Looking for ways to get fit for life? Why not give yoga a try?
Yoga is a series of stretches and poses that you do with breathing techniques, and offers the powerful benefits of exercise. Yoga is gentle, so that almost anyone can do it, regardless of their age or fitness level.
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline from India. It was developed as a practice to unite the mind and body. There are many branches of yoga and all styles can help balance your body, mind, and spirit, through various ways.
Benefits of Yoga:
Yoga can help you feel great and function better in your daily life. Yoga can make you stronger and more flexible. You'll also feel more focused, alert and energetic. Yoga can also help improve these conditions:
- Poor blood circulation
- High blood pressure
- Limited mobility
- Lower back pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Tension or stress
Yoga is good for people who haven't been active in a while and people who have certain health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. Yoga techniques can be adapted to fit your needs. But yoga is also great if you're already fit and want a challenging workout. As you become more strong and flexible with yoga, it's easier to do other kinds of exercise like dancing, walking, or swimming.
Yoga Can Help You:
- Reduce your risk for injury. Each yoga pose targets specific muscles. This helps you increase your flexibility and reduce your risk for injury.
- Reduce stress. Yoga can help soothe the mind and lower stress levels. It does this by focusing the mind on the moment and the movement
- Increase your concentration. A main part of yoga is rhythmic, focused breathing. This can help you focus.
- Understand the mind and body connection. Yoga requires you to focus all your energy on each movement or pose exactly. This can help you feel the mind and body work together.
- Gain strength and stamina. More vigorous styles of yoga promote strength and stamina.
- Improve balance and stability. Balancing poses require you to use your core muscles. This can help you improve your overall stability.
- Improve posture. Yoga poses strengthen and open tight areas of the body like the shoulders and muscles of the upper back. This can help you keep good posture.
- Develop body awareness. Yoga requires you to contract or relax specific muscles as you stretch into each pose. This can help you become more aware of your body’s strengths and weaknesses.
Some yoga styles can be intense, vigorous, relaxing or meditative. No matter which type you choose, yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your body, focus your mind, and relax your spirit.
Common Types of Yoga:
- ASHTANGA - Best for: Type-A folks. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll like Ashtanga’s routine and strict guidelines.
- BIKRAM - Best for: Amateurs. Those who are newer to yoga might like Bikram because of its predictable sequence.
- HATHA - Best for: Beginners. Because of its slower pace, hatha is a great class if you’re just starting your yoga practice.
- HOT YOGA - Best for: Hardcore sweat lovers. If you love a tough workout that will leave you drenched, sign up for a beginner-friendly heated class.
- IYENGAR - Best for: Detail-oriented yogis. If you like to geek out about anatomy, movement and form, you’ll love Iyengar — teachers share a wealth of information during class. Iyengar can also be practiced at any age and is great for those with most injuries.
- RESTORATIVE - Best for: Everyone. It’s a good yoga practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, who has experienced insomnia or who struggles with anxiety. It’s also great for athletes on recovery days.
- VINYASA - Best for: HIIT lovers. Intense exercisers might enjoy Vinyasa because of its faster pace. Runners and endurance athletes are also drawn to Vinyasa class because of the continuous movement.
For more detailed information about the history and many different types of yoga, check out the Yoga Journal.
Holloway, Beth, RN, MEd. (2017). Why You Should Try Yoga. Retrieved from University of Rochester Medical Center: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/conten...
Ward, B. (2013, April 20). 14 Styles Of Yoga Explained Simply. Retrieved from Mind Body Green: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8622/14-styles-of-...
Yoga Journal. (2017). Types of Yoga. Retrieved from Yoga Journal: http://www.yogajournal.com/category/yoga-101/types...
Yu, C. (2015, August 14). The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There. Retrieved from Daily Burn : http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/yoga-for-beginne...