Yoga is an ancient practice established in Indian culture and was intended to be spiritual and has now become a popular way to promote physical and mental well-being.
Yoga provides a retreat for people and their busy chaotic lives and helps to improve health and happiness, I too include yoga in my wellness plan toward a happy, healthy life.
Today’s yoga practiced in North America focuses on the practice of physical postures while incorporating breathing techniques and meditation with the focus on connecting the body, mind and spirit.
The term yoga means “to yoke” or “unite”.
FOUR COMMON TYPES OF YOGA
There are four common types of yoga most practiced throughout North America
1) Hatha Yoga – the practice of physical posture and breathing. This form of yoga is recommended for beginners. Whether doing yoga online or attending a class this practice of yoga is done at a slow pace focusing on posture and breathing which helps bring peace to the mind and body
2) Kundalini Yoga – focuses on moves through a series of targeted exercises that are intended to bring the body, mind and soul together through sounds, mantra (repetitive sounds), healing energy and meditation to release trauma from the energetic body. This form of yoga is intended to be highly spiritual
3) Ashtanga Yoga – known as a modern day form of classical Indian yoga is intended for people who like a challenge and a highly structured practice. This form of yoga is energetic focusing on muscle and physical strength through flowing movements
This is my practice of choice and the bonus is that it’s tailored to your individual pace. Give it a try, I highly recommend it.
4) Hot and Bikram Yoga – bikram focuses on the same poses and two breathing exercises in the same sequence for 90 minutes while hot yoga can be comprised of many different poses in a hot yoga room generally heated from 80 – 100 degrees
These forms of yoga are targeted to build strength and muscle with each class. Over time, people can experience weight loss, calorie burning and building muscle.
I generally prefer hatha and ashtanga yoga practices however Kundalini, hot and Bikram I mentioned above can be just as equally beneficial to your overall health and wellness, it really just depends on individual preference. If you have never tried yoga, I strongly encourage you to pull out a mat, put on some comfy clothes, grab some water and give it a try. Take my word for it, you’ll be hooked.
THE BENEFITS OF YOGA – EXPOSED
- Relieves anxiety; studies show that practicing yoga can lead to a decrease in anxiety symptoms, researchers attribute it to being present in the moment and finding a sense of peace
- Decreases stress; decreases the secretion of cortisol (the primary stress hormone)
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate; it has also been associated with lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels which contributes to a better immune system function
- May Reduce Inflammation; research shows that yoga may reduce inflammatory markers in the body that help to prevent pro-inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer
- Improves quality of life; studies have shown that yoga helps you live longer and a better life, maintains brain function and teaches us to be in the moment and focus
- Promotes sleep quality; yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness
- Promotes health eating habits; encourages mindfulness and which can be used to promote healthy eating
- Increase in strength; yoga causes increase in strength, endurance and flexibility
THE POWER OF YOGA POSES
There is said to be over 300 yoga poses in the physical yoga practice, I’m going to focus on the most common poses that have the most impact on my individual overall well-being.
While yoga can be a very relaxing and rewarding form of exercise you should be mindful that injuries can occur and that form and patience are crucial. Be sure to ease into the poses slowly remembering to breathe.
You may not be able to fully complete the exercises but stick with it and your skill and flexibility will increase over time.
Note: You should always consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime
Calms the brain and helps to relieve mild depression and stress
This resting pose centers, calms and soothes the brain. It’s said to be a very therapeutic posture for relieving stress.
Reduces blood pressure, stress and anxiety and can calm the mind
Said to reduce anxiety and stress by calming your mind and finding your center
YOGA FOR EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
Yoga is an excellent way to calm the body, mind and soul and while there are many variations each person will find the one that best suits their emotional and body needs.
The physical and emotional benefits of practicing yoga will assist anyone in achieving their wellness goals. This post focuses on the emotional benefits of yoga but there are just as many if not more physical benefits to incorporating yoga into your lifestyle.
If you’ve never tried yoga, there’s no better time to try something new! I’d love to hear about your experience.
And if you are practicing yoga, keep at it as I’m sure you feel the benefits just as I do and I’d be interested in hearing what yoga poses best helps you deal with stress and anxiety.