The word Ishta comes from the Sandskrit language and refers to the individual or something that has been personalized. This is an appropriate name for the Ishta form of yoga because it encourages each student to practice a daily yoga routine which meets his or her own needs.
ISHTA, standing for Integrated Science of Hatha Tantra and Ayurveda, is a form of yoga that only dates back to the 1960’s. The founders of Ishta yoga, Kavi Yogi Mani Finger and his son, Yogiraj Alan Finger, wanted to create a system which integrates all forms of yoga and aids practitioners in discovering the most advantageous postures, breathing techniques, and mantras to rise to their greatest potential.
Ishta Yoga movements have the same focus as most other forms of yoga. Like hatha yoga, their purpose is to make the student stronger and more flexible, by realigning the body. Ishta yoga is related to Tantra in that the practitioners desire to reach their highest state of being through meditation and mantras. Another area key to Ishta yoga is the ayurvedic belief that the inner and outer selves must be in harmony for good health and happiness to occur.
Teachers usually begin the class with some warm-up stretches and basic asanas, or poses, that limber up the muscles and joints. At some time during the course of their studies, students will learn about and may incorporate many of the following into their individual yoga routine, depending on their preferences: asanas, pranayama, or specialized breathing, elements of relaxation for the body and mind, and calming meditation to give balance and inner peace. Each position in Ishta yoga can be altered to suit the individual needs of the students.
Ishta yoga is an excellent form for all level of students. It is a particularly good fit for those who have limitations because of health issues or injuries of some type. Students like the flexibility that Ishta yoga gives them and find that the deep breathing is especially beneficial for cleansing and energizing the body.