Kerala Yoga Meditation

Yoga has been practiced in India for centuries. The word Yoga which means yoking or union is one of the six traditional systems of philosophy practiced in India. Its primary text is the Yoga-sutras of Ptanjali who is believed to have lived in the 2nd century B.C.

The form of Yoga that has gained popularity worldwide and which is taught in schools across Kerala is Hatha Yoga, which emphasizes the training of the body and mind to attain a higher state of fitness and consciousness. Yoga has gained popularity worldwide as a form of exercise and relaxation. While the asanas taught at yoga schools in Kerala, promote flexibility and the physical conditioning of the body, the breathing exercises improve concentration and the whole process helps relieve mental and physical stress. Well-known international systems of yoga include Iyengar Yoga and Bikram Yoga.

Ashtanga yoga or the eight stages of yoga are recognized as the path to self-realization. These stages are:

Yama: Restraint

Niyama: Observance of the rules of self-discipline

Asana: Exercises in physical posture

Pranayama: Breath control

Pratyahara: Detachment

Dharna: Focusing of the mind

Dhyana: Concentrated meditation

Samadhi: Supreme self-consciousness

Yoga and meditation are taught in many resorts and health centers in Kerala. All major hotels and resorts have yoga instructors who can demonstrate and teach the yogic postures or asanas. Each asana has specific benefits. Some of the basic asanas are:

Padmasana or the Lotus posture is the position in which Hindu Gods and Buddha are often depicted, which involves sitting cross-legged with the soles of the feet resting on the opposite thigh. It is a commonly used posture of meditation.

Surya Namaskar or the greeting to the Sun God, is a combination of asanas that exercise all the muscles of the body.

Savasana is a posture of relation, where the practitioner lies flat on his on her back and empties the mind of all thoughts in an attempt to achieve complete relation.

Yoga is not merely a system of exercises but is a way of life. It emphasizes self-control and self-awareness for the individual. The practice of the yoga asanas is one the first steps on this life long quest, which is taught at yoga ashrams and resorts in Kerala, India.

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