Yoga has gained increasing popularity in recent decades. Something that health-gurus and exercise-fanatics rave about. It is can most readily be associated with harmony, relaxation, wellbeing, strength, flexibility and posture. Its fans claim all sorts of good things that yoga brought into their lives. But what is yoga exactly, what are its benefits and how easy is it to achieve all these benefits? Today’s post seeks to answer these questions and aims to inspire you to hit the mat.
What is yoga exactly?
Yoga is not simply a form of exercise. It is a collection of practices that boost your physical, mental and spiritual health. The exercise components of yoga focuses on core strength, flexibility and posture of your body. In addition, breathing practices are used to enhance your physical wellbeing as well as to contribute to your harmonious state of mind. These two essential components of yoga are called “asanas” and “pranayama”. “Asanas” refer to the various postures yoga uses, while “pranayama” refers to breathing techniques. In addition, meditation also plays an important role. The combination of these three components (asanas, pranayama and meditation) creates the unique wellbeing regime that is called yoga.
Yoga is an ancient art. It was invented approximately 5,000 years ago in India. As one of the main Hindu schools of philosophy, it was elaborated with the aim of finding permanent peace in life. Yoga arrived in the western world in the 19th Century but it only started to become popular in the 1980s. In the last couple of decades different yoga stiles have become widespread around the world. By now, it has millions of dedicated fans globally. Let’s see why…
Why is yoga so popular?
Yoga has many varieties and there are a range of therefore yoga classes, catering to a range of can accommodate anyone with basically any fitness levels. Everyone should be able to do at least basic postures and breathing techniques. With practice, everyone can improve his/her yoga skills compared to their baseline fitness level. Age does not matter, either. With the right instructor and a carefully chosen yoga regime, even older people can benefit from yoga.
Several scientific research studies have found positive findings about yoga. It is suggested that yoga can help keep high blood pressure in check and thereby it can lower the risk of heart attack. Further benefits include boosting fertility, protection from arthritis, combating migraine, improving posture and thereby easing back pain, keeping the spinal disks supple, strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis. It can also get the blood flowing, increase the ability of the body to fight infections, lower blood sugar levels and LDL (bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). This list is far from being comprehensive. It is intended just to give you a taste of how you can benefit from yoga.
The practice of yoga is also beneficial in terms of improving mental health. It teaches you to breath properly, relax, offering techniques to cope with stressful situations, anxiety, panic attack, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and supports the goals of better sleep better, greater alertness and developing better memory.
It may initially be hard to believe on just how many levels one can improve and develop, thanks to regular yoga classes. As a bottom line, practicing yoga will give you an understanding of the body & mind connection and help you achieve a better balance in your life. Given the stressful, urban lifestyles many of us live today, we can all benefit from it, in one way or another.