As people search for inner peace amid increasingly hectic lives, the practice of yoga continues to gain popularity. Yoga means to yoke, or to bring together, the various aspects of the self -- body, mind, and spirit -- and while the physical and mental benefits of yoga are truly astounding, to many people the idea of yoga is intimidating. In fact, nothing could be easier than starting a yoga practice, and Yoga Zone Introduction to Yoga is the perfect guide.
In the first section, Yoga Master Alan Finger offers a brief history of the different types of yoga and how they are practiced in the West, including an explanation of the ISHTA yoga that Alan created and that is taught at Yoga Zone. You'll learn about the benefits of yoga and how to prepare for a practice with different breathing exercises. Next Alan outlines two series of beginner postures, accompanying each pose with detailed instructions on how to achieve it, along with tips and modifications for various fitness levels. All the exercises are fully illustrated and the text is instructional yet friendly, in the tradition of a Yoga Zone studio class. Following the postures, there's a special section on relaxation and meditation, cornerstones of any yoga practice. Packed with personality and full of valuable information, Yoga Zone Introduction to Yoga will introduce you to a life of unlimited possibilities and infinite joy.
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About the Author
Al Bingham is a senior Yoga Zone instructor and is featured in the Yoga Zone television series. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Al lives in Irvington, New York.
Read an Excerpt
Yoga is increasingly popular these days. Everywhere you look -- in magazines, on television, in the internet chat rooms, in boardrooms, and in bedrooms across the country -- people are singing the praises of yoga. While yoga may be in vogue, it is certainly not the new kid on the excercise block. In fact, based on its five-thousand-year pedigree, you could argue that it is the mother of all exercise forms. It is our experience at Yoga Zone that people are drawn to yoga for a host of reasons:
It's accessible to everyone, regardless of age, body type, or fitness level.
It's a great total-body workout.
It improves posture, increases strength, and enhances flexibility.
It's not punishing on the body the way other sports and exercise programs can be.
It's challenging, yet at the same time it's a noncompetitive and nonjudgmental practice.
It's a terrific stress reliever.
It helps clear the mind to make room for creativity and intuition to flourish.
It helps resolve emotional conflicts.
Its spiritual components do not impinge on any preexisting religious beliefs.
It is an adaptable practice that will evolve as you evolve.
You can start out a yoga session feeling tired, groggy, and moody, but less than fifteen minutes later you will feel transformed, rejuvenated, energized, and ready for whatever life has to throw at you. In addition to the immediate short-term gains, there are also documented long-term medical benefits to practicing yoga's three-in-one mind-body-spirit workout. Studies have shown the effectiveness of yoga, meditation, and yoga-derived therapies in healing and/or managing a wide range of medical conditions, including:
hypertension (high blood pressure)
heart disease coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
cardiac arrhythmias high cholesterol chronic back pain chronic neck pain chronic shoulder pain carpal tunnel syndrome migraine headaches bronchial asthma insomnia unexplained infertility premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
anxiety mild and moderate depression anger fatigue low self-esteem tendencies to smoke, drink, and use drugs eating disorders work-related stress disorders stress-related absenteeism and stress-related decline in worker productivity
As impressive as all of the research on yoga is, we are not presenting yoga as some mystical curative for whatever ails you. This book is not meant to stand in as a substitute for necessary medical treatment, nor does it pretend to be a prescription for your health problems. However, we hope this book can teach you not only a new way of exercising, but also a more complete way of viewing yourself and the world around you.
Yoga is an enjoyable way of learning how to "feel yourself" again. You will begin to use your body, mind, and breath in ways that are probably different from how you use them normally. You are about to experience an amazing world that exists literally right under your nose. There are wonderful surprises in store for you as you rediscover who you really are and how incredible, brilliant, beautiful, understanding, compassionate, and loving that real you is. The self that you can no longer feel is actually much more extraordinary than you ever could have imagined.