Yoga practice only begins on the mat. As people continue to turn to this ancient wellness tradition to stay strong, reduce stress, and find inner peace, the greatest challenge is to carry the valuable principles of yoga into everyday life. Picking up where his bestselling Yoga Zone Introduction to Yoga left off, yoga master Alan Finger expands on this wisdom in Yoga Zone Yoga for Life.
Intermediate practice does not simply involve more difficult poses, it includes a deepening of understanding and self-knowledge. It also means using the tenets of yoga to alleviate daily tension and stress: employing a concentrated breathing exercise to calm nervous jitters before a presentation, for instance, or drawing awareness to muscular pain and natural breathing and posture tendencies during a trip to the grocery store.
With asana sequences (poses) and breathing and meditation exercises from the highly personalized ISHTA school of yoga taught in Yoga Zone’s classes and Alan Finger’s studios, Yoga Zone Yoga for Life explores the core principles of yoga using accessible language. Explanations of the concepts of karma and dharma and the chakras, and their value in discovering the truest self, make this enlightening manual the perfect next step for anyone looking to delve deeper into their yoga practice.
The Reducing Stress chapter gives comprehensive advice for using yoga to alleviate and prevent stress at home and in the workplace, while Finding Balance features targeted breathing exercises and suggestions for achieving inner tranquillity. Finally, Restoring the Body provides invaluable support for healing and strengthening after illness or injury.
For anyone looking for clear guidance to help enhance their insight, Yoga Zone Yoga for Life is the only book necessary to continue the pursuit of a healthy, stress-free lifestyle.
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With decades of experience teaching yoga, master yogi Alan Finger founded Yoga Zone in 1992. The company is known for its catalog, instructional videos, popular Web site, meditation CDs, and television show, which airs on Wisdom Television and the Comcast Network. Alan also founded the Be Yoga studios in New York City in 2001.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
YOGA FOR LIFE "The practice of yoga is the commitment to become established in the state of freedom." PATANJALI, Yoga Sutras, Chapter 1, Verse 13
The bliss of having just finished a successful yoga practice is unlike anything else in the world.
An hour of maintaining focused control over the body, breath, and mind reenergizes you, no matter how tired, stressed, or uninterested you felt at the start. Serene energy unfolds, and you feel balanced, powerful, strong, refreshed, calm, and at peace. Indeed, after their very first yoga class, many beginning students stand a little straighter, feel a little stronger, breathe a little more mindfully, and enjoy life with a pleasant new combination of ease and awareness. They experience the sensation of release and well-being that comes after they have explored the core of their body, stretched their muscles, and focused on their breath. It is a
captivating feeling! It is only natural to seek to expand this harmony beyond the practice mat and into your daily activities, and that is the idea behind Yoga Zone Yoga for Life.
There is no mystical explanation for why practicing yoga makes people feel so good-the answer is purely scientific. The Sanskrit term samadhi refers to the blissful feeling that one experiences at the end of practice and that has been sought for thousands of years. When you do the poses and breathing exercises, and when you gain focus over your thoughts and your body, you achieve rhythms in your brain that you cannot achieve in the course of normal life. First, your brain waves enter an alpha rhythm similar to that of beginning sleep, and then when you become more and more practiced, you can enter into the delta rhythms of deep sleep-all while remaining fully awake.
In fact, at the Menninger Foundation in Kansas Dr. Elmer Green observed an advanced yogi, Swami Rama, practice a self-induced state of deep relaxation called yoga nidra, also known as "the sleepless sleep." Swami Rama was able to lower himself through deeper and deeper states of unconsciousness, while simultaneously maintaining an aural awareness of all that was occurring around him in the laboratory setting. By monitoring the yogi's brain waves, Dr. Green confirmed that they were becoming slower and slower. Swami Rama moved progressively toward a near-hibernation state, and his senses disengaged finally-first smell, then taste, sight, and touch, and finally, the sense of hearing, which explains why he was still able to hear what was happening in the room.
You are probably familiar with a similar mental state even if you don't think you are. Your brain usually enters this so-called "hypnogogic" condition, albeit only for a few seconds or at most a few minutes, as your body drifts off to sleep. During meditation you are able to induce and extend that mental state between consciousness and sleep, or yoga nidra.
When you achieve control over your brain rhythms, remarkable results may begin to take place in your life. You will feel more in control of your emotions and your responses to the world because you will be more cognizant of the difference between reality and fleeting emotion. Small, miraculous occurrences may happen: you will be thinking of someone, and your phone will ring-that person is calling you; you will dream of something, and it will happen the next day; your golf or tennis swing will attain that once-in-a-blue-moon effortless perfection. These sorts of miraculous occurrences-or in Sanskrit, siddhis-make you feel that you have a connection, albeit brief, to some larger universal force.
According to the tenets of yoga, a siddhi occurs when you are able to channel the intelligence from the universe into your daily life. Essentially this means that with meditation, physical postures, and control of the breath, you can become aware of magic in your life. Indeed, the wonder and splendor of the universe is well within your grasp, as it has been for millions of yoga practitioners over thousands of years.
Not only can yoga create magic in your life, it can also provide a framework for seeing and understanding the true nature of things, for distinguishing between what is real and what is illusory. Paramahansa Yogananda, an eminent yoga teacher who initiated my father into yoga practice, used a compelling analogy to illustrate how easy it is to lose sight of reality. When we go to the movies, Yogananda said, we forget that what we are really doing is staring at a white wall. What is projected onto that wall is so captivating that we become distracted in laughing or crying, in feeling scared, confused, or amazed. We forget the blank white screen that is really there underneath it all. How can we possibly forget something so obvious? Easily-our minds are not focused.
In the state of yoga, we experience that pure background consciousness (the white wall) that exists behind the moving reality of our lives (the projected images). It is only when we are experiencing the pure background of the universe that duality no longer exists. We are in a state of oneness. Only in that ultimate state of union, a union with all things, is the mind no longer distracted. This may help you understand why yoga, a Sanskrit word with many layers of meaning, can be translated as "union," "oneness," and "yoking" simultaneously.
The practice of yoga helps transition us from the stressful dual world to the underlying stress-free reality of oneness. Because we must exist in a dual world as we conduct our daily lives, yoga also teaches us how to find as much balance and harmony as possible.
An Ancient Tradition
AS YOU BECOME AWARE of the scope of the yoga tradition and the possibilities that lie just beyond your daily practice mat, you will understand more clearly why yoga has been enchanting its practitioners for thousands of years. Present-day yoga derives from roots that are millennia old: Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, written two thousand years ago, remains the original how-to book on yoga, and many people are surprised and awed to learn that the postures, or asanas, practiced today were originally developed in India more than five thousand years ago. Nevertheless the primarily physical yoga practiced in the West today is just a small part of an ancient discipline. Yoga did not emerge five thousand years ago in response to a need for a more holistic way of exercising. Indeed, millenniums ago people did not need "the workout" that we crave today. But as time has marched on, so too has awareness that these teachings can be applied equally to life's grand mysteries-questions like "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?"-as well as to less metaphysical questions such as "Why can't I bend over and touch my toes anymore?" In the following pages we will explore both kinds of questions, and the long tradition of asking them.
Any bookstore or library will present you with a trove of books about yoga, written both by ancient sages and by present-day yogis. The vastness of yoga studies can be intimidating to the eager student looking to advance and expand his or her yoga practice. Yoga practice has many levels, and beginning yoga students seek answers to many different questions: How can yoga aid in my recovery from illness, injury, or stress? How does mental stress manifest itself in my body? How can I locate and work out tension in my neck, pelvis, or legs? How do breathing exercises, called pranayama, connect with the asanas? Is it really yoga if I am just working on my breath?
On a different level, you may now be wondering how yoga can create, through samadhi and siddhis, magic in your life. How can yoga help you find your purpose in the world and a feeling of oneness with the universe? How do the Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali connect to the physical postures? Yoga Zone Yoga for Life will meet your study of yoga where you are today and offer some valuable guidance on how to focus and deepen your practice so that you can feel its maximum benefits wherever you need them.
THE STYLE OF YOGA taught in the Yoga Zone videotapes and books is called ISHTA yoga. ISHTA is an acronym for the Integrated Sciences of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda, but ishta is also a Sanskrit word that means "individual" or "personalized." That double meaning is significant because one of yoga's major strengths is its ability to be tailored to an individual's needs. In this book you will learn how to use focused, specific yoga practices to address problems and questions you may have in your life.
Hatha yoga is the basis of many different schools of yoga; it involves the simultaneous practice of physical postures and steady, deep breathing. In some schools of yoga, such as Iyengar yoga, hatha poses are held for long periods of time, bringing the focus to realignment and strengthening of the body. In other styles of yoga, asana positions and steady breathing are connected in continuously flowing sequences called vinyasas, which are more vigorous and fast-paced. Yoga Zone's ISHTA yoga uses postures in both ways, depending on the student's individual needs. Another hallmark of ISHTA yoga is the constant, careful attention paid to the breath, no matter how quickly or slowly the poses are entered.
My father, Mani Finger, and I originally developed the ISHTA yoga style in South Africa, based on the teachings of various master yoga teachers who stayed with us in our home or whom my father met during his travels. Among those who contributed significant inspiration to this new style were Paramahansa Yogananda, Yogananda's brother Vishnu Ghosh, Swami Sivananda, Swami Venkatesananda, Swami Nishraisananda, and the Tantric master Shuddhanand Bharati. When I moved to the United States in the 1970s, I founded the Yoga Zone studios, and since then I have worked with my Yoga Zone teachers to modify and expand...
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Book Description Clarkson Potter, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110609804065
Book Description Three Rivers Press (CA), 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0609804065
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Book Description Clarkson Potter, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0609804065