Possibly the most popular attribute associated with yoga in western culture is the yoga exercises. In almost any yoga advertisement you will see a man or a woman, sometimes smiling, performing a pose that is either a meditative posture or an extremely difficult advanced yoga pose. It is no surprise then that many people look at yoga as a way to exercise, and not necessarily as a way to bring union of the conscious self and the universal self.Yoga as an exercise technique has branched off to other popular western techniques such as free style yoga exercise, nude yoga exercises and tantric yoga exercising (described later).
Be that as it may, yoga exercises are an extremely important part of yoga. Aligning the body and detoxifying from a physical standpoint are essential in the steps of yoga. Here we will try and explain the different yoga exercises, what they are, why they are and the different ways to perform them.
Asanas: the Yoga Pose
Yoga poses or yoga exercises are actually called asanas, and have been a part of yoga since its first written record thousands of years ago. Asanas are a just a part of the whole yoga experience. Asanas are usually performed with other ‘limbs’ of yoga, such as pranayama (breathing control) and dhyana (meditation). Yoga poses in a series usually focus on the flexibility of all the joints in the body, including those that we rarely use. Asanas played the role of completing the quest for control over the body, as part of control over the body, mind and spirit.
Beginner Yoga Exercises
When people decide to try yoga, they usually want to know what ‘beginner yoga exercises’ look like, so that they can determine if yoga classes are a good fit. Beginner yoga exercises or asanas are generally so easy anyone can do them. Beginner poses usually focus on meditation poses or sun saluting poses, which are generally performed in a seated or kneeling position. A typical example is the popular ‘meditation pose’ seen everywhere – legs crossed, back straight and hands resting palms up in the knees. Instructors usually make sure that a student can perform a whole series of beginner yoga exercises before introducing intermediate exercises and poses.
Free Yoga Exercises
Free style yoga is becoming somewhat popular for people who simply use yoga as a form of exercise. Generally, when entering a free yoga exercise class, the instructor (who is almost never a certified yogi) will teach students a set or series of beginner poses. Classes usually only last a few weeks – once the students have learned the basic poses and asanas, they continue (usually at home) by practicing these yoga exercises while incorporating their own exercise techniques, known as free yoga exercise.
People who have specific results in mind (end back pain, tighten stomach muscles) may opt to create new routines of custom free yoga exercises to target specific conditions or areas of the body. Although free yoga is an offshoot of yoga, it’s fundamentals do not necessarily correlate with yoga practice and for all intents and purposes only ‘look’ like yoga and do not teach the mastering of spirit and mind. Regardless, free yoga exercise is a great way to stay healthy and challenge your body physically.
Nude Yoga Exercises
A popular form of yoga emerging again in Western culture (after its short lived popularity in the 1960’s) is nude yoga and nude yoga exercising. Recently, with the popularity of Bikram Yoga, nude yoga exercises and exercise classes have slowly become more and more popular. The truth is, nude yoga exercise classes really aren’t any different than any other yoga class, except that the yoga asanas or poses are performed nude. The benefits of nude yoga exercises surround the ease of movement when naked and the sense of freedom some people get from being naked. Nude yoga is particularly associated with hot yoga, where room temperatures are intentionally increased to over 100 degrees.
Tantric Yoga Exercises
Tantric yoga is one of the eight major forms of yoga. It is taught through a yogi or guru called a Tantrika or Tantric Acharya. Although tantric yoga exercises are very similar to other yoga exercises, the underlying idea is to attain wisdom in sex, or sexual wisdom. Tantric yoga exercises are used to help with sexual abilities but also for general health and well being. Specific tantric exercise can be used to help with sexual performance and longevity. Many of the exercises use the diaphragm, buttocks, perineum and other regions of the midsection.
Tantric Yoga exercises have become extremely popular as a part of the sexual health movement. Although people with sexual disorders use tantric yoga as a healing mechanism, many people simply use the techniques to help attain higher sexual wisdom, stimulation and performance. For some, it is a great way to learn about their body while promoting healthy activities and exercise. Whatever your reason, tantric yoga and its exercises are a huge part of western yoga practice.