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Yoga in the Modern World

As the popularity of yoga has increased in Western countries, a part of yoga's authenticity has been lost.   Yoga, in Sanskrit, means unity of body and spirit.

Unfortunately, our modern culture tends to be more concerned about the physical appearance of the body and not so much with the mind and spirit.

Several styles of yoga which are similar to aerobic classes, have been developed in the west.   Although these types of yoga classes do have physical benefits, they do not lead the practitioner to the real essence of yoga.

Since the experience of yoga teachers vary immensely, I highly recommend you choose one who has been certified to teach.   If the poses (asanas) are not properly demonstrated and explained by the instructor, the student can get hurt.   As well, people with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, should not do some poses.

This is why it is important to study with a qualified teacher.   Not only will your yoga practice be safe, but you will gain the full benefits associated with it.

By practicing yoga with proper focus on the breath, we can achieve the equanimity associated with yogic breathing.   The benefits of mindful breathing on the body are many.   It helps it to release toxins, to release feelings of anger, stress, tension and worry.

When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady.   But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life.   Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika


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