Yoga – What is it?
Yoga is an ancient practice involving poses (asanas), deep breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana). The word Yoga originated from the Sanskrit word “yuj," which means “to unite,” or “to join.” It is believed to be originated in India as a spiritual practice. But nowadays, it is commonly practiced all-over the world to achieve physical and mental well-being. It is considered a way of unifying the mind, body, and spirit. People who engage in it regularly tend to be more relaxed, calm, and flexible.
Breathing is a particularly key component of this thousand-year-old Indian tradition. This ancient practice is an important part of learning to keep your breaths even while moving between different poses. Keeping your focus on your breathing also provides a means to let go of the pent-up tension and be more at ease.
What are the benefits?
While it is primarily practiced because of its stress relieving factor, the benefits of Yoga are numerous. It has been proven effective in helping people combat different chronic medical illnesses and manage their symptoms effectively. These benefits are not limited to mental and spiritual well-being, but they can also make you physically strong, flexible, and fit.
It can provide you with a wide range of mental, physical, and spiritual benefits, including:
Decreases stress and anxiety
Improves muscle strength and tone
Boosts immune system
Improves blood circulation
Activates endocrine system
Improves balance and coordination
Helps with weight loss
Enhances energy and vitality
Helps treat addictions
Keeps the metabolism balanced
Supports heart health
Makes posture better
Promotes healthy habits
Relieves chronic pain conditions
Helps tension headaches
Helps quit smoking
Helps to lowers blood pressure
Helps you to manage chronic health conditions
Enhances overall quality of life
Improves athletic performance
Protects from injuries
Relieves arthritic symptoms
Helps you engage with your community better
Helps make bones stronger
Helps to prevent digestion issues
Some of these benefits are associated with only certain types. For example, hot yoga can help you get rid of harmful toxins through perspiration and make your muscle more extensible. On the other hand, Corporate Yoga can help you effectively cope with your work stress.
Types of Yoga – what type is best for me?
Modern-day yoga has added many innovations to the original practice that originated in 2700 BC. Today, it is focused on the physical practice of assuming specific postures while focusing on breathing. Most of these practices involve transitioning from one position to another in a predetermined sequence. Choosing the right type can be an overwhelming decision as tens of different types of practices exist nowadays that varies in the level of difficulty and the benefits they carry.
Although listing all name might not be possible, the following are the few types that are commonly practiced.
This is a demanding practice involving sequential movements that are linked with breathing. It is a dynamic form of exercise that requires athletic strength to perform. Although it is focused on physical exertion, it can also bring mental clarity and promotes inner peace.
It is a tool of ancient wisdom aimed at bringing emotional and physical healing and is a viable choice of yoga for beginners. Ayurveda is a diverse type of practice that involves different poses, breathing techniques, mantras, meditation, chanting, and cleansing techniques to enhance physical and mental well-being. Apart from these practices, it also utilizes oil massages and herbal prescriptions.
It is a type of hot yoga that is performed in a heated room. The heat helps relax muscles, and the profuse sweating provides an excellent way of detoxifying your body. It is a physically demanding practice that consists of a series of 26 poses and begins and ends with deep breathing exercises.
It aims to enhance productivity and happiness levels of corporate workers by helping them manage their stress effectively and find inner calm amid the stressful corporate field. It promotes relaxation, fitness, and self-confidence and makes employees feel more energetic and empowered. You can learn it in the form of workshops, seminars, classes, or retreats.
Hatha is an umbrella term used for teaching different poses. It helps build strength and flexibility by changing your postures slowly while keeping your mind free of useless thoughts. Initially focused on only physical posture, this type now consists of a few poses that are linked with deep breaths.
This practice is another desirable choice of yoga for beginners. It helps build strength, flexibility, and endurance with the help of specific poses and breathing techniques. The instructors utilize props and supports to help an individual reach their full potential and extension by providing smooth transitions from one pose to the other.
This is used to awaken the body’s energy and enhance consciousness. Consisting of diverse postures, breathing, chanting mantras, and meditation, this technique is a way of releasing pent-up energy in our bodies. It is a powerful type, and you should get the help of an experienced guide to start practicing it.
This practice focuses on gentle stretching along with gentle poses and deep breathing. Practicing it during pregnancy can help women be more flexible, stay fit, improve their muscle strength, and help them better manage their stress. It is also believed to relieve pregnancy-related discomforts like morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, and low back pain.
Otherwise known as “Viniyoga2, this is another suitable yoga for beginners. The focus is placed on breathing while you assume different positions. These positions gently places a stretch on the spine according to the tolerance level of each individual. It involves more flexible approach and does not strictly follow a sequence.
This is a practice that brings perfect harmony between mind and body by combining individual consciousness with universal consciousness. It is a parent term that has diverse schools of thought based on different principles, but the main goal behind this practice is to be free from all suffering. It is comprised of certain postures, deep breathing techniques, concentration, and sometimes chanting and singing.
Looking at the diversity of practices and the far-reaching benefits they carry, yoga is not considered a mere practice. You can think of it as a way of life. Several studies have proven the health and wellness benefits of different practices. It has helped millions of people for thousands of years to be free from their stress and worries and be more connected with nature.
It is a way of living your life to the fullest while enjoying its every moment. Performing it regularly and training your breathing while focusing on letting go of your day-to-day stresses can be an excellent way of freeing your mind. In addition, it can also bring positive changes within the human body that keep diseases at the bay.
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