Yoga too slow for you? There’s a scientific reason behind this method.
We’ve all heard the following – “Exercise is good for you, get moving”, “Use it or lose it”, “Stretch before and after vigorous exercise to avoid injuries”. Of course, living in India we’ve all heard about yoga. Yoga helps with weight loss, depression and also cardio vascular health.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a 5000 year old practice that includes breathing exercises, meditative benefits and overall health benefits due to adoption of various poses.
Have you ever wondered why yoga is good for you? Why are there so many people adopting yoga as their go to work out regime? Well, the science and benefits of yoga is a big deal. However, we shall just enlist the top benefits – both physical and mental benefits of practicing yoga with due diligence here.
Top 6 Physical Benefits of Yoga:
#1 Feel good: Try a slow yoga class and assess how you feel at the end. Do you realize that your breathing is shallow? Learning to breathe deeply helps you deal with anxiety. Gets oxygen to your brain too. There are several asanas to help with relaxation. Don’t be embarrassed if you snore in class – you probably needed the sleep.
#2 Cardio: Yoga and cardio in the same sentence? Yep. Doing sun salutations or suryanamaskaras at a regular pace helps you work up a sweat. It is a dynamic and challenging form of exercise. Try it and see how it helps.
#3 Flexibility: Are you tighter on one side of the body than the other? Yes! If you try doing some stretching you will find that it is easier on one side. Yoga helps to balance out both sides. Done consistently and correctly, flexibility increases with age.
#4 Weight loss: Love food? Good – develop a better relationship with food through yoga. You will learn how to eat mindfully. Do you really want to spend an hour in the gym to burn off one cookie? Most of us are stress eaters.
#5 Look younger: One major yoga benefit is that it slows down the aging process. Skip the plastic surgery and try yoga – it’s much cheaper. And it’ll improve other body parts and functions for free too!
#6 Better sex: Got your attention with that one! Since breathing and stretching are part of the routine, blood flow to different parts of the body increases. You have better sex when you are stress free.
3 Mental benefits of Yoga:
#1 Feel centered: If you are jumpy and can’t concentrate on anything, yoga will help you. Meditation, breath control and sitting still are some ways to get centered.
#2 Reduced stress: One of the biggest benefits of yoga is that you get a lot of me time. Make your yoga mat a place to let go of stress and anxieties. You will be able to handle what life throws at you with ease and calmness.
#3 Increased awareness: Since yoga requires a lot of subtle adjustments, you will notice discomfort initially. Work with it and learn to respect your limitations.
After all, your body is your temple.
You must have come across many types of yoga over the course of time. The following are the most popular forms of yoga.
Top 9 Types of Yoga
- Hatha Yoga: Basically the practice of maintaining postures for a few breath counts is hatha yoga. It is very slow paced form of yoga and is great for beginners!
- Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga uses a proper routine that includes 6 exercises that need to be executed in the same order always! Yes, every class, every day you would be performing the same poses in the same order.
- Vinyasa Yoga: This fast paced form of yoga and is a combination of different movements and breath counts. It is almost like a dance-like workout routine.
- Bikram Yoga: Bikram yoga follows a set of 26 posture exercises and is done in a hot and humid room for about 90 minutes. If you are new to this form of yoga, it is advisable to keep hydrating yourself, as it can be quite strenuous!
- Hot Yoga: Hot yoga is somewhat similar to Bikram Yoga, however, you have no limitation of the 26 poses. You can exercise with all forms of postures in a hot room.
- Iyengar Yoga: This form of yoga goes into the nitty-gritties of each pose and you end up using many supporting equipment to execute the poses error free.
- Yin Yoga: It involves holding 1 single asana for a long period of time. It is a slow paced practice and numerous poses (asanas) can be done in this form of yoga.
- Restorative: Restorative yoga helps in centering your mind and body while doing yogasanas.
- Kundalini: This yoga practice involves meditating, chanting and using breathing techniques so as to release “kundalini energy”
Disadvantages of Practicing Yoga:
- If you want to lose weight quickly, and want calorie burner exercises in your routine, then Yoga is not a great fit. It does help in weight loss, but it is a gradual process
- Having an instructor in the beginning phase is ideal, so as to get the benefits of correct breathing technique and poses; as following DVDs or videos do not help in the long run!
Now that you are informed about the types, benefits and disadvantages of different types of yoga, you can maybe start practicing it for better physical and mental health!
How to start with Yoga:
- You need comfortable clothes, a peaceful place to practice it and a little time in the morning
- It is best that you do Yoga in the morning, however, can practice it anytime of the day if morning seems impossible
- Warm up before doing complicated poses
- Be consistent, as this will help in improving your flexibility!
- And, most important, if you have any health issues, consult a doctor before you start with Yoga