Progressive yoga is a relatively new yet comparatively tried-and-tested enough form for a fitter body and relaxed mind. Based on the principles of ashtanga yoga, it improves the body’s composition and increases focus and concentration. Hollywood celebrities Drew Barrymore, Mario Lopez and Andy Garcia are known to be followers.
While there are progressive yoga classes running all over Los Angeles and Vancouver, out here in India there is some movement in Hyderabad and Mumbai only through fitness specialists like Praveen Tokas. At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, for people who are from the land of yoga, we have very little awareness about yoga beyond dhyan and basic asanas. Most of us Indians cannot tell the difference between different schools, or recognise the traditional forms and modern hybrids. There is little practice and too much irrelevant talk. The mass yoga camps I have attended aren’t challenging enough for someone already in the practice. All I am saying is, it’s a our privilege to approach yoga with the sincerity it deserves.
What is progressive yoga?
Progressive yoga is a combination of Raja yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, and individual creativity. It is usually attributed to US-based yoga guru David Kyle. He was inspired by the yoga workouts of Sri K Pattabhi Jois and Larry Schultz.
“Combining the knowledge of strength and conditioning science with yoga principles and practice, progressive yoga is tailored differently to suit your personal fitness needs, without involving competitive elements that contradict yoga’s most basic principles,” says progressive yoga instructor Praveen Tokas.
What I learned
You are taken through correct limb positioning and associated yogic breathing. These two techniques help you to stretch the right muscles and eliminate the chance of injury. Once you master the basics, there is no limit to the heights you can ascend to.
How it works
Postures are placed in sequential order to provide a flow practice based on specific transitions that are to be complemented in a specific number of poses. It is usually a six-week programme that teaches the foundations of a safe and effective yoga practice. Each week will build upon concepts and postures learned the previous week. The instructor uses pranayama, asanas and meditation in combination. Asanas that stretch, strengthen and stabilise the physical body are the focus.
The benefits of this practice are many. Injury prevention for better mobility; increased strength, power, endurance, and balance and co-ordination for optimum functional health; improved body composition; increased focus and concentration.
Progressive yoga is not risky as long as you respect your physical capabilities and inform your teacher about any previous or current injury.
Couch potatoes to athletes and everyone in between. The important thing is to practise progressive yoga with a certified teacher and to respect your physiological capabilities.
(A version of this post was published on idiva.com women’s website from the Times Network)
What’s the buzz on yoga? Click on the links to read posts by other bloggers:
- Life is like a yoga class – Val Boyko
- 7-day yoga challenge – Risfit
- Meditation Monday: Yoga for Mental Health – Tamara Hoerner
- Yoga teacher training – Dream of adventures
- Yoga Wisdom for Summer Vacation: Balance and Breathe – Red Boots
- Ashtanga yoga – My So-Called Yoga Life