It does not matter what level of fitness you are at or what ability you have anyone can practice this ancient discipline of Yoga. It is a great way to improve and maintain good health. The original aim focused on spiritual training to create harmony between the body, mind and spirit. It works for more than just strengthening the body, but the whole person.
The Indian sage Patanjali wrote a text called the Yoga Sutras over 2000 years ago. This has become the foundation for the philosophy. In this text he described an eight-fold path to enlightenment, how we can transform ourselves through the practice of ethics and living a moral life. By gaining more control over our mind and emotions and the ability to overcome obstacles to self realization. It is believed at the highest level we can rise above human consciousness and become one with the universe.
The benefits of this practice are not limited to physical. All postures taught in the various ways of study are tools that are used to unite the body, nerves, mind, inner self and consciousness into harmonious existence. Some methods include the practice of meditation called dhyana. Breathing exercise, (pranayama) are focal and correct alignment and attention to detail of physical postures (asanas) improve concentration and self awareness. When you have acquired the discipline to perform the perfect alignment of the body, you are not only using your muscles but also your mind is sharp and focused. Yoga can benefit many aspects of your life from your mood to your posture and impact your sense of peace and well being.
Only you can determine which type of yoga is best for you. Keep in mind that all types are adaptable to the students’ physical abilities. Knowing this, you just need to decide which style fits with your psychological and physical goals. Some styles hold postures longer focusing on body alignment and some are more of a fast pace, moving through the postures with a quick rhythm. Visiting some local classes in your area can give you insight to what is most important to your needs. It is beneficial to find a good teacher to begin your practice, someone you can relate to, feel comfortable with and who will make your experience enjoyable.
After you have learned some postures and your instructor has helped you to adapt them for your body you may want to practice them at home. They teach sequences that work for different parts of your body. Once you have learned these sequences you can adapt them to develop your own routines to meet the needs you have and the goals you have set for yourself. You may want a relaxing workout focusing on meditation and balance or a more vigorous one geared toward aerobics, strength and agility. Whichever you choose you are sure to enjoy this ancient practice of spiritual healing and well being.