Article by William F. Smith
Yoga is one of the most interesting activities that one can practice. It is fun and relaxing and is very challenging to beginners. Yoga is a system of physical and mental exercises that originated in India several thousand years ago. Its purpose is to help us achieve our greatest potential and to experience lasting health and happiness. Best of all, yoga is appropriate for all, regardless of age, gender, and health.You can practice it anywhere and you don’t need special equipment to do it. It’s so easy that you can spend just a few minutes in the morning and you be ready and refreshed for the day.
What really separates yoga from any other sport activities is that it connects your body, mind and soul. Unlike other exercises that mainly focus on keeping fit and building muscles, yoga takes care of not only your physical fitness, but also your mental health, as well as your spiritual well being.
There are around 12 types of yoga. Although all of the styles are based on the same physical postures (called poses), each has a particular emphasis. Four of the most popular types of yoga are Hatha, Kundalini, Bikram, and Ashtanga. These are discussed below.
Hatha is the most famous form of yoga; it’s the foundation of all yoga styles. It is a gentle practice where you move slowly and smoothly through dozens of poses (called asanas). It’s a good choice for beginners. It will likely be involve slower paced stretching with some breathing exercises and meditation. Many starter classes will incorporate this yoga style. You will learn basic poses, relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with yoga.
Kundalini is an ancient form of yoga that has only been practiced in the west relatively recently. The emphasis in this style is on the breath in conjunction with physical movement. It has a more spiritual feel than Hatha and focuses on energy balance in your body. It involves rapid movement through the poses and emphasizes breathing, chanting, and meditation.
Each Kun dalini s eries is done with a specific breath that intensifies the effects of the poses. The goal of this exercise is to release energy in the lower extremities by allowing it to move upwards. Beginners unfamiliar with yoga might find Kundalini more physically and mentally challenging than they are comfortable with. Kundalini is one of the more spiritual types of yoga that is practiced. Also, it is physically intense.
Bikram is a style that is more generally referred to as hot yoga. It is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility, and weight loss. This is the only yoga style that specializes in using a heated environment. The room is usually maintained at a temperature of 95-100 degrees. The heat and energy expelled in this vigorous yoga session will cause toxins to be released through the seat glands.
This form of yoga increases flexibility by warming the muscles and joints. Since this style involves a strenuous environment, it is not recommended to pregnant women, and people who suffer from high blood pressure and heart conditions. For people who are injured, this is used in therapy to improve the physical fitness and range of movement for injured limbs.
Ashtanga is often called power yoga. Ashtanga means 8 limbs in Sanskrit, which refers to the eight limbs of yoga. This style is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. There are six different Ashtanga series through which a student progresses at his or her own pace. Ashtanga yoga is extremely popular. It is a vigorous, athletic style of practice. It appeals to those who like a sense of order and who like to do things independently.
During a Asthanga yoga class, the participants jump from one posture to another. Therefore, this type of yoga is not ideal for beginners or individuals who are not in very good physical condition.
If you’re thinking about taking up yoga, you may want to try one of these forms. Each type has its methods to improve your physical and mental health.
About the Author
William writes articles for various topics. His specialty is dog health but he has various other interests.
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