Developed in India by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India, yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for over 5000 years. Practicing yoga postures is a great way to get yourself in shape both for your body, mind and spirit. Yoga will increase your flexibility while improving your muscle strength and tone. Yoga also improves energy and vitality and maintains a balanced metabolism.
Did you know that your yoga practice can also help you manage many health conditions and diseases such as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes and headaches. Yoga creates a sense of well being and calm, and stimulates your immune system which reduces stress and tension.
Not only are you improving muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina, but you are also boosting your self esteem and improving your concentration and creativity. You may find yourself happier, less stressed and feeling a greater sense of balance.
There are many different styles of yoga and even though they are based on the same fundamental poses, each style of yoga has a different focus.
Hatha - Slow paced, gentle and focuses on breathing and meditation. Great for beginners who want to learn the basics of yoga.
Ashtanga - Considered a power yoga, with fast paced and intense lunges and push-ups. Great for fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina and improve ones spiritual self.
Vinyasa - Similar to Hatha with basic poses and synchronized breath movements. Emphasizing the 12 poses of the Sun Salutations with each pose being matched to breathe. Good for both new and advanced yogis seeking to strengthen their bodies.
Iyengar - Focuses on body alignment using different props like straps, blocks, blankets to strengthen the body. Standing poses are often held for longer periods of time. Great for those that want to learn the proper alignment in each pose and those with balance issues.
Hot Yoga - Practised in a room heated between 95 – 100 degrees. Great for loosening tight muscles and sweating out toxins. Helps speed up recovery from injuries and enhances your flexibility. Great for beginners and advanced yogis and those with physical injuries.
Of course there are many other types of yoga from Kundalini to restorative yoga, and they all can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance, but it’s important for you to connect with which type of yoga is right for you. Understanding the different teaching methods and practices will help you choose the right yoga experience for you and will make your practice more rewarding and fulfilling.
Beyond the health and fitness benefits, yoga improves your mental health. Reducing stress, improving relaxation, and leaving you with a sense of peace. Yoga is designed to strengthen your body, but it is a meditative exersise that creates a healthy balanced body and peaceful state of mind.
The holistic effects of yoga is attained when you become not only physically stronger and more flexible but also mentally stronger and more flexible. If the practice of yoga helps you to find peace, heal your body and create a better sense of wellbeing, it’s only logical that you will become more accepting of your spiritual nature. It is this realization that will give your practice more meaning, but also embodies your thoughts, actions and purpose, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
There is no age discrimination in yoga. Yoga has been proven to reduce pain levels among seniors with arthritis and teaches kids to be active, relive stress and to think positively. The benefits of yoga are endless.