If you’re unfamiliar with yoga, you probably view it as one of two things: exercise or meditation. Yet Yoga is actually considered a comprehensive philosophy on life, originating from India over 5,000 years ago. Yoga, which means to ‘unite’, refers to the fusion of mind, body and spirit through meditation, physical postures and breathing. For those who follow its practices, it has been proven to provide a wealth of benefits to both body and mind.
Almost anyone can enjoy the physical advantages of taking up yoga. Easily adapted to every ability level, Yoga is completely non-competitive and relaxed. When using yoga as form of exercise, the focus is placed on the quality, not quantity, of movement. Known for its tranquillity, Yoga will not increase overall levels of fitness but is a brilliant way to increase physical flexibility and strength that can benefit your body when conducting more strenuous forms of sporting activity.
There are many forms of yoga to choose from, but most Yoga classes work with the Hatha Yoga techniques. Yoga poses can vary from lying relaxed on the floor to stretching your body to its physical limits but Hatha Yoga is known for the most accessible Yoga positions and it’s steady pace – a real stress reliever. Regular practice of this form of Yoga has been proven to reduce anxiety whilst enhancing overall mood and improving balance, meaning you will find daily physical endeavours easier.
Many professional athletes use yoga in their workout programs when they wish to pay particular attention to muscular flexibility, helping reduce the risk of injury whilst conducting other sports. The more you practice yoga, the more your flexibility and strength will build.
For those who wish to use yoga to get their heart pumping and improve physical stamina, a more vigorous style of yoga can be performed – called Ashtanga Yoga. Much like music, Yoga is available in many different styles – and to really enjoy the practice you need to find a style that resonates with you. Hatha is ideal for those who wish to unwind, whilst Ashtanga is great for those who need energising.
When used properly, Yoga techniques can also relax the nervous system and systematically stretch the body – helping ease muscular tensions and pain.
Yoga also works to increase circulation, eliminate toxins from the body and enhance the digestive system. The risks of chronic diseases and health conditions are also reduced through frequent Yoga participation; helping to reduce the likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, insomnia, muscular pains and depression.
As you become more experienced in Yoga, you’ll find you begin to pay more attention to your body in day-to-day life. Yoga will help you become aware of bad postural habits that can lead to many unnecessary physical discomforts.