An Introduction To Yoga

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What Is Yoga?

The word yoga means « union » in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where Yoga originated 5,000 years ago. It essentially consists in the union between body, mind and spirit occurring in the practice of physical yoga poses or postures called « asana’s ».

By focusing attention on every inhalation and exhalation while holding the poses, yoga becomes a form of meditation.

Every posture has specific physical benefits such as developing body strength and/or flexibility, releasing imbalances and tension such as back or neck pain, for instance.

Depending on the type of yoga practiced, the succession of postures can be performed quickly or slowly, whether the goal is to create heat in the body or to master poses’ alignment. Although Yoga draws in physical abilities, its main goal is to achieve spiritual and mental well-being.

There are six popular styles of Yoga. Although all of them are based on the same asana’s, each holds a distinctive feature that differentiates it from the others.

The Most Popular Types Of Yoga: 

HATHA YOGA

It is slow-paced, gentle and stretching-focused. It helps work on alignment, learn relaxation techniques, grow comfortable with the poses and develop strength and flexibility.

Ideal for complete beginners.

BIKRAM YOGA (also called Hot Yoga)

Practiced in a 95-100 degree room, Hot Yoga was created to loosen tight muscles and increase sweating which is ultimately believed to cleanse the body.

Ideal for developing flexibility.

ASHTANGA YOGA (also called Power Yoga)

Fast-paced and physically demanding, this practice focuses on coordinating movement and breath to create inner heat that purifies the body. Helps build core strength and tone the body.

Ideal for seasoned yogis.

IYENGAR YOGA

Focuses on perfecting body alignment and holding poses for a long period of time to draw the most benefits.

Ideal for relieving back or neck pain.

VINYASA YOGA

Focuses on coordinating breath with movement when transitioning from one pose to another.

Ideal for weight loss and strength building.

KUNDALINI YOGA

Combines physical and spiritual practices as it includes breathing techniques, meditation and mantras chanting.

Ideal for a spiritual experience.