The Many Health Benefits of Yoga
Practiced in Eastern cultures for thousands of years, yoga has become quite popular in Western culture as well; and for good reason. The list of health benefits reaped from practicing yoga is lengthy and impressive.
The Yoga Health Foundation boasts (and rightfully so) relief when suffering from:
- Chronic back pain
- Asthma and breathing issues
- Heart disease
- Reduction in range of motion and flexibility
- Muscular tension
- Poor concentration and memory
The win-win combination of stretching exercises, regulated breathing, and the sense of peacefulness in mind and body is almost magical. Research also shows yoga therapy for addiction treatment, when combined with traditional therapies, produce great recovery triumphs, can reduce the likelihood of relapse, and accelerate time spent in rehabilitation.
Getting Healthy Yoga Style
Yoga is more than stretching and meditation, and there are many different styles of yoga practices, each with its own purpose. All yoga types are designed to generate a sense of peace and tranquility, self-awareness, and good health.
September is National Yoga Month; the perfect time to explore the various yoga styles and find which style provides the best fit.
Contacting a yoga studio and talking to a teacher for direction before choosing a class to attend is wise as each style of yoga provides different levels of intensity. Paying for and attending an advanced class on the first day would be intimidating and not a fair assessment of the practice.
Here are a few of the more popular types of yoga practiced in the US.
Hatha is a good place to start for novices. Basic poses and relaxation techniques are learned at a slow-pace. This is a good evening class as it will help relieve the day’s stress.
Bikram is best for more seasoned yogis. There are 26 poses in this style of yoga, practiced in a room heated to 95 to 105 degree room. A great choice to cleanse toxins from the body.
Kundalini classes are intense, working the core area, abs, and lower spine.
Ashtanga known as “power yoga” includes push-ups and lunges at a fast pace. This class is intense! Stress relief and weight loss are two benefits of Ashtanga.
Iyengar uses props such as blocks, harnesses, cushions, and straps. The focus of Iyengar is to strengthen and align the body. A good class for novices to learn poses correctly and those needing physical therapy.
Restorative is another style of yoga that is good at the end of the day as it focuses on deep relaxation. Practiced with props as well, restorative yoga uses minimal poses held for extended periods. The perfect class for those struggling with insomnia.
Prenatal is not only for moms-to-be, but for women who have already given birth as well. It’s a great yoga style to get back into pre-baby physical shape. Pre or post baby, prenatal yoga strengthens the core and helps posture. It’s a slow-paced work out with lots of breathing exercises.
Peace of mind, increased fitness, and better health. There’s no better reason to try yoga than that!
Published: September 2013 Inclusive Fitness.org
Photo Credit: License: Royalty Free or iStock source: Aliaksei Skreidzeleu/ http://www.123rf.com/