Physical practices like Yoga have encouraged countless people to incorporate some form of controlled breathing and stretching into their life. Whether you’re just stretching before or after exercise, doing hot yoga, or practicing Hatha yoga, there are elements of yoga which can improve your life as a whole. By incorporating some of the spiritual or philosophical ideas of yoga into your daily life, you can enhance your practice and your life in general.
Having been introduced to the West mostly in the past century, Yoga has rapidly gained popularity and is well known by most people at least in a basic sense. Although one problem that many Yogis have noticed is that the practice is often strictly physical, with the important spiritual and philosophical elements left behind. This doesn’t mean to seek out the most legitimate yoga studio in your area, instead it can help to expose yourself to the other aspects which give yoga its value.
Here is how you can implement the philosophies and spirituality behind yoga into your daily life at a yoga studio in Delray Beach.
The Right Type of Yoga for You
First and foremost, it’s important to find and practice the right yoga for you and your needs. There are several kinds of yoga including traditional and contemporary styles, each offers their own unique benefits.
A great yoga for beginners, Hatha emphasizes breathing through each posture, and uses basic Asanas (poses) to promote relaxation. Hatha is suitable for beginners to yoga, those who want to swap from contemporary to traditional yoga, or those who suffer from respiratory or anxiety conditions.
Bikram Yoga / Hot Yoga
This type of yoga is traditionally practiced in a hot and humid environment (105F), and is typically a cleansing practice. The contemporary version, hot yoga, slightly bastardized this practice through an artificially heated space, but can achieve similar results.
This kind of yoga emphasizes flowing between the poses, through breathing and controlled movement. Vinyasa yoga is ideal as a daily practice, and includes repetitive routines which stretch the whole body and relax the mind, such as the Sun Salutations.
One of the most important aspects of yoga is breath, but often it’s forgone for stretching or straining, reflecting the materialist nature of Western interpretation. Whatever yoga practice you undertake, ensure that you are breathing correctly through it to ensure it’s as effective as possible. This can be achieved by working with your yoga teacher, or doing some research into the yogi perception of breath.
An invaluable resource for understanding how the yogis perceive breath is the Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath, which can be read here. This book includes several breath exercises which can strengthen breathing muscles, improve organ function, and even give an energy boost.
Beyond the Material
As with any kind of spiritual practice, the mystical and metaphysical elements are as important as the physical elements. Although when it comes to yoga it can be hard to find the relevant knowledge, as it is derived from a culture in a far away land. It’s important to expose yourself to yogic teachings to truly gain all you can out of yoga, as the contemplation of certain thoughts can have a profound influence on our spiritual practice.
One joy of yoga is that it can be as religious and spiritual as you want, or it can be simply philosophical and metaphorical. Unlike Abrahamic religions, yoga doesn’t care if you’re a theist, atheist, or polytheist.
One great source of information in these modern times is the podcast industry, which allows people to listen to conversations with experts in a range of fields. Yoga is no stranger to the world of podcasts, there are many yoga-related podcasts out there which may be helpful. Some we like include:
• Unity in Yoga – engages listeners through the teaching, discussion, and practice of yoga.
• The Simple Ayurveda Podcast – aims to make ancient science easy to understand, relatable and totally possible for you to apply into your modern day life.
• Keen on Yoga – engages in a deep level of discussion with Ashtanga yoga teachers as well as others involved in inquiry, wellness, diet.
If podcasts are a bit fast and messy, you may find books a much easier way to garner that helpful holistic yogi insight. There are countless books out there about yoga and yogis, and it’s up to you to decipher the good from the bad. These are some foundational books on yoga and the spirituality behind it:
• Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – an ancient Sanskrit text on the theory and practice of yogas
• The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice – a guide on how to start your own personal yoga practice which is fine tuned to your needs
• Bhagavad Gita – a 700-verse Hindu scripture which can act as a spiritual dictionary to your practice at a yoga studio in Delray Beach