Yoga originated in India centuries ago and the west now understand it’s popularity. It is a derivative of the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’” which means “union.” and aims to unite the “soul” and the “spirit” through diverse physical postures and breathing exercises.
There are several types of yoga that can be practiced by anyone. Here are a few of them:
- Hatha Yoga: It refers to many styles of physical based yoga. Great for beginners since it’s slower in pace.
- Karma Yoga: A form of prayer in Hinduism, a yoga of action leading to spiritual liberation.
- Vinyasa Yoga: Type of yoga that links movement and breath to attain balance of mind and body. It aligns poses with the breath to achieve a continuous flow.
- Ashtanga or Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: A dynamic, flowing style that connects the movement of the body with the breath, stressing daily practice of six series of movements.
- Mantra or Japa Yoga: Uses mantras to awaken the self and deepen meditation in a physical yoga practice by repeating mantras or sounds.
- Prenatal Yoga: Practice designed for pregnant women. It mixes stretching, controlled breathing, strength, and mental focus. it can help alleviate nausea, headaches and lower back pain.
- Lyengar Yoga: Type of Hatha yoga developed by B.K.S. Lyengar that emphasizes precise physical alignment throughout postures.
- Vinyasa Yoga: Means “to place in a special way” and is the most athletic yoga style. Vinyasa was adapted from Ashtanga yoga and aims to coordinated breath and movement to flow from one pose to another.
- Power Yoga: Uses Vinyasa flows and is an active and athletic, emphasizing endurance and strength.
- Hot Yoga: Yoga practiced in heated rooms with the temperature usually between 85 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit and elevated humidity. It’s purpose is to encourage sweating in order to detoxify the body, improve flexibility, increase circulation and stamina, and burn calories. Some styles of hot yoga are:
- Bikram yoga (the original hot yoga, following 26 poses in a 90-minute classes, at 40 percent humidity and between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Moksha or Modo Yoga (similar poses and room conditions but emphasizing environmental consciousness).
- Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga (combines Lyengar, Ashtanga, and Bikram yoga at about 90 degree temperature).
- Hot Power yoga (Power yoga at 85 and 100 degree temperatures).
- Hot Yin yoga (Hatha-based yoga with fewer poses held for longer periods (3-5 minutes) in order to release deeper fascia.
BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga has numerous benefits. It helps reduce cortisol levels, muscle tension and stress. Simultaneously, yoga energizes the body and the mind, improves muscle strength, flexibility and physical function, and promotes a mind-body connection.
Yoga also helps improve various medical conditions. It can help:
- Relieve allergy and asthma symptoms
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Enhance mental/emotional state
- Enrich sleep quality and modulate the sleep cycle
- Decrease back pain
- Increase functionality in people with neck pain
- Improve glucose, lipid and insulin levels on girls with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Increase awareness and concentration
- Improve balance, stability, and posture
- Reduce distress, anxiety and depression greatly, and fatigue moderately, as well as increase quality of life, emotional function and social function (moderately) in some cancer patients
You can take yoga classes at a gym or yoga center. Or you can practice from the comfort of your home. The following yoga series are great:
It’s a good idea to try different kinds of yoga to see which one suits your needs and your personality. Give it a try… It’s never too late!
- Although considered low impact and safe, It is recommendable to consult a health professional before embarking on yoga or other exercise routine.
- Pregnant women and those with glaucoma, high blood pressure, and sciatica should modify yoga exercises.
To a Fitter Healthier You,
The Fitness Wellness Mentor