Fitness – Introduction to the Art of Yoga

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“Fitness is not being better than anyone else, It’s about being better than you used to be”

We are going to start with one of my favorite mind, body, spirit workouts, Yoga.

Yoga started in India 5,000 years ago and comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning “to unite or integrate”. It started as a way to link the body to the mind, harmonizing the two through poses, breathing exercises and meditation. Linking the mind and body has multiple benefits, mainly helping reduce stress and increase relaxation.

Anywhere from 21 million to 24 million Americans do some form of yoga, according to recent studies from the National Institutes of Health and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. That’s a lot of sun salutations and downward dogs. If you”re not accustomed to hearing those terms, I will attempt to tell you why people are taking out their mats and giving the art of yoga a try.

What Kind Of Equipment Do You Need?

Yoga is pretty simple: barefoot is best and comfortable, stretchy clothing is best but not necessary. The main investment when practicing yoga is the mat. If you’re going to start practicing at a yoga studio, call and see if they have mats for class use. If not, there are a few things to consider before buying.

Length: If you are particularly tall or just prefer more surface space, check a mats measurements before buying.

Thickness: Depending on your body’s sensitivity or previous injuries, a thicker mat works best for extra cushion and support.

Traction: Transitioning from pose to pose is difficult on a slippery mat. Check for grip and absorption.

Odor: Rubber mats will have an odor, while PVC mats will not. PVC is usually a little more expensive but worth it for a zero stink factor.

The Reasons Yoga Is Good For You

According to a Harvard Medical School study, the body has a “relaxation response”….. a state of deep rest that is the physiologic opposite of the flight or fight response – to stress  and yoga is a great way to activate it. During the study students who practiced yoga for a minimum of 15 minutes a day for eight weeks showed a biochemical change in their brains that produced a sense of happiness and serenity. In the Harvard School study, those who practiced yoga for eight weeks also had better quality of sleep.

Benefits of Yoga

  1. Strengthens body, posture and body alignment.
  2. Boosts Energy
  3. Improves respiration and cardio health
  4. Improves health function
  5. Balances the endocrine system and hormonal health
  6. Anxiety relief
  7. Drains your lymph nodes and boosts immunity
  8. Increases blood flow
  9. Improves self awareness

Yoga is not just moving from pose to pose but also allowing your mind to stretch, flow and concentrate and balance physical and mental flexibility.

What kind Of Yoga Is Right For You…

  1. Hatha Yoga: Ideal for beginners, this type of yoga helps develop balance, flexibility and . It is considered a relaxing and restorative class.
  2. Restorative Yoga: This version of yoga is said to be more rejuvenating than a nap, is typically done at night. Sometimes called “candlelight yoga”
  3. Vinyasa Yoga: classes are fairly fast paced and have a fluid style to them. All poses transition easily together and no two classes are usually the same.
  4. Bikram: Classes are in an artificially heated room typically at 105 degrees. Bikram takes you through a sequence of 26 poses and two breathing exercises for a 90 minute class. A hard workout, tone and lose weight.
  5. Ashtanga Yoga: More rigorous than many styles of yoga, this practice is physically demanding making it perfect for strength and endurance building.
  6. Iyengar Yoga: This type of yoga is great for individuals with chronic pain. It focuses on proper alignment, balance and strength.

I hope this gives you an insight to The Art Of Yoga. I look forward to your feedback, experiences, comments and questions.

Have A Wonderful Day

Namaste