Why do I have muscle tension? How can I get this to go away? Can you just massage it out? How many sessions will it take to get that out? What exercises can I do? What foods should I eat? What oils would help out with this pain?
The idea of using pressure and friction on the human body for health and relaxation is not new. Massage was prevalant in the time of the Roman empire: if you went to the baths it would be common to have a body rub in addition to the hot and cold tubs. The Greeks as well had it, and before them the Egyptians and the Chinese, and the Indians. There are even some European cave paintings that suggest massage may date back thousands of years earlier. So the practices and the understanding of their benefits predate a lot of our modern medical science.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I think about and use shavasana (http://blog.ideafit.com/blogs/ariadne-greenberg/shavasana-and-meditation ). Since then I find myself thinking about, and talking to my classes about the beginning of the class. If in part Shavasana is the transitional pathway out of the physical practice, into the meditative practice, and then out into our lives, it is balanced by what we do at the beginning of practice, when we step on the mat.
Austin athletes are dropping out of yoga and switching to Tai Chi.Thousands of yoga drop outs don't regret studying yoga. It's relaxing. It increases flexibility, strength, balance and mental focus. It creates a healing environment through new friendships and spiritual experiences. Smart Austinites, however, are taking the yoga they learned and elegantly charming their skills into Tai Chi classes because:
Motivation comes from all types of different places and is extremely important when beginning your fitness journey. Some people are searching to improve their health while others could be exercising to look better. You truly need to find something that will help motivate you each day to get out of bed and get a solid training session in.
I try to go to take other people's classes as often as I can. I also try to go to workshops. It is so important not just to have your own practice in yoga, but also to keep open to new ideas, and to learn from others. I also try to do one 'big' training a year. My current family obligations make it hard for me to do as much as I would like, in terms of time and cost, but I make an effort to keep up with training as well as reading.
Any yoga practice is made up of a sequence of postures. While the time each posture is held generally one moves toward longer holds, and finally to rest, usually in shavasana. While the same postures will not be in every practice, a practice usually will include a variety of postures, chosen to balance direction of movement and areas of stretch and so on. It is the flow and balance between the postures that matters, as much as the postures themselves.
There are hundreds of postures, though many of these are variations on what I would call base postures.