Wellness lexicon

Asanas - Yoga exercises

In its country of origin, yoga has had an ancient tradition for many thousands of years and because of its strong spiritual element, it encompasses all areas of daily life. However, in the western world a form of Hatha yoga is considered more as training and relaxation rather than an ideology.

The term yoga originates from the Sanskrit root yuj. Yuj means to unite as well as to concentrate and to reach a point that appeared unreachable before.

Most of the time these five elements are practised during a yoga session: the asanas (body postures), pranayamas (a technique to control breathing), recitation (of syllables, words or text paragraphs), meditation and the ritual.

Asanas (the term asana means strong body position) are fixed movements that are carried out slowly and meditatively. An asana should always be held for a certain time. Conscious breathing is very important when practising asanas. There are different categories of asanas. They can be practised sitting, standing or lying down. They include forward and backward movements as well as twists. If the asanas are performed slowly and consciously, they will improve physical wellbeing as well as spiritual concentration and meditation skills.

An ideal exercise sequence will engage all areas of the body from the fingertips to the toes as well as training the respiratory and circulatory system.

Muscle strength and tone improve through practising asanas. Regularly practising asanas will also increase flexibility, endurance, concentration and improve the circulation. It is important to train regularly with the advice of a competent instructor to avoid incorrect postures, which can cause injury.

Related topics: Yoga

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