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  • Writer's pictureChaitanya Prabhu

Yoga for Beginners

There are many different Yoga styles, with different names, but the goal is the same: to achieve health and wellness and develop body awareness. As a student, you should learn about the various types before you enroll in any Yoga class or initiate a Yoga workout.

However, it is a common question asked of any yoga teacher,

"What are the main types of Yoga?"

Hatha Yoga

When it comes to an asana or yoga pose or yoga posture, there are many, and Yoga practice involves a combination of the different postures. There are various types of Yoga, which are positions that the body is required to take during asana. One of the oldest forms of Yoga is Hatha Yoga where Hatha literally means forceful or willful. The basic tenet of this form of Yoga is to try and maintain a yoga posture even if it is a bit painful or uncomfortable. By training your body to tolerate discomfort, you are increasing your will power and stamina.

This form focuses on the ultimate capabilities of the body. Indeed, the philosophy behind almost any yoga practice is that nothing exists beyond the body. The body is the primal, existential, and spiritual center of the universe. In other words, the entire universe revolves around your body.

Important Note for the Yoga Beginner: A yoga pose or yoga asana may have English words/phrases to describe them. Some examples are the child's pose, sun salutation, mountain pose, downward dog, cow pose, etc. It's always important to view a picture of that particular posture or a video while performing your yoga practice.

This is the best practice for a beginner! Ashtanga Yoga (also known as Raja Yoga or Eightfold Path) literally means following “8 Tenets” of Yoga. Besides the asanas, this Yoga philosophy - conceptualized by Patanjali - refers to 8 righteous ideals of life. These are as follows: Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.

Note: A yoga mat is as important to your yoga journey as an understanding of the philosophies of these Sutras. Similarly, the concept of "balance" achieved not only maintaining the optimal distance between the right foot and the left foot but also the right amount of air that you inhale or exhale. Balance is also achieved by understanding how your right leg and left leg behave: Just as you are right-handed or left-handed, you are also right legged or left legged. This optimal breathing relaxes the abdominal muscles which help you maintain the right balance. All standing asanas or physical postures will put some strain on the left or right knee (maybe on both knees), so it's important to pay special attention to any pain experienced there.

Kripalu Yoga

You may also have heard of the term Kripalu Yoga (Kripalu means compassion). This is a gentle yoga form of Hatha Yoga. The goal of this form of Yoga is to direct one’s concentration and energy inwards. It does use force to contort the body and focuses on the idea that one’s body is the center of being. For each one of us, our body is the center of the universe, so we must treat it with reverence.

Tantra is based on the idea that the universe is energy and that the mind is like a seed that manifests the vital force of the universe. When the mind is kept healthy, the body will be able to attain enlightenment. One definition of Tantra Yoga states that it is a “weaving together of different ideas, techniques, and philosophies.” This description is indeed accurate because Tantra Yoga combines the best of all the different Yoga traditions. Tantra Yoga evolved out of the other practices and extrapolated on them. It is said that Tantra Yoga was a boon to all the traditional Yoga practices. However, when Kundalini Tantra was conceptualized, it was considered a “boon to Tantra Yoga.”

What is kundalini awakening all about? While there are many tantric practices and spiritual paths, most people will be looking for some form of guide on how to understand and work with their spiritual evolution. When it comes to spiritual growth, it is important to understand how the energy that we use for healing is created. Healing is nothing more than building up a vibration. This energy can be defined as a complex process involving vibrational energy in the body, mind, and spirit.

The Chakras are described by many as the channels through which this energy is expressed. Chakras can also be seen as circuits or sections of our body. They include both the organs of the body as well as the entire network of energetic connections. The whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts, and in many ways the chakras are the sum total of our individuality.

The body has an energetic system that is constantly being supplied with energy. However, it is only when our individual personality gets involved that we get a hold of the energy. It can get into our chakras and make them dysfunctional. Only when the chakras are out of balance, can we find ourselves in some form of trouble.

When such problems occur, we have to figure out how to bring our chakras back into a proper balance. We will never get past a certain level of development if we do not know how to release all the energy.

Vigyan Bhairava Tantra

This is a key tantric text of the Trika school of Pratyabhijna/Kashmir Shaivism in Sanskrit language. Cast as a discourse between the god Bhairava (Shiva) and his consort Bhairavi (Shakti), it briefly presents 112 Tantric meditation methods or centering techniques (dharana). These include several variants of breath awareness, concentration on various centers in the body, non-dual awareness, Mantra chanting, imagination and visualization, and contemplation through each of the senses. A prerequisite to success in any of the 112 practices is a clear understanding of which method is most suitable to the practitioner.

Tantra Yoga Techniques

The ancient tantric texts explain the many benefits of regular tantric practice. Tantra simply means technique, whereas Yoga simply means philosophy. Therefore, the different types of Tantra Yoga merely give importance to different techniques to attain our spiritual goals. In the Vama Marga of Tantra, you learn to cultivate your sexual energy and not lose it in orgasmic delirium. You can enjoy a better sex life, which is why so many couples turn to this ancient form of alternative lifestyle.

Sexual energy is a mysterious thing. You may think you know what it is, but deep down, you still don't. Even many people who practice Tantra Yoga sometimes have trouble pinpointing its precise nature. Not knowing it does not mean we cannot harness it! By learning to intensify this force, you can increase your sexual stamina, increase your stamina for intercourse, and deepen your sexual pleasure. When you practice Tantra Yoga, you can draw on the physical and spiritual energies to enhance the quality of your sexual energy. When you use tantric techniques to enhance the flow of your blood throughout your body, you can increase the ability of all the organs where your blood reaches.

To understand how Tantra increases your blood circulation, you must understand the biology of your body. Your blood is a complex bodily system that controls everything from metabolism to muscle tone to brain function. In addition, blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, keeping everything operating at peak efficiency.

By taking part in tantric massage and other tantric practices, you can tap into your own energy, thus improving your blood circulation. If you can increase the flow of blood through your whole body, you can improve your mental and physical state of mind. Once you become aware of the ways your body can heal itself through tantric massage, you can encourage it to do so.

As your sex life improves, so will your intimacy with your partner. Your sex life will become more passionate, more fun, and more fulfilling. Many couples find they're able to achieve orgasmic bliss as soon as their arousal levels are high enough. When you do this, your lovemaking will become more satisfying, both for you and your partner. You'll enjoy longer periods of uninterrupted sex, and in return, your partner will gain an increased sense of satisfaction. Also, since Tantra can improve your sex life, it will give you greater control over your sexual energy. You'll be able to direct it, or use it to arouse your partner, or even use it to fulfill fantasies you both have.

Tantric Massage

Tantric massage allows you to explore the mysteries of your body, by activating your sexual energy, and controlling it in subtle ways. Allowing yourself to be fully relaxed in the moment, you can use your heightened senses to probe deeply into your body. Once you've found the secret spots that help you achieve great orgasms, you can use these spots to enhance your pleasure. Tantric massage helps you explore all your erogenous zones and spots besides the more obvious ones at the genital region.

Tantra and Creativity

You can also tap into your sexual energy to put on amazing Tantra performances, so you can stimulate your partner with tantric music, while he or she watches. You can carry your heightened sexual energy out into the bedroom, where you and your partner can explore each other's bodies in ways you've never done before.

Sexual energy can manifest in many areas of your life: it can enhance your creativity and improve your concentration. It’s in this context, that Visualization Exercises form an important part of occult tantric practices. Now, you know how Tantra can bring greater control over your sexual energy, so you can get it right where you want it - in your sex life. Your ultimate goal in this process is to make your sex life more intensely erotic so that you can intensify your pleasures and explore the heights of your sexuality, so that both of you can experience pleasure beyond compare.

Meditation and Breathing Exercises

Meditation is an ancient science. It has been practiced since the beginning of recorded history. Meditation techniques are also known as religious practices. Its application in modern society is mainly through guided meditations, which are thought-provoking dialogues between the practitioners of the various traditions. Here I present an analysis that is universal and does not involve the use of yogic terminology.

There are two main types of meditation: mental and physical (breathing exercises). While the former involves focusing your awareness on a single thing, such as a subject matter, the latter requires you to concentrating your attention on your breath. This is done while sitting or lying down and requires the use of a breath-holding device. A method of getting started with breathing exercises is by choosing a peaceful location to sit or lie down.

To begin with, you should try to focus your awareness on your breathing exercises. In Yoga, you may choose to put your hands over your mouth so that the noise of the air blowing from your lungs is not heard by anyone else. However, in general, most modern-day practitioners of this form of meditation prefer the quiet of their own homes.

The First Part of this form of meditation is to focus on an object, thought or object of consciousness. The word "object" itself is an indication of focus. For example, in Yogic meditation you would start by focusing on the physical body itself and on its physical sensations; or you might start with a specific thought or desire and work your way down.

The Second Part of meditation involves concentrating your attention on a state of mind: object, thought or subject. Again, the word "subject" denotes focus. In general, when starting with an object, you should choose a quiet and peaceful place. When feeling overwhelmed, you can go back to the first step, focusing on the breathing exercises. Each of these subjects has a different emphasis.

Visual Process

You might try to concentrate on your breathing. This could be done by slowly inhaling and exhaling your breath at the same time. This means inhaling and exhaling from your diaphragm, or from your chest, and can take a few moments. One of the advantages of visualizing your breathing exercises is that if you are focusing on a particular object or thought, it gives you a different view, and thereby a new perspective.

Auditory Process

In this kind of meditation, you can visualize sound and imagine it coming from somewhere else. For example, you could imagine a sound outside your house and hear it coming from there. This form of meditation is used to develop mental focus and concentration.

Another technique for using only mental focus and concentration is the techniques of concentration and visualization. To begin with, imagine that you are on a boat on a river. Picture a beam of light, a waterfall, a bridge, a wheel or a voice saying something to you: 'You are here because you want to be', 'You have nothing to fear because you have everything to gain'. These ideas may be projected onto your mind, so that it becomes a totally new world.

In addition to this technique, you could imagine three rays of light, emanating from a single point. Concentrate on each ray and imagine it coming from somewhere different - one would come from the foot of your bed, one from your chest, and one from your shoulder. Focus on this and continue with your meditation.

Meditation and breathing exercises can be applied at any time, anywhere, without having to get up from the couch. Meditation itself can be practiced anywhere, without any special space or equipment. Practicing meditation on a day-to-day basis will take away all stress and tension and help you develop confidence and clarity.

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