Siva yoga is a shortened name of a traditional type of yoga practice called sivananda yoga. Most types of yoga focus on the exercise aspect of the practice, but siva yoga is used as an overall healthy and balanced lifestyle. This type of lifestyle focuses on exercise, meditation, and breathing techniques, as well as spiritual studies and nutrition.
Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice that focuses on control of the body and mind. Over the centuries, yogic techniques have been adopted by other religions and cultures. In many cases, yoga has been transformed into a type of exercise, with many practitioners using the practice as a type of workout and nothing more. Yoga, however, is renowned for providing increased energy, relaxation, and improved physical strength.
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Exercise is at the core of siva yoga practice and it is believed to be a natural state of one’s overall being. Unlike western forms of high-intensity exercise, these yoga postures are challenging, but are meant to balance out the body and improve mental function. Muscle mass and flexibility are gained through regular practice, especially during steady poses called asanas. Some types of asanas include the spinal twist, shoulder stand, and plough.
Breathing techniques and methods of relaxation are another integral part of siva yoga. Proper breathing is thought to improve lung function and distribute oxygen evenly throughout the body to prevent disease and discomfort. Abdominal breathing is advocated as the best type, because more oxygen is taken in by the lungs. Breathing is also an integral part of relaxation, which yoga practitioners utilize as a method to relieve stress and improve mental as well as physical function.
Proper breathing is misconceived as meditation by some people. Meditation in itself is a method used in Buddhism to bring a person clarity and consciousness of his place in the world. Although deep, concentrated breathing is an important tool, meditation and breathing techniques are not the same thing. Meditation is often regarded is the most important part of siva yoga, because it can lead to enlightenment and encourage positive thinking.
Some people who practice yoga do not follow a particular nutrition plan, however, individuals who follow siva yoga follow a specific lacto-vegetarian diet. This diet discourages eating meat, but permits dairy products as a source of protein and calcium. Siva yoga is more concerned with the effect of foods on a person’s mind and physical being, rather than achieving a perfect weight or strict vegetarianism. Organic and fresh foods are also encouraged in this type of eating plan.