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26.03.2014
Hatha Yoga: According to internet resources, hatha yoga means to practice physical techniques of yoga. Jivamukti Yoga: It is combination of hatha yoga and vinyasa yoga with various principles to follow.
You might not know, these are actually some of the most common types of yoga that are widely practiced in USA. If our body, mind and soul are in harmony, we can create a union between our own consciousness and the universal consciousness. The breathing technique in Yoga, known as Pranayam, is designed to keep the emotions balanced and under control.
Meditation is a technique to remove our brain from consciousness and slip into sub-consciousness, where we are connected with the universal consciousness.
Conventional yoga wisdom holds that nothing prepares your body for hours of seated meditation as well as regular asana practice. Fortunately, by the time I got serious about meditation, I’d already been introduced to the concepts of Taoist Yoga, which helped me understand my difficulties in sitting. Through deep meditation, the ancient spiritual adepts won insight into the energy system of the body. Western medicine has been skeptical about the traditional energy maps of acupuncture, tai chi, and yoga, since no one had ever found physical evidence of nadis and meridians. Drawing on Motoyama’s research, Taoist Yoga weds the insights gained by thousands of years of acupuncture practice to the wisdom of yoga.
Yin and yang are relative terms, not absolutes; any phenomenon can only be yin or yang by comparison with something else. Analyzing various yoga techniques from the perspective of yin and yang, the most relevant aspect is the elasticity of the tissues involved. Taoists would say yang practice removes qi stagnation as it cleanses and strengthens our bodies and our minds. It’s certainly true that whenever we move and bend our joints in yoga postures, both muscle and connective tissues are challenged. Yang yoga provides enormous benefits for physical and emotional health, especially for those living a sedentary modern lifestyle.
The idea of stretching connective tissue around the joints seems at odds with virtually all the rules of modern exercise.
Although connective tissue is found in every bone, muscle, and organ, it’s most concentrated at the joints.
In general, a yin approach works to promote flexibility in areas often perceived as nonmalleable, especially the hips, pelvis, and lower spine.
When most people are introduced to the ideas of Yin Yoga, they shudder at the thought of stretching connective tissue. There are two principles that differentiate yin practice from more yang approaches to yoga: holding poses for at least several minutes and stretching the connective tissue around a joint. Because Yin Yoga requires that the muscles be relaxed around the connective tissue you want to stretch, not all yoga poses can be done effectively—or safely—as yin poses. Standing poses, arm balances, and inversions—poses that require muscular action to protect the structural integrity of the body—can’t be done as yin poses. All seated meditation postures aim at one thing: holding the back upright without strain or slouching so that energy can run freely up and down the spine.
A basic yin practice to facilitate seated meditation should incorporate forward bends, hip openers, backbends, and twists.
This is the pathway of the bladder meridians in Chinese medicine, which Motoyama has identified with the ida and pingala nadis so important in yogic anatomy. To balance these forward bends, use poses like Seal (a yin Bhujangasana), Dragon (a yin Runner’s Lunge), and Saddle (a yin variation of Supta Vajrasana or Supta Virasana). Even if you only spend a few minutes a couple times a week practicing several of these poses, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how different you feel when you sit to meditate.
Chinese medical practitioners and yogis have insisted that blocks to the flow of vital energy throughout our body eventually manifest in physical problems that would seem, on the surface, to have nothing to do with weak knees or a stiff back. If your heart hurts, this powerful meditation can help you transform that energy and let it go. The Yoga Journal Contributing Editor, Author, and Founder of the Bay Area's Piedmont Yoga reflects on BKS Iyengar's profound influence.
This asans apart from being a meditative pose, removes stiffness from the knees, improves posture and calms the mind.


Vajrasana speeds up digestion, makes ankle joints flexible, improves the body posture, beneficial for the reproductive organs as well.
These exercises are designed to create pressure on our glandular system, which increases their efficiency and keep the body more healthy.
Different techniques are suitable for different people, based on their nature and the nature of their problems. But when I began to explore more intensive meditation sessions, I discovered to my chagrin that years of sweaty vinyasa and mastery of fairly advanced poses hadn’t made me immune to the creaky knees, sore back, and aching hips that can accompany long hours of sitting practice.
I found that with some simple additions to my yoga practice, I could sit in meditation with ease, free from physical distractions. In India, yogis called this energy prana and its pathways nadis; in China, the Taoists called it qi (pronounced chee) and founded the science of acupuncture, which describes the flow of qi through pathways called meridians.
To understand this marriage—and to use it to help us sit with more ease in meditation—we must familiarize ourselves with the concepts of yin and yang. Yang tissues like muscles are more fluid-filled, soft, and elastic; yin tissues like connective tissue (ligaments, tendons, and fascia) and bones are dryer, harder, and stiffer.
But the practice of yang yoga, by itself, may not adequately prepare the body for a yin activity such as seated meditation. But from a Taoist perspective, much of the yoga now practiced in the West is yang practice—active practice that primarily focuses on movement and muscular contraction. Because the principle of all exercise is to stress tissue so the body will respond by strengthening it. In fact, if you don’t use your full range of joint flexibility, the connective tissue will slowly shorten to the minimum length needed to accommodate your activities. Since yin practice is new to many yogis, the indications of overwork may also be unfamiliar. In a seated forward bend, for example, you can gently pull with your arms to increase the stretch on the connective tissues of your spine.
Also, although many yin poses are based on classic yoga asanas, the emphasis on releasing muscles rather than on contracting them means that the shape of poses and the techniques employed in them may be slightly different than you’re accustomed to. The fundamental factor that affects this upright posture is the tilt of the sacrum and pelvis.
Forward bends include not just the basic two-legged seated forward bend but also poses that combine forward bending and hip opening, like Butterfly (a yin version of Baddha Konasana), Half Butterfly (a yin version of Janu Sirsasana), Half Frog Pose (a yin adaptation of Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana), Dragonfly (a yin version of Upavistha Konasana), and Snail (a yin version of Halasana).
Snail Pose also stretches the whole back body but places more emphasis on the upper spine and neck. Saddle Pose is the most effective way I know to realign the sacrum and lower spine, re-establishing the natural lumbar curve that gets lost through years of sitting in chairs. Much research is still needed to explore the possibility that science can confirm the insights of yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Yoga is divided into several types. If you are a beginner, then you can know and choose your preferred type of yoga from the flow chart below. This is one of the most simple asanas and the usual way of an Indian sitting on the floor. Taoist Yoga also helped me see that we can combine Western scientific thought with ancient Indian and Chinese energy maps of the body to gain deeper understanding of how and why yoga works.
The exercises of tai chi chuan and qi gong were developed to harmonize this qi flow; the Indian yogis developed their system of bodily postures to do the same.
But compared to the Earth (at least from our perspective), the moon is yang: brighter, higher, and more mobile. By extension, exercise that focuses on muscle tissue is yang; exercise that focuses on connective tissue is yin. Many yoga students like to warm up with asanas that infuse the muscles with blood, like standing poses, Sun Salutations, or inversions. Moderately stressing the joints does not injure them any more than lifting a barbell injures muscles.
But yin practice isn’t a call to stretch all connective tissue or strain vulnerable joints. But in order for these connective tissues to be affected, you must relax the muscles around the spine itself.
To help my students keep these distinctions in mind, I usually refer to yin poses by different names than their more familiar yang cousins. All of the forward bends stretch the ligaments along the back side of the spine and help decompress the lower spinal discs.


Poses like Butterfly, Half Butterfly, Half Frog, and Dragonfly stretch not only the back of the spine but also the groins and the fascia that crosses the ilio-sacral region. If Hiroshi Motoyama and other researchers are right—if the network of connective tissue does correspond with the meridians of acupuncture and the nadis of yoga—strengthening and stretching connective tissue may be critical for your long-term health.
But if yoga postures really do help us reach down into the body and gently stimulate the flow of qi and prana through the connective tissue, Yin Yoga serves as a unique tool for helping you get the greatest possible benefit from yoga practice.
James Oschman in the United States, have explored the possibility that the connective tissue running throughout the body provides pathways for the energy flows described by the ancients.
Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect. In addition to being relative, a yin-yang comparison of any two objects depends on the trait being compared. This strategy makes sense for stretching and strengthening muscles; much like a sponge, the elasticity of a muscle varies dramatically with its fluid content.
Seated meditation is a yin activity, not just because it is still but because it depends on the flexibility of the connective tissue. If you stretch connective tissue back and forth at the edge of its range of motion or if you suddenly apply a lot of force, sooner or later you will hurt yourself.
You can demonstrate this by gently pulling on your right middle finger, first with your right hand tensed and then with the hand relaxed. The straight-legged forward bends stretch the fascia and muscles along the backs of the legs. Shoelace Pose (a yin forward bend in the Gomukhasana leg position) and Square Pose (a yin forward bend in the Sukhasana leg position) stretch the tensor fascie latae, the thick bands of connective tissue that run up the outer thighs, and Sleeping Swan (a yin forward-bending version of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) stretches all the tissues that can interfere with the external thigh rotation you need for cross-legged sitting postures.
Dragon, a somewhat more yang pose, stretches the ilio-psoas muscles of the front hip and thigh and helps prepare you to sit by establishing an easy forward tilt to the pelvis.
Pranayam is a technique to reverse the process- if you control your breathing, you control your emotions. For example, when considering location, the heart is yin compared to the breastbone because the heart is more hidden.
If a sponge is dry, it may not stretch at all without tearing, but if a sponge is wet, it can twist and stretch a great deal. We must remember that connective tissue is different from muscle and needs to be exercised differently. Although yin work with the knee would seek full flexion and extension (bending and straightening), it would never aggressively stretch this extremely vulnerable joint.
More subtle signals include muscular gripping or spasm or a sense of soreness or misalignment—in chiropractic terms, being out of adjustment—especially in your neck or sacroiliac joints. When the hand is relaxed, you will feel a stretch in the joint where the finger joins the palm; the connective tissue that knits the bones together is stretching. Before Savasana (Corpse Pose), it’s good to round out your practice with a Cross-Legged Reclining Spinal Twist, a yin version of Jathara Parivartanasana which stretches the ligaments and muscles of the hips and lower spine and provides an effective counterpose for both backbends and forward bends.
But when considering substance, the heart is yang compared to the breastbone because the heart is softer, more mobile, more elastic.
Instead of the rhythmiccontraction and release that best stretches muscle, connective tissue responds best to a slow, steady load. In general, a yin approach works to promote flexibility in areas often perceived as nonmalleable, especially the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. When the hand is tensed, there will be little or no movement across this joint, but you will feel the muscles straining against the pull. If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time, the body will respond by making them a little longer and stronger—which is exactly what you want. Or, at the very least, back way out of your maximum stretch and focus on developing sensitivity to much more subtle cues. Proceed cautiously, only gradually extending the depth of poses and the length of time you spend in them.



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