — for men, a pair of spandex shorts, and for women, shorts and a stretchy tank top or sports bra.
Choose bottle service. Don’t forget to bring water! Place a bottle next to your yoga mat and take small sips as needed. Ideally, hydration occurs before class so drinking water between pose shouldn’t be necessary. However, everyone has different needs, so do what you gotta do! Note that some teachers may not “give” very many rest poses, so it’s important to listen to your body and take breaks (simply stand still, sit, or lie down).
BYO Equipment. Most studios provide yoga mats, but many people prefer to get schweddy on their own personal yoga mats(hey, we feel ya). Bring a yoga towel (or three) to mop up a slippery sweat pool or use for traction when sweaty limbs start slidin’. Note that sweating regulates the body temperature, so avoid the urge to constantly yoga towel it off. Wiping off sweat can actually make it harder for the body to adjust to the hot room and distract from the flow of the practice.
Speak up. Before class, let the teacher know about any previous injuries or medical conditions you might have. An experienced yoga instructor can teach variations to reduce stress on a certain body part or make certain moves easier or harder depending on each person’s needs.
Go your own way. As with any yoga class , it may be tempting to compare your practice with someone else’s. But paying attention to your own body (not what Mr. Gumby is doing over there) is especially important in a heated class, where heat can loosen joints and muscles and make it easier to push beyond your limits. If the heat makes you feel dizzy, take as many breaks as necessary. Most instructors encourage staying in the hot room lying down until ready to participate again. While resting, focus on breathing slowly through the nose.
Ease out: After class,restore fluids and electrolytes with coconut water or a sports drink, or try plain H20 plus a banana. All certified Bikram studios have showers, so consider rinsing off that eau de yoga before heading back to the outside world.
Two of the most popular styles of Yoga classes are Ashtanga and Vinyasa. The defining characteristic of Vinyasa is the alignment of movement and breath; and, technically, Ashtanga might be considered the mother of today’s many Vinyasa styles, but the history of these two styles is a much deeper subject. In modern times, both styles seem to stem from the Krishnamacharya Yoga lineage, and both highlight breath-centered movement. On the other hand, the Yoga Korunta is connected to the origin of Ashtanga, while the Sun Salutations seem to be the beginning of Vinyasa flow.
The biggest difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa lies in the sequencing. Ashtanga Yoga originally consisted of four series of postures: primary, secondary, advanced A and advanced B. Today there are six series of postures. The series are sequential in that a practitioner must master one before he or she can move on to the next. Each series consists of a predefined order of postures (asanas) that students practice the same way, every time. On the other side of the coin, Vinyasa class sequences vary in sequencing, and the practitioner might experience an entirely different sequence each time he or she practices.
Each Ashtanga series revolves around a category of asanas: the primary series centers on forward bends, the secondary series focuses on back bends, and the advanced series emphasizes arm-support and arm-balancing poses. As the class progresses, the postures in the series, become more complex. Vinyasa Yoga sequences, on the other hand, often feature a peak pose. The peak pose is a challenging and complex pose that the teacher has selected for a particular practice. The teacher leads the class through a sequence of postures that helps students prepare for practice and recover from the peak pose.
Both Ashtanga and Vinyasa employ pose transitions or flows. In the Ashtanga practice, the student performs an asymmetrical pose on the right side, moves through a sequence, and then repeats the pose on the left side. In Vinyasa Yoga, a student may link several asymmetrical poses together before finishing and switching to the other leg.
Ashtanga classes can be either teacher-led or “Mysore,” which means self-led. In a Mysore class, each student practices an Ashtanga series from memory, moving at his or her own pace. The teacher walks around and provides individual adjustments and instruction, as needed. In contrast, a Yoga teacher almost always leads a Vinyasa class. The Vinyasa teacher will cue the entire class together and offer some individual adjustments on an as-needed basis.
Finally, students of Ashtanga Yoga usually do not use props, posture modifications, or music. In Vinyasa classes, some teachers make props available, use background music, and encourage their students to modify postures, as needed.
What is Ananda Yoga?
Ananda Yoga brings yoga back to its original spiritual essence.
Above all, it seeks to raise your level of consciousness by reinforcing the natural effects the yoga postures. With this, it is also designed to harmonize your body, mind, and soul.
Ananda Yoga includes:
Asana (yoga postures)
Pranayama (breathing and energy-control techniques)
Yogic meditation techniques
Applied yoga philosophy
What Is the Practice Like?
Yoga posture practice in Ananda Yoga is gentle for beginning students, becoming more challenging with experience. It is an inwardly directed practice, and is never aggressive or aerobic.
The primary emphases are:
Safety and correct alignment
Being relaxed at all times, even during the midst of effort
Working directly with the body’s subtle energy via the yoga postures
Using the postures to raise your consciousness
Adaptation – modifying each yoga posture to fit the needs and abilities of the practitioner rather than trying to force the practitioner into some “ideal” position.