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Mainstream Yoga

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Mainstream yoga is understood in the West, as a general term to refer to any form of yoga that employs yoga postures as the foundation of the practice (Feuerstein, 1989). Within the many different forms of western yoga, several approaches can be identified, the most dominant categories being a therapeutic approach in which postures are used for various conditions such as sciatica, asthma, heart disease, and stress-reduction or in contrast, a fitness approach in which the asanas are used for exercise. These practices have many parallels with hatha yoga; however, not all approaches to yoga include an interior connection with the body (Walker, 2013).
The benefits of yoga postures, yogic breathing, and meditation have been studied in the West since the 1920 's and 30 's when scientists, medical doctors, and psychiatrists began to examine the astounding physiological control demonstrated by yogis (Broad, 2012). Therapeutically, asanas are prescribed for a host of ailments ranging from minor everyday problems (i.e. Headaches, insomnia and digestive problems) to recovery from injuries to curing and relieving diseases such as cancer or heart disease. In the medical and psychological community, yoga has also been recognized as an excellent method of stress
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The basic techniques of the practice -svadyaya (self-observation), asana (posture), pranayama (conscious breathing), vinyasa (synchronized movement), and shavasana (final relaxation pose) - are the core for developing embodiment (Faulds, 2006). In the beginning, a practitioner learns dozens of asanas which move his/her body into new forms and patterns. A new way of breathing is introduced that brings in the element of self-observation and reflection. A style of moving, known as vinyasa, in which movement within and between the asanas is sequenced with the inhale (uplifting movements) and exhale (grounding or contracting movements), is
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