When people first come to yoga, they seek the benefits more than anything else. Yoga has many health benefits for your body and mind. Whether you choose online yoga classes or brick-and-mortar locations, you’ll go through different stages, from amateur to professional yogi. Here’s an overview of the five main phases of an online yoga class:
1. Yama & Niyama (Discipline)
The first two yoga steps (Yama and Niyama) don’t involve physical movements, postures, or gymnastic practices. Yoga teachers use the steps to instill ethical and individual discipline. Yama is all about moral discipline, which includes truth (Satya), non-violence (Ahimsa), non-stealing (Asteya), and non-coveting (Aparigraha).
The objective of Yama is to help one reduce their physical and material needs to a minimum. Most yogi teachers combine Yama with the Niyama, which instills individual discipline. The popular rules include purity (Saucha), contentment (Santosh), austerity (Tapas), the study of self, and dedication to a higher power.
2. Asana (The Body)
Some online classes go straight into the Asana practice because many enthusiasts want to start physical routines and moves. Classes begin with Arambhavastha, which focuses on learning the poses on an anatomical level. The goal is to learn how to perform yoga poses and movements correctly without hurting your joints, muscles, and ligaments.
Asana brings steadiness, health, equilibrium, and lightness. The movements are named after vegetation, insects, animals, and birds. Popular maneuvers include a tree (Vraksha), lotus (Padma), locust (Salabha), scorpion (Vrschika), fish (Matsya), frog (Manduka), and cock (Kukkuta). Others include tortoise, dog, horse, camel, lion, and more.
3. Pranayama (The Mind)
Once the yogi learns how to pose and make specific movements with ease, they’ll go to the next phase. Pranayama is the science of breathing, respiration, life, wind, energy, and strength. The practice involves three primary techniques: inhalation, exhalation, and retention, which include deep breathing, breath holding, and slow rhythmic patterns.
Many online classes go for the Ghatavastha, which uses the Asana practice to affect the mind, emotions, and thought patterns. The Pranayama and Ghatavastha practices are where yoga becomes a meditative exercise to help the yogi contemplate and reflect. You may be able to reduce cravings, develop strong immunity, and soothe the respiratory system.
4. Pratyahara (The Senses)
The Pratyahara is the stage where the yogi learns to withdraw their energy from their senses. At this stage, the yogi learns to register surrounding sounds without letting them create a disturbance in the body or mind. Pratyahara is a state of non-reaction and focuses on controlling the senses.
Merging the body and mind requires intimacy and intelligence, which makes Pratyahara and Parichayavastha among the most challenging phases in practice. Learners must first master Asana (which focuses on the body), Pranayama (the mind), and then Pratrahara (the senses). The yogi can choose their responses or decide not to react to different stimuli.
5. Dharna, Dhyana & Samadhi
The last three steps of yoga practice are studied together as a single phase focusing on the innermost quest. Dharna is the sixth step and involves concentrating the mind (Ekagrata) and consistent focus. The stage requires one to be fully present and focused on an activity or object. Dhyana is about meditation and reconciling the flesh with the self/soul.
The Samadhi state is at the peak of a yogi’s meditation, where the senses and body rest as if they’re sleeping. The mental faculties remain alert as if they’re awake. Samadhi is where the yogi is gone beyond consciousness but remains conscious and alert. The result is truth, joy, and true consciousness with no more I, me, or material distractions.
Learning Through Online Yoga Classes
Yoga has eight main steps or limbs (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi). When learning online, some steps are combined to make the learning process easier. Each step is unique and focuses on specific achievements. Not all yoga is the same, but all forms focus on retraining your body and brain to move better and improve life.
Yoga lessons can help you learn how to boost energy through spirited and challenging workouts. Make sure you choose top-rated online yoga classes with experienced yoga teachers. Working with a proven yogi allows you to master the skill faster and customize it to your goals and situation.