We live in a digital world and, with the expansion of social media, are connected with each other 24/7. Because of this, it is important to unplug each day and take a moment to recharge your batteries and reconnect with yourself. One way to do that, and a personal favorite of mine, is through the practice of yoga.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental, and spiritual practice which transforms the body and the mind. Founded 5,000 years ago in India, yoga focuses on harmonizing the body and mind through breathing techniques, postures (asanas), and meditation. It is through mindfulness that you can become more connected with yourself, calm your mind, and feel happier.
There are many health benefits associated with yoga: improved posture, increased blood flow, heightened focus, and boosted self-confidence. These are just of a few of the countless benefits people find in practicing yoga.
What makes yoga so popular is that anyone can do it. Through a series of stretches and poses, yoga offers a gentle exercise which can help everyone, at every fitness level, improve their health.
Here are 4 popular yoga practices to help you get started:
Hatha, although not necessarily a practice, is a yoga term you’ll hear a lot. Hatha yoga seeks to purify and strengthen the body, calm the mind, and achieve optimal health by focusing on physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, purification rituals, and subtle movements of the body. A few common positions in hatha are warrior, down-facing dog, and tree.
Want hot and sweaty yoga? Bikram is for you. When starting out with this practice, the first thing to understand is that not all hot yoga is Bikram, but all Bikram yoga is hot. Hot yoga’s primary focus is to get the body to sweat in order to stimulate fat burning. In Bikram, there are 26 postures used to work every aspect of the body from veins, to ligaments, to organs. Heat is used to help soften the body, improve flexibility, and flush the toxins out.
A favorite of mine, Kundalini yoga focuses on a combination of poses and breathing. Each sequence, known as kriyas, is rapid and repetitive to intensify the workout. Because Kundalini concentrates on being conscious of your breathing patterns, it can be a spiritual and mental practice as well as a physical workout. Some of the Kundalini poses include the frog pose, cobra pose, and Sat Kriya.
If you’re looking for a yoga practice that is more athletic and challenging, Ashtanga could be a good option. This type of yoga is made of six different sequences and allows students to go at their own pace. Each sequence focuses on a different aspect of the body, giving you a full-body workout.
Not sure if these are right for you? Not a problem. There are many other yoga practices to explore including raja, jnana, karma, mantra, guru, and zen. Try a few out and you’ll be sure to find one that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle.
Brooke Cade is passionate about health and wellness. She enjoys writing about all the things she loves in life, including yoga, hydrotherapy, Nature’s Sunshine products, and anything related to living life to its fullest.