What is yoga? • Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that dates back more than 500 years. • The word Yoga actually means “To unite, or integrate” • Ancient Yoga masters (Yogis) believed that for a man to be in harmony with himself and his environment, he had to unite and create a balance between the body, the mind, and the spirit. To achieve and maintain this balance one must practice: exercise, breathing, and meditation- the three main Yoga structures. • Today I’m going to talk to you about the types of people that do yoga, the different types of yoga, and the benefits of yoga.
Different Types of Yoga:Which yoga is right for you?! Choosing the yoga that’s right for you is very important, otherwise you may not enjoy it! Also keep in mind that there is a great deal of “crossover” between yoga styles. Yoga teachers often blend one or more styles and even develop their own signature style of yoga, so it may take a few tries to find the style of yoga that is best for you. Today I am going to discuss 4 different styles.
Ivengar yoga Detail-oriented and slow-paced, Iyengar yoga is an excellent beginning class. Analytical in its approach with a constant attention to detail, Iyengar yoga is great for learning the subtleties of correct alignment in each pose.
Ashtanga yoga Ashtanga yoga is another traditional style of yoga. It offers a highly vigorous, nonstop series of poses. The idea is to create heat inside the body to burn off toxins, release tight muscles and joints, and focus your mind. Unique to ashtanga yoga is its focus on a specialized breathing technique, ujjai breathing, which sustains heat in your body.
Power Yoga Power Yoga is hugely popular in health clubs and among athletes. It is one of the most athletic forms of yoga. Based on the sequence of poses in Ashtanga yoga, Power Yoga builds upper-body strength as well as flexibility and balance. Teachers lead classes that flow from one pose to the next without stopping to talk about the finer points of each pose. That way, students come away with a good workout as well as a yoga experience. If you're new to yoga, it's a good idea to take a few classes in a slower style of yoga first to get the feel for the poses. That's because there's less individual attention and more focus on moving through the Power Yoga class. ome studios call Power Yoga by different names: flow yoga, flow-style yoga, or vinyasa flow.
Bikram Yoga Bikram yoga is the favorite of anyone who loves to sweat. It was created by Indian yogi BikramChoudhury and he designed a sequence of 26 yoga poses to stretch and strengthen the muscles as well as compress and "rinse" the organs of the body. The poses are all done in a heated room to facilitate the release of toxins. Every Bikram class you go to -- from Manhattan to San Diego -- follows the same sequence of 26 poses. Be prepared to sweat: Bikram studios are heated above 100 degrees.
Yoga and Flexibility • Yoga poses, called asanas, are good for safely stretching your muscles. • Practicing yoga helps to decrease stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue as well as increase the range of motion in joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body. • Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body, including your ligaments and tendons. • In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga.
Yoga and Strength • With yoga, you achieve positions using your muscles holding your own body weight against gravity. • You don’t need fancy gym equipment or weights. • Supporting your own body weight develops muscles that are strong and in proportion to one another.
Yoga and Posture • Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength. That's because you're counting on your deep abdominals to support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you're more likely to sit and stand "tall.“ • Another benefit of yoga is the increased body awareness. This heightened awareness tells you more quickly when you're slouching or slumping so you can adjust your posture.
Yoga and breathing • Because of the deep, mindful breathing that yoga involves, lung capacity often improves. This in turn can improve sports performance and endurance.
Yoga and Stress • Meditation is an important part of yoga that may occur before you try a pose, while you are in a pose, or after you have finished all your poses. • Meditation helps to quiet the constant "mind chatter" that often underlies stress. • The emphasis on deep breathing techniques also help to focus and calm the mind, relieving stress. • Scientifically speaking , yoga has been proven to lower levels of certain hormone neurotransmitters which can create a feeling of calm. • Some research even points to a boost in the "trust" and "bonding" hormone that's associated with feeling relaxed and connected to others.
Yoga and your Heart • Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. • Yoga has also been associated with decreased cholesterol level and boosting immune system function.
Other possible benefits • Increased concentration • Increased ability to focus • Better mood/happiness • Positive effect on learning and memory • Improved self-awareness • Improved energy levels
Warrior 1 The Warrior Pose I or Virabhadrasana I improves balance and agility and strengthens your legs, back, and arms. It also targets the chest, shoulders, neck, and abdominal area. Learn how to do the Warrior Pose I in this section.
Warrior II This posture strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms, building stamina. It opens your hips and chest, and improves balance. It is called the Warrior in reference to the fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva. Learn how to do the second Warrior Pose in this section.
Triangle Pose In this exercise, you build up strength in the lower back and upper legs while you remove tension from the lower and upper back, the hips and the hamstrings through both the twist and the stretching. The exercise is good for your sense of coordination and sense of balance. You need a lot of concentration and precision to be able to carry it out correctly.
In summary • Yoga is a great form of exercise that focuses not only on your physical well-being, but also on mental and spiritual well-being. • Practicing yoga is a great way to bring peace, balance, and health into your life.
References Webmd Benefits of Yoga: http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/the-health-benefits-of-yoga ABC’s of Yoga: http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/whatisyoga.asp
Questions? • How many people have done yoga before? • How do you stay in shape? • Why do so many athletes use yoga? • Do you think that you would like to give yoga a try?