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The term yoga comes from a Sanskrit word that means yoke or union. Traditionally, yoga is a method joining the individual self with the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness. Physical and mental
|Abdominal massage||Kneel with arms folded. Bend torso toward ground and lower forehead to the floor. Slowly raise up, switch arms, and repeat.|
|Boat||Lying on stomach, raise head, torso, arms, and legs off the ground and stretch. Arms should be outstretched and pointing towards feet.|
|Bow||Lying on stomach, hold ankles from behind and slowly raise head, torso, and thighs off floor.|
|Bridge||Lying on back with knees bent and feet flat on floor, raise pelvis off floor and arch back. Arms should be stretched out on floor with hands grasped.|
|C||On hands and knees, move head and buttocks as far left as possible. Inhale as you return center and repeat on the right side.|
|Camel||While kneeling, arch back and bend head back toward feet. Hold heels with hands and exhale while in movement.|
|Cat||On hands and knees, arch back and exhale while in movement, rounding shoulders and back.|
|Child||Kneeling with arms to the side, roll torso to floor and rest forehead on the ground.|
|Cobra||Stretched out on floor with stomach down, place elbows parallel to shoulders and raise torso up. Arms should straighten with hands flat on floor.|
|Corpse||Lie on back with feet and arms outstretched. Breathe deeply.|
|Dog||On hands and knees, dip back and lift head and buttocks up. Exhale.|
|Downward Dog||On hands and knees form an inverted V by pushing pelvis up and pressing hands and heels to floor. Exhale while in movement.|
|Half Cobra||Stretched out on floor with stomach down, place elbows parallel to shoulders and raise torso up. Keep arms bent and only raise torso off the ground as far as the navel.|
|Half Locust||Lying on stomach with hands beneath the body, raise legs one at a time while tensing buttocks. Repeat with other leg.|
|Half Lotus||Sit with legs crossed (only one leg should be over the other) and knees touching the floor.|
|Half-Moon||Standing with feet together, hold hands above the head with arms outstretched. Exhale and stretch to the left. Inhale and return to center. Repeat on other side.|
|Hand and thumb squeeze||Make a fist around thumb and squeeze. Release slowly and repeat on other hand.|
|Head to knee||Sitting with right leg outstretched and the left leg bent toward the body with the left foot touching the right leg, stretch head to right knee. Repeat on other side.|
|Hero||On hands and knees, cross left knee in front of right knee while sitting back between the heels. Hold heels with hands.|
|Knee down twist||Lying on back with arms outstretched, place right foot on left knee and swivel right knee to the left side of floor. While in movement, turn head to left side. Repeat on opposite side.|
exercises are designed to help achieve this goal, also called self-transcendence or enlightenment. On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, and align the body. These postures are performed to make the spine supple and healthy and to promote blood flow to all the organs, glands, and tissues, keeping all the bodily systems healthy. On the mental level, yoga uses breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dyana) to quiet, clarify, and discipline the mind. However, experts are quick to point out that yoga is not a religion, but a way of living with health and peace of mind as its aims.
Author Info: Douglas Dupler, Rebecca J. Frey PhD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, 2005This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
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