Yoga in Indonesia
Yoga is an exercise system that consists of a series of poses, postures, and positions. The practice of yoga strives to promote union of mind, body and spirit. It is considered a physical and spiritual practice with roots in ancient India, but with relevance to a healthy lifestyle in modern times. The typical workout blends strength, flexibility, and body awareness with a series of poses, postures, and positions called “asanas”.
Yoga Classes / Yoga Studios
Yoga is practiced in Indonesia primarily in small groups and at Yoga Studios in Jakarta, Bali and other major cities throughout Indonesia.
A Brief History of Yoga
Yoga, continues to gain popularity in the 21st century, however it is actually an ancient practice that has been in existence for thousands of years. Yoga is an ancient path to spiritual growth, and originates in India, the birthplace of Hinduism.
Historians are not in total agreement as to the actual year of the beginnings of yoga; however, it is clearly documented in the Hindu religious texts of Vedic shastras that are four thousand years old. Some historians believe that yoga actually was in existence over 8,000 years ago. The word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit word "yuj" which means "to unite or integrate." Ancient yogis (practitioners of yoga) believed that in order for man to be in harmony with himself and his environment, he has to integrate his body, mind, and spirit. For these three to be integrated, emotion, action, and intelligence must be in balance. The yogis formulated a way to achieve and maintain this balance through exercise, breathing, and m - the three main yoga structures.
In yoga, the body is treated with care and respect because it is the primary instrument for man's work and growth. Yoga exercises improve circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs, and put pressure on the glandular system of the body, which can result in better health.
There are still a lot of misconceptions about yoga, for instance, that yoga is a religion. Yoga is not a religion. It is more of a set of techniques by which people can reach a spiritual state. In fact, yoga is practiced by people from many different religions, including: Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims.
Another misconception is that yoga is an exercise program, just a way for us to keep fit. This is partly true, but yoga actually develops the body as a weak body is considered a hindrance to spiritual growth. It does not simply focus on the physical but on the mental and spiritual aspects as well.
AntiGravity Yoga is a fusion of fitness techniques which have been modified and enhanced to fit the yoga mold. It utilizes aspects of traditional yoga, pilates, calisthenics, dance, and gymnastics. AntiGravity Yoga is designed to increase one’s overall heath and physical agility while having fun and creating beauty.
Sri K Pattabhi and Iyengar are considered two of the grandfathers of modern yoga. Pattabhi developed Ashtanga yoga in Mysore, India after studying with Krisnamacharya. Ashtanga yoga is considered a part of Hatha yoga, because of the use of the same postures, but in Ashtanga they are done in a strict and intense sequence. Tristhana refers to the union of "three places of attention or action: posture, breathing system and looking place. These three are very important for yoga practice, and cover three levels of purification: the body, nervous system, and mind. They are always performed in conjunction with each other."
Bikram Yoga is a specific style of yoga that is based on traditional yoga techniques. It was popularized by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s. The classes typically last exactly 90 minutes and feature a predetermined series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. It's often referred to as "Hot Yoga", because it is practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈ 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%. Hot Yoga enthusiasts relish the sweat and hard workout. The warm room heats up the muscles and allows for a deeper workout and cleansing flushes of body toxins. White the postures can be demanding, this yoga style is suitable for all ages and levels of ability. Each posture stretches and strengthens specific muscles, ligaments and joints, preparing the body for the next posture in the series. Believed to stimulate organs, glands and nerves, this yoga style is also credited with restoring body systems to a healthy level of functioning, due to the freshly oxygenated blood that is circulated throughout the body as a result of the specific yoga postures.
The word Hatha is a combination of two Sanskrit words. “Ha”, meaning sun and “tha”, meaning moon. One of the meanings of Hatha is the union of opposites. This style combines yoga postures or asanas along with pranayama breathing work and meditation to create a union of mind and body. There are variations of the techniques which depend upon the traditions which the instruction comes from as well as from the practitioners own inspiration and experimentation. Hatha class is a slow-paced stretching class with some simple breathing exercises and perhaps seated meditation. This is a good place to learn basic poses and relaxation techniques, and to become comfortable with yoga.
BKS Iyengar is one of the most prominent teachers of modern yoga. He was a student of Kishnamacharya. He currently lives, studies, and teaches in Pune, India. Iyengar yoga emphasizes proper alignment in each posture for balance and strength.
Iyengar's method is actually a form of Hatha yoga, which is based on giving primacy to the physical alignment of the body in the poses. In the Iyengar school it is taught that there is a correct way to do each pose and that every student will one day be able to attain perfect poses through consistent practice. Once this balance is created in the body, it will be reflected in the mind.
Iyengar yoga is distinctive from other forms of yoga because of its intense use of props to assist the practitioner in maximizing their abilities in each posture. It is quite common to see blankets, blocks, straps, pillows, chairs, and bolsters being used in Iyengar yoga studios. The use of these props is comparatively new in the history of yoga and comes directly from Iyengar.
Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is designed to give you "hands on" experience of your highest consciousness. It is not a religion. Kundalini Yoga is a sacred science. It is scientific because it provides a technology, a method by which anyone who practices it can experience the divine identity within. It is universal and non-denominational.
Vinyasaa / Yoga Flow
Similar to Ashtanga and Hatha styles, this is a series of yoga postures or asanas practiced in rhythmic flow with the breathing. Vinyasa is a term that covers a broad range of yoga styles. The word Vinyasa means breath-synchronized movement. In other words, the teacher will instruct students to move from one pose to the next on an inhalation or an exhalation. This technique is sometimes also called Vinyasa Flow or just Flow because of the smooth way that the poses run together and become like a dance.
Kids and Yoga
Yoga, presented in a fun and creative approach, is perfect for kids whose bodies are still developing. The use of animated poses and basic stretching exercises improves a child’s flexibility, coordination, and body awareness. Breathing and visualization techniques teach kids how to focus, relax, and develop self control as well as help to release energy. All of these learned techniques can be beneficial in the development of a healthy child.
Benefits of Yoga
One of the most appealing benefits of yoga is its ability to improve flexibility and relaxation. Yoga can be practiced to enhance overall health, to improve balance, to heal and prevent injuries, to strengthen muscles, and to prepare the body for meditation.
Yoga's increasing popularity is proof that many people value an exercise system that engages the mind, body, and spirit in equal measure. Most people begin to see and feel improvements in their flexibility, strength, and stress levels after only a few classes. Because yoga poses require you to move in and out of positions in a controlled manner, this will lead to improved strength to almost all muscle groups. This, in turn, leads to greater muscle tone. Yoga energizes your body and the associated meditation can help calm your mind.
Increased flexibility and strength can also help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga improves your body alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.
Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don't give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breathing can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.
Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a feeling of calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which helps calm the mind.
Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga because of the concentration required. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or worry about upcoming events. The techniques learned to relieve stress in yoga class can then be implemented in your daily activities.
Practicing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. In class, you are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your body alignment. Over time, this will increase the level of comfort in your body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.
It is of vital importance that the instructor that is teaching the yoga class is a qualified instructor. Although yoga seems a slow pace and low impact form of exercise, it is in fact a very intense and precise form of exercise. In order to become an accredited yoga teacher, participants must have practiced yoga for a minimum of three years. After this personal experience, they must attend an intensive 6-week course in order to study and pass the teaching certification program. During this intense qualification program the teachers must learn the anatomy of the body, methods of teaching, and how to modify teaching methods for the different ability levels of students, and of course the different styles of yoga. Be sure that the person that is instructing the class you want to enroll in is in fact a certified instructor.
Yoga is steadily gaining popularity in Indonesia as the practice is spread through and increasing number of persons taking yoga classes and becoming followers of various yoga teachers in Jakarta and Bali.
Last updated June 17, 2021