Breathe deep, this is the real thing

Updated: 2013-07-10 02:44

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

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The yoga style most well known is Hatha yoga or asana — the practice of moving the body into postures which can improve health, strength, balance, flexibility and body shape.

But, asana on a deeper level is a tool to calm the mind. And yoga practitioners concentrate on the movement to meditate, as well as to control the flow of energy in the body to feed the spirit.

"Yoga is a training of mind, and that training you can apply to anything," Mangalteertham says.

The prevailing emphasis on the physicality of yoga is the result of commercialization, which opposes the principles of the traditional practice and is not good for yoga students, says N.K. Singh, who represents the Bapu Nature Cure Hospital & Yogashram in New Delhi, India.

Singh recently established a classic yoga studio in Beijing, because he finds too many yoga instructors in China unqualified to teach asana, let alone meditation.

Li Jin, a Xinjiang native, met Singh in India in 2005, and they are partners in the Beijing ashram.

Li used to be skeptical because she had gotten hurt while learning with her yoga teacher, but her encounter with Singh changed her mind. "Yoga is not only about body postures, but more importantly, the inner awareness and peace one gets when one concentrates and meditates."

Mangalteertham agrees.

"If you practice yoga, you should practice all the eight parts. That is real yoga."

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