Yoga involves moving your body into different poses, while stretching, breathing and relaxing your mind. It represents a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that originally appeared in ancient India.
What is the main purpose of yoga?
The main purpose of yoga is to heal and calm both your body and mind. Originally started as a form of spiritual development among the Hindu community, yoga is now something very popular around the world for a number of different reasons.
Whether you are looking to improve your health, clear your mind, lose weight or just tone up your body muscles – yoga is a great choice for you.
It is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation.
What are the benefits of yoga?
- Yoga hugely increases your flexibility. While some of the poses will be difficult at first, after some time of practicing them, you will find your body fall into the positions with ease.
- You get such an energy boost from this workout. This is why so many people choose to do it in the morning, it feels so invigorating.
- Increased muscle tone is guaranteed, which will help you have that svelte appearance that you have always wanted.
- The exercise both boosts your metabolism and also burns calories, which is ideal for slow but steady weight loss. While the movements themselves are usually not fast, it is surprising how much you can sweat during your classes and how many calories a yoga workout is actually capable of burning.
- Yoga helps increase your athletic performance and also the stretches help to prevent you from injuries. Furthermore, if you do any other sports or activities, yoga is ideal for incorporating into your life. Maybe when you are enjoying down time or not heavily training.
- It helps to improve your health overall. Even 20 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your overall well-being.
Who is yoga ideal for?
Basically, yoga is good for any one, despite of their age, gender or physical abilities. Whether you’ve been exercising your entire life or you are an absolute beginner.
Moreover, there are various types of yoga, and you can always find what works best for you. So, just dive in, and you will be amazed how your strength and endurance improves in a short period of time.
Types of Yoga
Hatha is perfect for beginners. The movements are usually slow, and you hold each pose for a few breaths. It is kind of a gentler type of yoga, which teaches you the basics and basic postures.
Vinyasa works best for HIIT fans. It is very dynamic and looks a lot like a dance. You usually do not hold poses for a long time and move faster. Athletes and runners prefer this active type of yoga with the continuous movement.
Bikram consists of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises in a heated room (105’F and 40%Humidity). This type of yoga is perfect for people who like to do the same routine every time, because the set of poses never changes and you always know what pose is next.
Hot yoga is a lot like Bikram and practiced in a heated room as well. However, the poses sequence varies, unlike Bikram that has the same routine. Different teachers use different poses. It is best for people who like to sweat while working out.
Restorative yoga is good for everyone. It is slow, you don’t feel like you are working out during these classes. It is more of a deep relaxation. The whole idea of this type of practice is not to do anything and just relax. It is perfect for people who suffer from stress, insomnia, and problems with nervous system.
Kundalini is a spiritual practice. It is for people who are looking for meditation and breathing techniques rather than a work out. It involves, deep breathing, singing and meditating in various poses.
Yin yoga is also slow and meditative. It targets your connective tissues and also improves elasticity. The poses are usually held for a longer time, maybe several minutes. It is best for people who need to stretch and calm their minds at the same time.
Iyengar is perfect for detail-oriented personalities. It is very detail-oriented, and you receive a lot of information about the poses and their meaning as well. However, if you are a beginner at Iyengar, you should definitely start with level one.
Ashtanga has strict rules, guidelines, and certain routine that you have to follow. Ideal for personalities who like to have everything in correct order. It consist of 6 series of sequenced poses. You have to do the same poses in the same order every time.
Can you start yoga online?
If you are self-conscious about joining a workout class, don’t worry – you can get started from the comfort of your own home. There are so many videos on internet, for beginners and even for those who are more knowledgeable in this practice.
Many of these videos are free, on websites like YouTube. All you need is a mat or a soft flat surface and you are ready to go.
Yoga for anxiety and stress
Everybody has those stress days sometimes. And if stress and anxiety are getting the best of you, give yoga a try.
In fact, Harvard Mental Health Letter stated that recent studies of relationship between yoga and depression showed that yoga can effect positively on mind and body. The study suggests that yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It can also be a great relaxing exercise to help with depression and improve energy.
By transferring focus and attention to the body and breath, yoga helps to manage anxiety and release physical and emotional tension.
Watch the following video to learn breathing techniques and also spinal work that will assist you in moments of stress. Enjoy! 🙂