If you’re a fan of different yoga techniques, mindfulness, and meditation, it’s likely that you’ve come across the term Dharma yoga.
Now, what is dharma yoga, and how is it different from other techniques? Dharma yoga incorporates the essence of several popular yoga techniques to promote both mental and physical wellbeing.
You’re probably wondering if dharma yoga can improve your life and if it’s something to incorporate into your lifestyle. Here’s how dharma yoga can bring a change.
What is Dharma Yoga?
Dharma yoga is a unique yoga style founded by Sri Dharma Mittra, who developed it after spending over fifty years practicing classical yoga. While challenging, this form of yoga can be adapted to students’ needs. This means beginners to highly expert practitioners can try it based on their condition and preferences. As students move up to higher levels, their yoga instructor encourages them to experience dharma yoga for a spiritual meditation experience.
Dharma yoga motivates students to go deeper in practice using only the most highly efficient techniques with the aim of self-realization. The primary reason people practice dharma yoga is that it focuses on nine forms of yoga, including Kriya, Raja, Laya, Japa, Hatha, Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana. It also has roots in all eight limbs of yoga, while it greatly emphasizes Niyama and Yama. With his years of experience, Sri Dharma has come across several yoga techniques, allowing him to refine yoga practices so they better help students. Hence, the teaching material includes various elements of his experience.
Benefits of Practicing Dharma Yoga
Like all different types of yoga, Dharma Yoga offers a range of benefits. Here are some advantages of Dharma Yoga.
Dharma yoga helps build flexibility in your body. Once you start practicing this yoga technique, your body’s joints become less rigid. This can prove beneficial for people who experience pain in their bodies when they lift heavy objects or sleep at the wrong angle. Building flexibility can help you reduce aches in your body.
Calms the Mind and Strengthens the Nervous System
Practicing dharma yoga regularly can improve blood flow. This can reduce the risk of developing several health issues while improving strength and energy levels. As daily yoga strengthens your nervous system, you build greater awareness of your body and better understand internal cues.
In this day and age, people’s increased dependence on technology has made it difficult to focus. We all struggle to concentrate, whether we’re taking care of house chores, office jobs, or daily work. This has a major impact on our daily life, as it prevents us from excelling in our respective fields and fulfilling responsibilities. Dharma yoga can improve your mental clarity, so you feel calmer. It teaches you to stay relaxed and calm, no matter what you do. Once you start concentrating at work and build a mindset that’s dedicated to getting the job done, nothing can distract you.
Promotes Deep Sleep
Once you begin practicing dharma yoga, it will feel easier to stay calm throughout the day. It’s also an effective technique to help you unwind when your body feels exhausted after a long day. Ultimately, when you go to bed at night, you fall asleep within minutes.
Supports Bone Development and Strengths
As you age, your bones start growing weaker. Seniors or middle-aged adults experiencing weakness can strengthen their bones with the help of dharma yoga. Dharma yoga also boosts your body’s flexibility, reducing the amount of pressure that affects your bones during strenuous activities. Besides that, Dharma yoga helps prevent poor posture, so your spine stays straight. With time, the practice can increase calcium levels and lower cortisol, the stress hormone.
Supports Heart Health
This yoga technique can also help improve heart health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular illnesses. It does so by decreasing the amounts of cortisol and adrenaline, which narrow the blood vessels and raise blood pressure levels.
Manage Depression and Anxiety
Both anxiety and depression have become common mental health issues around the globe. If you find yourself suffering from feelings of anxiety or depressed mood, dharma yoga can promote feelings of calmness. Besides improving your psychological wellbeing, it reduces the risk of experiencing panic attacks or depressive episodes in the future.
Offers Body Awareness
Dharma yoga can help build a better awareness of your surroundings, allowing you to make informed decisions for yourself. Not to mention, when your mind is able to focus on tasks without thinking about other things, it’s easier to listen to your body.
With practice, just about every type of yoga improves balance, and the same goes for dharma yoga. While being able to stand up straight without falling over seems like a less-impressive benefit, it helps prevent injuries due to falls in the long run.
Reduces Back Pain
Back pain can be quite stressful and unpleasant. It can impact your entire life, and you may end up struggling to sit, walk, or lie down, let alone perform physically demanding tasks.
Key Positions of Dharma Yoga
Dharma yoga is based on the six positions. They are the variations of the same asanas practiced in every Dharma class. These poses offer plenty of benefits, such as increased energy, improved concentration, and thought strength. Some are inverted poses that align the back and focus attention, while others improve blood flow and internal organ function.
Padma Sana (lotus)
In this pose, you need to stretch out while sitting. The position is designed to increase alignment and is greatly beneficial for meditating and concentrating. It tones the lower back, abdomen, lower back, and abdominal organs while reducing leg stiffness. The pose has a relaxing effect because your back is properly aligned, which promotes your focus. Padma Sana is ideal for Dharma, Pranayama, and Dhyana practice.
In this pose, you need to stretch the back forward, where your energy channels are. Paschimottanasana requires you to lengthen the entire back of your body. With this pose, you can tone the kidneys and abdominal organs, improve digestion, and rejuvenate the spine. It encourages the mind to rest, improving your mental health. By improving the flow of oxygenated blood and stretching the pelvis, the pose regulates sexual function and increases energy levels.
Experts consider this yoga pose the king of all asanas. It improves confidence, serenity, and mental and physical balance while boosting blood circulation in your body. Sirshasana helps nourish the pineal and pituitary glands. It is effective for enhancing physical strength and mental abilities. This pose can help with different issues like insomnia, memory loss, colds, and constipation.
For this pose, lie on the ground with your face down and pull your head back to stretch out your torso like a cobra. While trying this pose, you’ll feel it guide every bend backward. It relieves back pain and opens the thorax. It boosts the health of internal organs and kidneys, promoting sleep.
It requires spiral rotation of the spine. This pose is the mother position that guides all spine relaxing techniques. Also, Ardha Matsyendrasana is a beneficial massage for the liver, spleen, abdominal organs, and other internal organs like the colon. With this pose, you can rotate each vertebra in your body. You can also use this pose to reduce the size of the abdomen.
For this pose, start by lying down on your back. Sarvangasana also called the mother of yoga positions can help keep the body young. It greatly benefits your parathyroid and thyroid glands, thereby ensuring a healthy endocrine system. People practice this yoga technique to overcome issues like constipation, colds, menstrual cycle disorder, asthma, and bronchitis. An added benefit of practicing this pose is that it promotes a sense of calmness.
Things You Need to Know about Dharma Yoga
Before you begin practicing dharma yoga, it’s important to learn a few important things. Here, we’ve mentioned some aspects of dharma yoga to better understand the technique.
It Combines Many Schools of Yoga
Dharma yoga is a combination of different yoga forms. Its roots can be traced back to the nine forms of yoga, including Karma (kindness), Raja (self-discipline), and Hatha (force or will). Note that Dharma yoga is a physical practice. This yoga practice includes mediation, breathing exercises, and other familiar aspects, making it an experience that involves the entire body. Not only this, but Dharma yoga is a lifestyle with the ultimate goal of knowing the true self and achieving self-realization.
It focuses on Having a Clear Mind and Good Health
Balancing one’s psychological health is not an easy task. Nevertheless, once you reach that state of balance, it promotes better physical health, spiritual awakening, and a clear mind. Not only do these aspects benefit your yoga sessions, but they also improve the way you live life. This is what yoga does- it seamlessly connects all areas of your daily life.
It is based on Love
Dharma yoga practices are based on the idea of “Ahimsa,” which is a Sanskrit word. The meaning of Ahimsa is love or non-violence. It motivates you to love all living beings and respect them for their contribution to the world.
It doesn’t have any Particular Way
There is no particular method to perform Dharma yoga. Yoga experts encourage taking one’s own unique path. After all, the ultimate goal of Dharma yoga is to maintain a sense of physical, mental, and spiritual balance through self-awareness.
It Helps You Meditate
Incorporating Dharma yoga into your meditation routine makes for an effective combination. As you practice different techniques of dharma yoga, you learn to gain better control of your body. With this, you slowly get a better grip on emotions, inducing a sense of calmness. With time, you will be able to develop introspection, kindness, wisdom, and self-discipline.
Why do You need to Practice Dharma Yoga?
Dharma yoga includes the following aspects to offer a complete way of life.
- Cardio fitness
- Yoga poses
- Breathing exercises
- Flowing movement
- Emotionally restorative yoga
- Beginner Yoga
- Whole life approach
- Breath synchronized movement
What is a Dharma Yoga Class Like?
If you enroll in a Dharma Yoga class, you will try yoga covering all 8 limbs of yoga. A standard Dharma yoga class will first introduce a centering practice. After that, you will move to the vinyasa movement style, including inversions and standing yoga poses.
Your Dharma class might end with a meditation practice and powerful savasana, which is followed by chanting or final centering practice to reintegrate after the session. Based on the yoga expert guiding you, they may implement a few changes based on your needs.
Is Dharma Yoga Similar to Ashtanga?
Dharma yoga and Ashtanga yoga are interrelated but not the same. Since Dharma yoga stems from classical yoga techniques, it includes elements of the eight limbs of yoga. This offers an integrative and holistic approach that has the potential to transform the mind, soul, and body. Dharma yoga has roots in different branches of classical yoga practices, but it emphasizes raja and hatha yoga.
Do You Sweat During Dharma Yoga?
If you want to build strength and achieve physical fitness, dharma yoga is among the more effective types. Since it acts as physical exercise, you will sweat more than people do in asana yoga. However, dharma yoga’s benefits are not only physical. It stimulates the mind and induces a sense of peace. Regularly practicing dharma yoga can greatly improve your sense of wellbeing.
Dharma yoga is often misunderstood as not offering the same level of benefits as other yoga techniques. It’s why many people lean towards other forms of yoga. However, learning the benefits and important aspects of Dharma yoga can give you a better understanding of what the practice has to offer.
This article defines the meaning of dharma yoga, how it benefits you, and the things you need to learn to practice it.