A Basic Guide To Zen Yoga
Zen yoga is the name given to the energetic and physical practices that make up Zen Buddhism.
There are 3 principles to this form of Yoga as well as different schools within the practice.
To get the benefit of Zen yoga it is recommended that you understand what these principles are and the different schools.
The Principles Of Zen Yoga
The 3 principles of Zen yoga are alignment, energy, and mindfulness. These 3 principles cover the physical movement of the body, the energy that flows through the body and the awareness of the practitioner of the principles.
There is a great emphasis on alignment in Zen yoga because it is part of Zen Buddhism. Zen yoga was created to prepare the body for prolonged upright meditation which is part of Zen Buddhism. Practicing the poses and keeping the right posture are important parts of this principle otherwise, you could be harmed by the prolonged meditation of Zen Buddhism.
Alignment flows into energy because the position held will impact the state of mind and flow of energy through the body. In Zen Buddhism, it is believed that the energy of the body can be enhanced or depleted and that it flows in particular directions. If the position held by the practitioner is not correct the flow of energy will be interrupted and this could affect your health, mental well-being and emotional state.
The last principle of Zen yoga is mindfulness and this relates to understanding all aspects of yourself. This will be what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. The basis of this principle is that when you are aware of blocked areas in your life you will be able to confront them and this will help the flow of energy.
The Yoga Schools
There are 5 primary schools of Zen yoga and they are Zen Taiso, Oki-do yoga, Zenways, Zen yoga with Aaron Hoopes and Zen Yoga with Tatjana Mesar. The oldest is Zen Taiso and differs greatly to the modern Zen yoga that is taught today. The routines for this yoga will vary depending on the temple and the instructor, but will be practiced each morning.
Oki-do yoga was created by Masahiro Oki and is a blend of traditional Indian hatha yoga and Zen meditation. There is also a blend of martial arts, chanting, dancing and physical games. This type of yoga emphases the balance of opposites such as tension and relaxation.
Zenways is an organization created in 2007 and encourages the practice of yoga for well-being and awakening. The founder of Zenways, Julian Daizan Skinner studied at yoga schools across the USA, Japan and Europe. He combined what he learned to create the training that this organization offers.
Zen yoga with Aaron Hoopes is a style of yoga that combines traditional yoga with many Eastern health and fitness traditions. The principles of Zen are incorporated into the yoga through the emphasis on mindfulness.
Zen yoga with Tatjana Mesar is a fusion of asana flow and physiology of postures.