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The practice of yoga has long been credited with the ability to improve relaxation, increase circulation and help to create a balance between the body and spirit. Originating around 3000 B.C., yoga has branched off into myriad varieties. One form gaining popularity is Satyananda yoga, a holistic practice based on the belief that the development of the spirit is directly connected to the actions of the mind and body.
Based on Vedantic, Samkyha and Tantric yoga traditions, Satyananda yoga combines ancient yoga methods with modern interpretations — a blend of yoga postures, proper breathing and meditation practices — geared toward promoting the practitioner's general well being. It is often referred to as yoga of the head, heart and hand. Among the primary goals when practicing Satyananda yoga is the development of intuition and a knowledge of one's self; a great deal of focus is devoted to the development of individual spiritualism. While many exercise programs are typically geared toward increasing the heart rate and pushing the body to its physical limits, Satyananda yoga is designed to do just the opposite. Through a variety of physical postures known as asana, along with deep breathing exercises and meditation, it is believed that a body in its most relaxed state can provide as many positive benefits to the body as aerobic exercise.
Satyananda yoga is geared toward people of all shapes, sizes, ages and physical abilities and is usually led by an expert skilled in the practice. In addition to the relaxation reported by those who practice Satyananda yoga, a variety of physical benefits have been attributed to regular participation. Among them are weight loss, increased tone and flexibility, lowered blood pressure, and a reduction of physical stress and anxiety.
As with any exercise program, it is best for a person to discuss the risks and benefits with a doctor before beginning the practice of Satyananda yoga. Once the doctor has given his permission to go ahead, it is best for a person to start slow and gradually increase his movements over time. Satyananda yoga is about listening to the body, so it is best for a practitioner to go at his own pace. If it is followed properly, regular practice of Satyananda yoga can increase a person's ability to better handle everyday stress and help ensure not only physical well being, but also emotional, spiritual and mental health as well.
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