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Yoga

Definition

The term "yoga" comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "union." Yoga combines physical exercises, mental meditation, and breathing techniques to strengthen the muscles and relieve stress.

Purpose
  • Physical postures strengthen and tone muscles, and when performed in rapid succession, can provide cardiovascular conditioning.
  • Meditation and deep breathing can reduce stress, thereby lowering blood pressure and inducing relaxation.
  • Mind/body awareness can influence mood and self-esteem to improve quality of life.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years as a life philosophy to join the individual self with what practitioners call the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness.

KEY TERMS

Asana —A position or stance in yoga.

Dyana —The yoga term for meditation.

Hatha yoga —A form of yoga using postures, breathing methods, and meditation.

Meditation —A practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.

Pranayama —The yoga practice of breathing cirrectly and deeply.

Yogi (female, yogini) —A trained yoga expert.

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