Yoga is a holistic form of exercise that improves physical, mental and spiritual health. Its roots lie in India, where it has been practiced for thousands of years.
It has many benefits for the mind and body, including increased flexibility, a calming effect on the nervous system, stress relief, improved sleep and more. But it also has the potential to benefit a wide range of medical conditions.
The history of yoga traces its roots to pre-modern India, when a travelling sage called Agastya developed a culture around a yogic way of life. However, it was the second century sage Patanjali who systematically presented and codified the various practices and beliefs of yoga in his ‘Yoga Sutras’.
While the origins of yoga can be traced back thousands of years, it was only in the nineteenth century that its modern-day form became popular in the West. This new form of yoga was a blend of European physical culture, gymnastics and Indian nationalism, and was based on a nationalist philosophy of body culture that sought to defend India against British colonial rule.
Yoga is a wonderful way to boost your mind-body connection and practice self-care. It improves flexibility and increases core strength, which can help you avoid falls and accidents.
The practice of yoga can also lead to a reduction in anxiety, depression and PTSD. This is because yoga can increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the “rest and digest” system that slows your heart rate, relaxes muscles in the gastrointestinal tract and reduces stress hormones like cortisol.
It can also encourage better sleep. Studies have found that people who do yoga regularly get more restful sleep than those who don’t.
Yoga is a discipline that includes breathing exercises, meditation and physical postures. It is a great way to develop strength, fitness and awareness.
When you practice asanas you begin to recognise patterns in your body and emotions, which can be very useful. For example, you may find that certain feelings or emotions cause a specific sensation, tightness or blockage in your body.
Asanas are the third limb of the eight-limbed path of yoga as outlined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra. They require a steady and stable body, along with a comfortable and still mind.
Mantras are a powerful tool that can be used in yoga practice to help you achieve a deeper state of consciousness. They can be chanted in several ways, such as silently in the mind or aloud.
Oftentimes, mantras are also accompanied by mudras, which are symbolic gestures designed to increase concentration and focus. They can be practiced before a yoga session or in meditation.
The word mantra is derived from the Sanskrit words manas meaning mind and tra meaning tool, which translates to “mind tool.” They are a powerful way to deepen your yoga practice and access your true self.
Yoga is a practice that encompasses physical postures (asana), breathing exercises, relaxation and stress relief. It is a form of exercise that can benefit people from all walks of life and health conditions.
There are many different schools of hatha yoga, each with their own philosophy and style. Some emphasize the physical aspects of yoga while others focus on its spiritual dimension.
Regardless of the style of yoga you teach, one key element is to help students learn conscious breath practice. This is known as pranayama and it should be incorporated during both the meditation and asana segments of your class.
Research shows that integrating mindfulness-based school programs like yoga can help youth cultivate social, emotional, and physical health; academic success; and a positive school climate. It can also improve their self-regulation, the ability to monitor and adapt their behavior, attention, and emotions in response to internal cues, external feedback, and other influences.