What is yoga and should you do it?
We’ve all been told that we should be doing yoga, whether that’s because our stress levels are at an all time high, or we can’t touch our toes. Yoga seems to be able to fix all of our problems.
If you’ve been putting off trying yoga because you don’t think you’re flexible enough, or you think that you can’t sit still for long periods then here are some reasons why you should reconsider...
What is yoga?
Most people associate yoga with the physical aspect of the practise, however there are several more strands to it. Yoga is a practise of the mind, body as spirit that originated in ancient India and has since become a global phenomenon.
The physical practise, (or poses) that most of us know are known as asanas, and have ancient names referred to as sanskrit. The breathwork is also a fundamental part of yoga and is known as pranayama. There are several different schools of yoga that will teach different variations of these practises.
One of the best things about yoga is that it can be performed by most people, no matter your age or ability.
What are the different types of yoga?
There are many different forms of yoga that you can practise depending on what you want to achieve from your practise:
Hatha yoga: This is the most widely practised form of yoga and the type of practise that you would usually associate with a common yoga class. It involves holding the poses for 15-60 seconds, for ¾ of the class, followed by breathwork and meditation.
Vinyasa yoga: When you mention Vinyasa yoga, you will often hear this being referred to as a ‘flow’ class. This is because the session is often fast paced and you flow from one movement to another.
Yin yoga: If you are looking for a more restorative and relaxing practise then you should definitely choose Yin yoga. This style incorporates traditional chinese medicine and poses are often held for between 3-5 minutes at a time.
Benefits of yoga?
In terms of your physical health, yoga is most prominently known for improving your flexibility. When you hold a pose (asana), you are often stretching the muscles for long periods of time, which can reduce tension and also increase flexibility. On top of this, some poses also require a lot of strength, therefore you will be building muscle, especially core strength when taking part in a yoga class.
Yoga also has several benefits for your mental wellbeing. During your yoga practise, you will have the opportunity to participate in a form of mindfulness such as meditation. Although at the beginning it may be difficult, as you practise you will learn how to relax, calm the mind and be more self-aware through meditation.
Yoga is a fantastic practise as it allows you to improve both your mental and physical wellbeing, something that isn’t possible with other forms of more vigorous exercise. On top of this, it can be practiced by anyone and everyone, making it super accessible.