Yoga is an ancient Indian practice designed to promote relaxation, health and flexibility. By using a series of poses and breathing techniques, yoga also works on the practitioner’s balance, strength and overall health. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, diminish back pain and improve cardiovascular health.
Depending on the type of yoga you do, yoga can be an aerobic, anaerobic or stretching exercise or all three. Essentially, yoga tones and stretches all your joints and muscles. Not only does this unique form of exercise deliver physical benefits, it also reduces stress while promoting relaxation. When it comes to aging well, yoga is one of the best activities you can do.
Yoga is one of the most famous and globally widespread of India’s traditions. It has existed as a system of exercise, breathing, and meditation for over 5,000 years.
The word “Yoga” means “to join or yoke together” – bringing the body and mind together into a harmonious experience. The exercises are designed to apply gentle pressure to the glandular system thereby toning the glands and improving total health. The breathing techniques are based on the principle that the “breath” is the source of life in the body. Meditation calms the mind and body and prepares one to handle stress.
Yoga has increased in popularity in recent years, with an estimated 6 million Americans currently engaging in regular yoga workouts. Part of yoga’s popularity is simply that it provides so many health benefits. Yoga assists a person in becoming more aware of their body: their posture, their alignment and the way they move. Yoga helps people become more relaxed and centered, less prone to stress, more energetic, happier, healthier, and more peaceful.
Most yoga classes consist of performing the asanas (yoga poses) either individually or linked in flows (known as vinyasana). At the end of each yoga class there is a short period of meditation or relaxation in shavasana (the corpse pose) where participants lie on their back in a rest and meditation.
There are several forms of yoga. Generally different forms of yoga produce different benefits. For example, Iyengar yoga is for correct bodily alignment, and often utilizes props (including blocks, straps, or cushions).
Bikram yoga is also known as hot yoga, as it’s performed in a heated room. It generally consists of a set of 26 poses done in a particular order. These are both forms of Hatha yoga and are commonly practiced in the US, as they focus on the use of strengthening and breathing exercises.
What can yoga do for you? Firstly, it is extremely beneficial in the promotion of excellent flexibility, and is also excellent for circulation and development of muscle strength. However, yoga’s benefits extend beyond the physical, by promoting relaxation and calm. One of the basic tenets of yoga is that it helps to balance all areas of a person’s life by improving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.