Classical Yoga

What is Classical Yoga and how can it help you? Let's explore a class at The Yoga Institute.

By The Yoga Institute

Yoga for WomenThe Yoga Institute

Classical Yoga is based on the traditional system of eight limbs, known as Ashtanga Yoga as mentioned in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the foundational texts of classical Yoga philosophy.  Asana is the third limb of the 8-limbed path of yoga as prescribed by Patanjali. Classical Yoga is universal and can be practiced by all.  

There are several forms of yoga. Some have become very popular. However, a great deal of ambiguity in traditional texts gave way to the multiplicity of interpretations. Raja, Tantra, Mantra, Laya, Hatha are the several more forms of yoga. These have been greatly modified today and due to the guru-shishya parampara (guru-disciple lineage) some of these practices carry the names of their respective gurus.

Shri Yogendraji, Founder of The Yoga Institute, pioneered in simplifying the Hatha yoga techniques of asanas, pranayamas and kriyas such that everyone can practice it regular and benefit too.

With the regular practice of Classical Yoga and pursuing Yoga way of living, one gains firmness and lightness of body, good health and a clear and balanced mind. There is an awakening of dormant energy, purification of impurities, creation of balance and removal of pains.

In this exhibit, we look at one of the group sessions at The Yoga Institute. Beginners should always practice yoga under supervision of a professional so as to avoid any unforeseen risks.

Ardhamatsyendrasana—The Spinal Half-twist Posture

Manoeuvring through the twists and turns of life, I become self-aware and self-reliant.

This asana is named after the great sage Matsyendranatha, the guru of Gorakshantha, who is considered to be the founder of the Hatha Yoga tradition. Though yoga practices are ancient and date back several thousand years, the tradition of Hatha Yoga seems to have gained a greater momentum after the sage Matsyendranatha. This asana provides an excellent twist to the spine.

Ekpadasana—The One Leg Posture

I resolve to remain equipoised as my goals are set high.

Achieving steadiness of body and mind is the primary aim of yoga. A steady body is home for health, vitality and efficiency. Neuromuscular coordination and concentration of mind enables this steadiness. There are yogic techniques with simple steps that harmonize the body and mind together. Ekpadasana is one such technique.

Parvatasana—The Mountain Posture

Being steady and firm, strengthens both, my mind and body.

The mountain posture reflects the ideals of stability, steadfastness and resoluteness.

This posture has three variations to provide the spine with different kinds of stretches and movements (upwards, backwards, forward, sidewards and also a twist), all the while maintaining a firm base.

It also makes us aware of the importance of the faculty of sight, which needs to be focused, enabling us to maintain balance.

Note: In case you are practising more rounds, pause for a few seconds between each round. In case you cannot sit on the floor, practise standing or sitting on a chair without arms.

Garudasana—The Eagle Pose

I become one-pointed to realize my potentials. It is important to maintain alertness and flexibility, both of the body and mind.

Garudasana—the name characterizes strength, flexibility and agility of the body as well as alertness, one-pointedness and sharpness of the mind. Suppleness and elasticity of the extremities (the arms and legs) result through the movement of the joints. Garudasana or the eagle pose is an excellent asana which embodies twofold twists of the extremities at one go.

Hastapadangushthasana—The Hand-Toe Posture

Difficulties persist, but I accept the challenges, become stronger and flexible.

This asana is very direct in its name, suggesting a body formation including the hands, feet and toes. Since these extremities come together, it involves a great amount of stretching to the muscles surrounding the major hip joint. It also affects the waist and helps in flexibility and toning of the lateral muscles.

Utkatasana—The Upraised Posture

When my body moves in a coordinated rhythm, synchronization and mindfulness increases.

The name of this asana represents ‘ut’ (raised) and ‘kati’ (waist). This asana is to raise your waist by rising up on the heels, lowering the body down and again rising up. Utkatasana enables great neuromuscular coordination. Awareness heightens and the ability of being focused while performing activities increases.

Gaumukhasana—The Cow Head Posture

When I am composed and calm all actions flow effortlessly.

Gaumukhasana is most conducive to establish harmony and rhythm which is most suited for concentration. It balances the two sides of the body as generally we prefer either the left or the right side. It also provides a firm grounding.

Ushtrasana—The Camel Posture

The immense potential that lies within me, unravels.

The camel posture has great value both physiologically and psychologically. It aims to develop a stronger spine and a leaner body and relieves minor aches and pains of the back.

This asana helps remove complacency and builds a stronger emotional disposition, unravelling the potentials.

Paschimottanasana—The Posterior Stretch

Self-effort takes me to a point. It is self-offering that makes me strong.

The word ‘paschim’ meaning west is used in the context of the posterior of the body and uttana for stretching. The need for spinal fitness is obvious. Exercising it in all possible ways is essential.

Paschimottanasana builds up a strong and healthy spine, which in turn upholds the body. However, it is the intense abdominal compression that strengthens the core. The process of practice of this asana and its final form brings about a sense of achievement devoid of ego and ushers humility.

You can perform this asana in a dynamic way or you can remain in the final posture for one to two minutes breathing normally.

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