Yoga is a mind-body practice that can improve your physical health, mental well-being and spiritual well-being. It can also be a good choice for people with certain medical conditions who find other types of exercise difficult.
Many exercises build strength, but they also can cause injury. In contrast, yoga combines strength training with flexibility exercises that prevent injury.
The practice of yoga is a holistic mind-body fitness system that promotes wellness and can alleviate many physical, emotional and spiritual ailments. Yoga has been shown to improve muscle strength and flexibility, balance and endurance, and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It has also been used as an adjunct in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems and chronic health conditions, including respiratory and heart disease.
Yoga can help lubricate the joints, which can prevent debilitating conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. It’s also been shown to increase the effectiveness of the immune system and decrease blood pressure in those with high blood pressure.
Although most people who take up yoga do not subscribe to yogic philosophy, all can benefit from the practice’s postures and breathing exercises. It’s important to consult a qualified yoga teacher for proper instruction. The benefits of yoga can be long-lasting if done properly and consistently. Tracey M. Smith, DO, is a family medicine physician at LG Health Physicians Family Medicine Lititz.
Yoga combines breath and meditation with physical postures to foster mental, physical and spiritual healing and wellness. It is not for everyone – inversions and arm balances, for example, require a high degree of strength and balance. But even for those who aren’t ready to tackle the more challenging poses, there are many benefits to practicing yoga, particularly when it is done regularly over time.
Yoga’s origins date back thousands of years. The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit term yuj, meaning “to yoke” or “to unite.” It was developed as a system to promote physical and mental well-being, with the goal of helping individuals achieve a state of unity between themselves, their environment and their higher power.
Today, most Western classes of yoga are based on the practice of hatha yoga which is focused on postures and breathing exercises and aims to improve physical fitness and mental health. Regular practice (3 times per week or more) will help participants to experience significant improvements in flexibility, core strength, stability and balance.
Depending on your specific interests, there are many different types of yoga to choose from. Some are based on a set sequence, like Ashtanga, while others focus on a range of poses, such as yin. There are even some more specific forms, such as bhakti yoga, which teaches students to cultivate acceptance and tolerance in their relationships.
Some yoga practices are designed for fitness, such as power yoga, which combines traditional yoga flows with hand weights and other strength-training exercises. Other types, such as yin or restorative yoga, are more focused on stretching and breathing and are more relaxing.
Another example of a more specialised form is ananda yoga, which was founded in the 1960s and has its own set of principles, explains Monal. This type of yoga promotes spiritual healing and aims to balance the body, heart and mind. It’s a great choice for beginners to yoga who want a structured class.
Yoga is a holistic experience for the body and mind. It helps strengthen and tone muscles, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes overall well-being and healing. It also helps people develop greater compassion, friendliness and equanimity.
A good yoga teacher must be able to convey their knowledge of the poses and their benefits in a way that is accessible to all students. This is not easy for a new teacher, who might struggle to find their teaching voice. It is important to speak slowly, clearly and in a soothing manner.
It is helpful to guide your students through the poses by offering one variation at a time and giving clear instructions about what they need to do. You can also encourage your students by letting them know how well they are doing. This can help boost their self-esteem and increase their confidence. It is also a good idea to let your students relax during Savasana (the last resting pose). This can be relaxing in itself.