Yoga practice dates back to 5,000 years. The early writings on yoga were written on leaves or stones so we are not sure about it’s history.
But f you don’t like working out in the gym, or with weights or running, you should try this ancient “workout”. The practice of yoga has several benefits such as physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. On a physical level, it can build muscle strength, flexibility and balance, it can also help with weight loss. It can improve and help with back pain. It helps also with your posture and alignment, which can help prevent other types of pain. Other benefits of yoga are a lower blood pressure and cholesterol, better circulation, respiration and better immunity. Practicing yoga stimulates the lymphatic system, and helps with the release of toxins out of the body and bringing oxygenated blood to the organs.
Besides physical aspects the practice of yoga provides a way to connect with the body, therefore making people feel better about themselves and boosting their confidence. Having that mind-body connection can eventually lead to transformations in life-style. You will gain a greater sense of well-being. Due to the flow of blood to the brain, mental faculties, such as creativity, imagination and focus can also be improved.
Practicing yoga can be done anywhere. In the summer you can do it outside in the fresh air, and in the winter you can do it in the privacy of your home. All you need is yoga mat and you are all set. If you are a beginner, you should get into yoga class first, so you can get to know the technique and avoid hurting yourself. Surely, you will start with easier poses, and gradually move on up. You can choose any type of yoga you find comfortable, since there are so many different varieties.
Here are some examples:
- Hatha- basic movement and breathing combined with different poses
- Vinyasa- smooth flowing poses that combine themselves into one pose
- Power- high intensity, muscle building yoga
- Ashtanga- series of poses that require special breathing
- Bikram- “hot yoga”, 26 yoga poses that are performed in a room with high temperature
- Iyengar- requires blocks, chairs and straps to help you get into proper alignment.
Even though there are a lot of instructional books and videos on yoga, it’s well worth it to invest in some classes with a good instructor who can show you how to perform poses. There’s surely a type of yoga that suits your needs and fitness level. It’s a great choice to have a holistic approach to body and mind strengthening. Yoga is not for you if you like a fast-moving, intensive workout. Even if it isn’t your main workout, be open-minded, since there are physical and mental benefits you can gain by adding some yoga into your fitness plan.