Yoga, we hear about it nowadays. Many people praise the benefits of this millennial Indian discipline. But, is it just a trend or does it show clear health benefits? here everything you need to know about yoga practice.
The origins of yoga
Yoga is a physical discipline, but also mental and spiritual that comes from Ancient India and would have developed between the 5th and 6th century BC. In the Western world, the physical aspect of yoga has been a great success since the 1980s.
A true discipline of life, the practice of yoga seeks to create a harmony between the body, the mind, and the spirit. It is through a work of postures (called asanas in Sanskrit), exercises of conscious breathing (or pranayama ), meditation and concentration that yogis (those who practice yoga) tend towards this goal.
Did you know? Yoga has been classified as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since December 1, 2016.
Yoga: what benefits?
Today the benefits of yoga are much appreciated. First of all, at the psychic level, yoga allows to feel a great well-being and therefore less stress and anxiety. In question: the great part that breathing takes in the practice of yoga. Body and mind being bound, a deep breath soothes the mind. As a result, improvements in sleep or concentration would also be noted.
At the body level, yoga contributes to a gradual improvement of flexibility, which would have the long-term ability to alleviate some chronic pain. It would also strengthen muscles, a good prevention of back pain and arthritis. For those who spend hours in the office, yoga can correct bad postures.
Finally, yoga can reduce high blood pressure, improve blood circulation or boost the immune system. The list of benefits of this discipline is of course not exhaustive because there are still many others.
Who can practice it?
Yoga practice can begin as early as age 5 when the child is mature enough. Other than that, there is no age limit! It is not uncommon for some people to start practicing it as early as 60 years old. People with disabilities and even pregnant women can practice it, in the absence of contraindications (so consult a doctor before).
Of course, you need to choose the most appropriate form of yoga for your age, physical condition, and health-related constraints.
Yoga: where to practice?
Nowadays, it’s hard not to find a place to do yoga. You will find on the internet many teachers who offer courses on the internet. If you already have a gym membership, maybe yoga classes are available.
It is also possible to start yoga at home. Be careful however to document before and, if possible, to do a trial class in a studio. It is important to start with easy postures, in which you will be comfortable.
The main types of yoga
Birkram yoga, hatha yoga … not easy to navigate with all these different denominations. Here are the main branches and their characteristics:
Hatha yoga: this is the most classic and frequent current, which is the basis of all other forms of yoga. It is the most suitable for beginners because it is similar to the soft gym. It is essentially focused on the physical part of yoga, combining execution of
postures with breathing exercises.
- Iyengar yoga: created by BKS Iyengar, this form of yoga is more focused on the alignment of the body and the accuracy of the postures. The postures are also held much longer. It is a practice suitable for those who want to develop endurance and balance.
- Vinyasa yoga: it’s a fairly “sporty” form of yoga that consists of chaining several positions in a continuous flow.
- Ashtanga yoga: it is a yoga rather reserved for an intermediate yogi to confirmed. This is a quick sequence of posture with increasing difficulty. It is recommended to strengthen its interior and tone its body.
- Kundalini yoga: The part of spirituality and physical exercises is equal. Kundalini yoga is characterized by fast-paced sessions, often accompanied by meditation sessions and songs. One of the main goals of this form of yoga is the mastery of the chakras (energetic center placed throughout the spine).
Bikram yoga: Bikram yoga is practiced in a room warmer than normal (about 40 °) to sweat more – which promotes the elimination of toxins and facilitates movement.
So, convinced by yoga?