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Sattva is a Sanskrit word that encompasses qualities such as calmness, goodness, harmony, balance and right action. Sattva yoga developed from hatha yoga, and includes different yoga styles that are intended to help the practitioner in attaining the right or sattvic values. The main focus in these types of yoga is on bringing about a correct balance between body, breath, mind and stillness. When these four things are in harmonious unity, then a person is able to realize his or her full potential in life.
Practicing sattva yoga not only promotes good health, it also brings about better self-awareness and understanding. The breathing technique pranayam is key to this, and helps the practitioner turns his or her attention inwards. The self-observation needs to be done without criticism, as the point of the yoga exercise is not to expose flaws, but to find the right ways in which to get past them and to become a better person. On the physical level, the breathing exercises can revitalize the body and help it get rid of impurities.
The interesting thing about sattva yoga is that the yoga styles can be adapted to suit individual requirements. Practitioners are encouraged to listen to their bodies and do yoga exercises that agree with them. The yoga poses can be modified as required when necessary.
There are many stretching exercises in sattva yoga, intended to make the body more flexible and to strengthen the muscles. The exercises also help in stimulating various organs and in relieving nervous disorders. The stretching should be done in a gentle, easy way. It is advisable to take a rest if there is any pain or if the body feels strained in any way. It is important in sattva yoga to maintain a comfortable posture and to develop the practice of effortless movements.
Regular practice of sattva yoga can help improve the overall quality of life as a person becomes more introspective, balanced and healthy. Having a steady mind and a positive outlook are important for mental health, and sattva yoga promotes this and helps expand the mental boundaries that people often set up to their own detriment. Sattva yoga enables people to find more avenues for self-improvement, and they are able to be more accepting and compassionate with themselves. This, in turn, makes it possible for them to show compassion towards others, and this can only benefit society as a whole.