An ancient practice for a healthy mind, body, and spirit
Yoga has been practiced in India for thousands of years and it is spreading all over the world due to its benefits on various bodily structures and functions. Yoga is a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation. There are over 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense; others are gentle and relaxing. Yoga gives you strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness.
Individuals with certain health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease can take up yoga. Yoga could prove highly beneficial for Individuals suffering from arthritis; in case of women who are on their family way, yoga can help keep you relaxed, strong, and in shape. However, it is advised that you check with your doctor and take up the form of yoga that is right for you.
What Yoga can do to your Body?
Aerobic exercises such as running or cycling raises the heart and breathing rates; for decades, these exercises have been touted by scientists as the gold standard in terms of the number of health benefits it brings. The list of benefits include improved energy, good mood, lower risk of heart disease, better sleep and thinking, and a lot more. Very recently, yoga has been identified as yet another form of exercise that provides similar benefits as provided by aerobic exercises.
In 2010, a team of researchers at the University of Maryland School of Nursing reviewed 81 studies that examined and compared the health benefits provided by yoga and the health benefits provided by aerobic exercise. Yoga was found to be highly effective at stress reduction. It may be to your surprise, researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters.
To summarize, alongside other forms of exercise that may be more familiar to most people, yoga is slowly being acknowledged at the health and fitness table.
What are the different forms of yoga?
- Hatha. The form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing
- Vinyasa. A series of poses that flow smoothly into one another
- Power. A faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle
- Ashtanga. A series of poses, combined with a special breathing technique
- Bikram. Also known as “hot yoga,” it’s a series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature
- Iyengar. A type of yoga that uses props like blocks, straps, and chairs to help you move your body into the proper alignment
What areas does Yoga Targets?
- Core: There are yoga poses to target just about every core muscle.
- Arms: With yoga, you don’t build arm strength with free weights or machines, but with the weight of your own body.
- Legs: Yoga poses work all sides of the legs, including your quadriceps, hips, and thighs.
- Glutes: Yoga squats, bridges, and warrior poses involve deep knee bends, which give you a more sculpted rear.
- Back: Moves like downward-facing dog, child’s pose, and cat/cow give your back muscles a good stretch. It’s no wonder that research finds yoga may be good for relieving a sore back.