Yoga for more strength - Alpha Male Nation
One of the oldest and most efficient methods to improve our life by obtaining a better health, a better control of your own emotions, more harmonious relationships with people around you, for our change and for the change of the whole planet is the yoga practice. Yoga means asanas, breathing and meditation. It is a very old practice, originary from India, dating back thousands of years. Yoga practice is not just a physical practice, it also focuses on mental wellbeing. Generally, yoga is practiced for getting a flat abdomen, to burn calories or from the desire to be more connected with yourself, in a spiritual way. Traditional Yoga is usually practiced at the sunrise and at the sunset. It is proved that yoga at the first hour in the morning, before breakfast activates your metabolic process, stabilizes your sugar level in your blood, helps you sleep better in the night, and increases your mental focus by letting out endorphins and serotonin thus managing to reflect the wellness from inside to the outside. Recent studies in the health domain and in the general human wellness area had proved the special effects of the yoga practice in reducing stress. Getting some time for yourself at the beginning of each day will make you feel centered, to be always focused and happy to live in the present.
History of Yoga
Yoga is one of the six traditional schools of Hinduism based on meditation as a path to self-knowledge and liberation. The Hindu texts that establish the yoga bases contain: The Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and more. In India, Yoga is seen as a way of perfecting both physical and spiritual. Outside India, Yoga began to be associated primarily with the so-called practice of asanas (positions) included in hatha yoga, although yoga influenced the entire family of Dharma religions and other spiritual practices all over the world.
Yoga, as a combination of exercises and meditation has been practiced for over 5000 years. Since Bhagavad Gita was written, the main branches of Yoga were classified as Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. A 5000 years old sculpture preserved until today from the Indus Valley Civilization depicts a figure that archaeologists believe is a yogi sitting in a meditation position. The figure is represented standing in a traditional yoga position, with feet and hands crossed, resting on his knees. The sculpture discoverer, archaeologist Sir John Marshall, called it The Pashupati Shiva figure.In Sanskrit language, yoga is a derivation of the term pre-indo-european yugam, a yeung- root meaning “to join” or “to unite”; akin to the Latin word ‘iugum’ and to the modern English word ‘yoke’.
The Bhagavad Gita (“Song of God”), even if it was written somewhere between 400 and 100 BC, speaks four branches of yoga:
1. Karma yoga: The Yoga of the action in the world.
2. Jnana Yoga: Yoga of the wisdom and of the intellectual endeavor
3. Bhakti yoga: Yoga of dedication to God
4. Dhyana yoga (later called Raja Yoga): Yoga of meditation
The goals of yoga are expressed in different ways by every tradition. For a normal person, still far from enlightenment, yoga can be a way of self-control and spiritual growth or of cultivation of compassion and introspection. But Yoga means freedom from the world of senses, from your body, from your emotions, from your mind and from your ego and thus reaching God, which involves the release of yourself from the cycle of suffering and rebirth and this way you will get to reach the state of holiness. For this, yoga requires discipline, spiritual knowledge and especially – devotion.
In all branches of yoga, the ultimate goal is to achieve an eternal state of perfect consciousness. In the monistic schools of the advaita vedanta and the schools of the saivism, this perfection takes the form of the mokusei which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the circle of births and deaths (samsara), a state where thoughts stop and there appears the experience of the blissful union with the Supreme Brahman. For the dualistic schools of bhakti of the vaishnavism, bhakti process itself is the supreme goal of yoga and perfection culminates in an eternal relationship with Vishnu or one of his avatars, such as Krishna or Rama.
The practice of concentration, called as well – dharana- and meditation, called dhyana is common to the most forms of yoga. Dharana, according to Patanjali’s definition, means “bringing consciousness to a single point” (Sanskrit: ekagrata, concentrating in a single point). Consciousness is focused on a subtle point of sensation (such as the breath entering and leaving the nostrils). Sustained concentration on one point lead gradually to meditation (dhyana), in which the inner faculties are able to expand and to identify with something vast. Practitioners of meditation announce feelings of peace, of joy and union. The object of meditation may differ from school to school, for example one of chakra meditation, such as the heart center (Anahata Chakra) or ‘third eye’ (Ajna Chakra); or meditation on a deity, such as Krishna; or on a quality like peace. Non-dualist schools such as Advaita Vedanta may meditate to the Absolute, without any form of qualities (Nirguna Brahman). This meditation is, in many ways, similar to Buddhist meditation vacuum (shunyata).
Exercises you can try at home
Some people, those that practice yoga for strength, have a daily program of exercises. They do it home or at the gym. Few of their exercises program is constituted of the following exercises:
- The position of the boat
For more strength, you have to put to work all your muscles. Lay back, then stretch your hands until they get to be parallel with the ground. Raise the back from the ground and in the same time raise your legs. Then remain in this position and breathe ten times. Even if you can not do it from the first trying, be persevering and repeat the exercise several times.
- Rock’n’roll lotus position
This yoga move is more simple then the first one but is equally beneficial for your body. You have to sit upright and bend your knees. Then cross your ankles. Now you have to cross your arms too and catch your soles with your palms. From this position you are in, roll on your back until you get to keep on the ground only your shoulders. Maintain this position for few seconds until you start to feel that your abdominal muscles are strengthened. Without letting your soles go, return upright and maintain yourself this way few other seconds. Repeat the exercise ten times.
- The tree position
This position is not useful only for strength but for your entire body. Your spine will be in the correct position, the shoulders will be straight and you will gain a lot of energy and a well being. Then, you have to stand up, bend your arms and bring your hands in front of your chest. ‘Glue’ them and push them one against each other. Now bend a leg and put your sole above the opposite knee. Hold this position for ten breaths then return in the normal position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- The position of the fighter
This yoga exercise is excellent for getting more strength and in the same time you will get a wasp waist. Stand up and make a lunge forward. You have also to keep your hands stuck in the chest zone and then lean forward. Twist your body to the flexed leg. Hold this position for ten breaths, then return in the normal position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- The position of the yoke
Do you still remember when in the sport classes your teacher made you stay in balance? Well this position helps you to get stronger and also to get rid of ‘fins’. All you have to do is to stand up and lean your body behind while you are stretching one of your legs back. Your position is a correct one when your arms, your body and one of your legs are parallels with the ground.
- The position of the oblique plank
Bend your knees and place one of your hands on the floor. From this position, stretch the legs sideways so that line between body and ground forms an angle of forty-five degrees. Look up and stretch the other arm until you reach up to form a straight line with the ‘arm support’. Then you have to keep yourself in this position for one minute and repeat the exercise several times.
Why you should practice yoga
Most yoga practitioners who constantly practice the meditation are initially very surprised that the general condition of the body is amazingly improved. Flexibility is much better, mental stresses do not have an so important impact, and some chronic affections improve. Over time, yoga has proven an important alternative and complementary therapy to the modern medicine. But it still should be seen as an secondary medicine and not as curative or healing therapy.
There were made some few studies which have demonstrated that yoga can be helpful in completing the antihypertensive therapy, reducing tension by relieving stress from the environment. One of the factors that increase blood pressure is stress because the body releases hormones in these such special situations, which ultimately lead to the growth of blood pressure. It was also shown that yoga may influence the wellbeing of the body and can improve the general condition of patients with asthma. It seems just like a yoga program conducted over a period of at least six months has beneficial effects on multiple sclerosis, reducing the fatigue and the apathy that patients with this disease feel it chronically. Experts consider yoga as a safe practice.
However, as with all the alternative and complementary treatments, the best is that the doctor which has the patient in charge must be informed if the patient wants to practice yoga or is already practicing it. Because of the fact that these positions require some physical endurance, some patients with arthritic conditions may have relative contraindications for such training. Even if there appears an improvement of the general condition, the patients are advised to leave aside the specialized medical treatments and rely only on the exercises and on the meditations. Any discontinuation of the treatment, especially an unauthorized and a not recommended one by a doctor can have serious consequences. Like before any physical activity, before yoga exercises, it is recommended a light stretching, a heating for several minutes to avoid muscle strains or other occurrence of this kind problems. Before you start making the yoga movements, you should do some stretching exercises, to warm up your body. This way you will avoid getting stuck with muscle soreness due to the excessive muscle strain. Safety practices, with a professional, yoga could have many benefits for the entire body, and can be a solution for overcoming everyday stress that seems to increasingly suffocate us more.
Considered by some of us an art and by others a discipline you must learn, yoga is actually an ancient practice, characterized by meditation and exercise that can improve the flexibility of the body and which can also reduce significantly the stress and generally improve the health. As the meaning of yoga is union, we can say that yoga actually is the union between the mind, the body and the spirit. The yoga practice stipulates the fact that the spirit and the body can be put into a union and into a balance so intense that come to create a single element. Some practitioners believe that, in fact, the yoga complexity is really only touched in India. In the rest of the world yoga refers to the ability to adopt and maintain certain jobs and positions that facilitates energy flows and meditative states so this way the whole body feels invigorated. Two essential components of practicing yoga include physical exercises and breathing techniques. Exercise may increase body resistance, and in time, it significantly improves flexibility. These exercises or positions, as they are called by practitioners, can be made standing, lying, sitting or standing on their head. During controlled breathing exercises, both being permanently intertwined. It is important that during these exercises the practitioner has to be very focused. Nothing from the environment should not distract him.
Modern people are confronting more and more stressful situations bounded by the professional life and by the family responsibilities. In the same time they are living in a society of fast solutions, fast meals, fast private moments. Even if we are capable to get to an end many tasks everyday, sometimes or many times we are not fully satisfied. Yoga is a strategy to find accomplishment, to find pleasure through instruments that removes worries and pains, fears and agitation. In our depths, we are hoping more than for anything else, for the connection feeling, communion feeling, integration feeling, in the middle of a culture that many times separates us from ourselves, putting us exclusively on the mind field. Through yoga practice we can start to feel connected with our body, with its rhythm, with the breathing, with the emotions. This way we can escape from the turmoil almost impossible to control of thoughts of all kinds.
If we wish for a world in which deserves living, we have to take the responsibility to improve our own life and to encourage and support others others too to live a more satisfying life, a healthier and a more beautiful one.
The yoga practice could help us feel the affiliation to a large community of people which are also practicing it. When you sit everyday on your yoga mattress, you can be sure that many more persons all around the world are doing the same. Yoga practice could be this way an personal exercise but in the same time an universal one.
In Yoga, the anatomy and the physiology of the body are analyzed more in terms of energy than in a strictly material way. The foundation of the yoga practice is based on the energy idea that later influences the physical body. In other words: “The energy counts!”. Yoga uses the Prana flow through the body to maintain a good condition of health and to prevent the diseases by yoga practicing, asanas and meditation and also by a correct alimentation and a healthy style of living.
Another term very known in yoga practice is Marma. In sanskrit language, Marma means ‘energetic point’ or ‘tender point’. These tender points are very important because they have a big influence. For example hurting or affecting of some Marma points apparently inoffensive, could produce some malaise or even death. There are 107 Marma points in the entire body. Knowing where these Marma points’ could be located helps us to figure out the places in our body where the tensions and the stress are and how we can get rid of them. These vulnerable points can be points of strength or points of weakness, according to the direction in which the libra of our inner balance is going to. We can bring to our body more strength, encouraging the energy flow instead of blocking it, how we usually do when we are stressed and this way we can enjoy more harmony in our lives. On other hand, various traumas or physical problems in the proximity of these points can have adverse effects.
Many of the main Marma points are located in joints and in the areas where tendons, muscles and bones are meeting. Besides the Marma points are defined as ‘the union of the veins, tendons, joints, muscles and bones’.
Benefits you can gain by practicing yoga
The physical and mental yoga benefits are various. Other than intense physical exercise, the persons that practice yoga are looking for a balance between body and mind through physical exercise synchronized with the respiration, it is about that feeling of wellness. For some persons that feeling is purely physical for others the feeling is more mentally. The physical benefits contain: an increased flexibility, stronger muscles, toning, weight loss, increased cardio resistance, more flexible joints, better posture, detoxification, brighter skin. The mental benefits are: greater power of concentration, mental calm, a deeper sleep, reducing stress and anxiety.
Like in all physical activities, there are some contraindications for yoga practice too. Yoga positions actively requests the body. If you suffer from heart or thyroid disorders, avoid some of them, such as the plow, which require too much cervical vertebrae. Be cautious if you had complicated orthopedic surgery or you wear a joint prosthetic. Discuss with your yoga teacher or doctor to make sure you can practice your exercises without threatening. During the menstrual cycle or if you are pregnant is not also indicated to have yoga exercises. In the same way yoga can affect the spirit and the mental. There are asanas designed to excite the suprarenal glands, the pancreas including the pituitary gland which regulates the functioning of all the other glands. The medicine shows us that such a state of generalized hormonal disorder can cause a major disturbances in all senses of perception. The effect are more intense than those from alcohol or narcotics.
I suggest you to practice yoga, even if you do it for health, for personal development or for spiritual transformation. Do not let your doubts to embezzle yourself. Follow an yoga course and practice it everyday. If you do not have the necessary time to practice the entire yoga session then you can stop at one asana and instead I can recommend you to relax. People of contemporary society are generally overbusy and they are always looking for few minutes to escape from the vortex of their lives. I truly recommend you the yoga practice, the relax practice. Let yourself to get in deep communion with your body. It is possible for you to not have the power to modify your life’s circumstances immediately but you have the power to change the way in which you refer to those challenges at some moment. You can access this power and you can live these wonderful states of self-confidence, of braveness, of joy, of detachment, serenity and even bliss and spiritual exaltation by practicing yoga techniques.