Yoga, which was once considered knowledge that only rishi’s and mystics has now been catching everyone’s attention. So much so, that around 140 countries celebrated international yoga day. What differentiates yoga from the other form of exercises is how it focuses on body’s natural tendency to heal itself.
Yoga is the only workout routine that has been around for more than 5000 years now. It not only helps in losing weight, but creates harmony, awareness and strength in both mind and body. There are around 100 types of yoga, some of which are intense and some are slow and relaxing.
Some of the different types of yoga are:
Hatha yoga: it is the physical practice of yoga. Hatha in Sanskrit means “force”. This form of yoga is slow and gentle and perfect for beginners. It includes basic postures, breath work and meditation.
Vinyasa yoga: it is the yoga which links the postures with the breath. The word vinyasa in Sanskrit means “connection”. Every action, every pose is associated with inhaling or exhaling of breath. It includes postures like sun salutations, back bends and balancing postures. it ends with a sava asasna (corpse pose)
Iyengar yoga: it is a yoga focused on alignment. Poses are held for much longer durations. Regular practice of this yoga will help improve strength, mobility and stability.
Bikram yoga: bikram chaudhary was the one who developed this style of yoga and hence the name. It is known for hot rooms and a 26 posture sequence. The postures were chosen in a way, so that the body gets a complete work out.
Ashtanga yoga: this form of yoga was developed by K.Pattabhi. it is popularly known as power yoga. Like in vinyasa, in this form the breath and movement are linked. The exercise goes through 4 phases and is linked with an element of progression. it is mainly for those who enjoy a structured and powerful form of yoga.
Jivamukti yoga: this form of yoga does not only include the movement but is an complete lifestyle practice developed by Sharon gannon and David life. It’s based around 5 major components namely shastra (scriptures),bhakti (devotion),ahimsa( non violence),nada (music),dhayana (meditation). It includes physical, spiritual and ethical lifestyle practices.
Kundalini yoga: below the chakaras, lies the life force KUNDALINI.it can be awakened through conscious breathing. It is the spiritual aspect of yoga and focuses more on developing the mind and awareness.
Yin yoga: it is a slow paced yoga, developed by paulie zink, a Taoist and yoga teacher. It focuses on holding the postures for a longer duration in a temperature controlled room. This causes stress on the connective tissue, which in turn makes it more flexible and strong. It is also meditative because holding the posture for long durations will require patience of the mind and not getting distracted by thoughts. It improves QI (life energy force).
Yoga means unity. Yoga means balance. Yoga makes us realize that we all are ONE.
What’s beautiful about yoga is that there is no hard and fast rule. There are so many forms that everyone can choose a form according to their own capabilities and needs. Forms like hatha and iyengar are slow and gentle, whereas bikram and power yoga are faster and challenging.
Regular practice of yoga treats ailments like high blood pressure, heart problems, obesity and chronic pains. It is a great way to tune into body’s natural rhythm.
Here is a list of few of the advantages of practicing yoga:
Makes you flexible: this is one of the most obvious health benefits of yoga. If you can’t touch your toes in the first attempt, don’t lose heart. Keep practicing and slowly you will see a noticeable difference in your flexibility. The seemingly impossible asanas will start happening, your posture will improve and there will be no sign of body aches.
Strong muscles: strong muscles not only look good, they also work in fighting against health issues like arthritis and chronic back pain. Unlike in other form of exercise, in yoga strength comes with flexibility.
Immunity booster: while doing yoga, your muscles move, become strong. All this increases the drainage of lymph’s (a liquid, rich in immune cells). This acts like an immunity booster which helps the body to work efficiently.
Makes you happy: feeling sad? Beat the blues by doing yoga-asana like back bend or king dancer. they help the body in producing more seratonin ( happy hormone) and reduces the level of cortisol ( stress hormone)
Treats infertility: in the recent times more and more people have been going for fertility treatments. The major reason for infertility is STRESS. Regular practice of yoga helps in making the body healthy and the mind relaxed. It also increases the blood flow in the body, including to the reproductive parts which increases the chances of conception.
Focus: yoga means being aware in this present moment and not getting distracted by your own thoughts. Regular practice of asanas and meditation improves co-ordination, memory and reduces reaction time.
Treats insomnia: yoga helps us tune our sense inward and get a relief from this ever stimulating world. Doing relaxing asanas and meditation practices like yoga nidra helps you unwind and sleep better.
Keeps you medication free: yoga helps you treat problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, obsessive compulsive disorders and depression. It helps in reducing the medications and at times even completely get off them. This means money saved and you don’t have to deal with medicines or their side effects.
Benefits relationships: yoga transforms you into healthy, compassionate, kind person. You start connecting with others at a soul level. With this transformation in yourself, comes a transformation in your relationships.