Yoga is a low impact exercise that people of all ages can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This exercise is being practiced for more than 5,000 years and currently is one of the most popular exercise that can be done alone or in group. Yoga can be practice inside your bedroom, in the beach, gym, in your garden and about anywhere that is spacious and quiet.
Yoga is an extremely effective exercise in improving flexibility, strength, balance, relaxation and breathing. When some people think of yoga, they imagine having to stretch like a gymnast. That makes them worry that they're too old, unfit to do yoga. The truth is you're never too old to improve flexibility. Yoga poses work safely by stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. The practice of yoga tends to heighten concentration memory and one's capacity to learn. Regular practitioners of yoga report an elevated sense of well being with marked mood improvement and a lessening of anxiety and depression.
Where does Yoga term come from? Yoga is a sanskrit word for "union," in the sense of union with the Supreme Being. Some of the yoga exercises are especially beneficial to health and are practiced by persons other than yogis (person who practices one or more kinds of yoga) for health reasons alone. Yogis warn against the practice of difficult exercises unless guided by a qualified guru (teacher).
- Increases the range of motion in joints. It has been found that the body which may have been quite rigid before doing yoga exercise has starts experiencing a remarkable flexibility even in those parts which have not been consciously work upon.
- Can improve spinal alignment. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car, this can cause tightness and spinal compression.
- May increase the lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons of the body.
- Massages the internal organs of the body. This stimulation and massage will make the organ function properly.
- Can improve blood circulation and remove toxins from the body. By gently stretching muscles and joints, yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to different parts of the body. This helps in the flushing out of toxins and nourishing every cell in the body.
- Can help reduce menopausal symptoms. In a study it was found that menopausal women who took two months of a weekly restorative yoga class reported a 30 percent decrease in hot flashes. A four-month study found that many women who took a 90-minute yoga class twice a week boosted both their energy and mood; plus they reported less physical and sexual discomfort, and reduced stress and anxiety.
- Can help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as boost immune system function.
- Improves lung capacity. This in turn can improve endurance.
- Help improve you posture, making you look leaner and taller.
- Strengthens the body and tones the muscles.
- Can help increase spiritual awareness.
- Improves relaxation.
- Can help relieve stress and depression.
Kinds of Yoga
- Hatha Yoga - is the discipline of breath and body control. This involves various breathing exercises in which the yogi believes he is inhaling not only air, but prana, a vital force that he considers himself to be using for the purpose of quieting his mind and body. A Yogi is seated in a lotus position (spine held straight and legs folded so that the right foot rests on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh). When you see a Hatha yoga class you will see a slow-paced stretching movement with simple breathing exercises and meditation. If you want to learn the basic yoga poses, relaxation techniques Hatha yoga is a good start.
- Bhakti Yoga - is the discipline of devotion, involves deep meditation. In this kind of yoga the guru (teacher) provides the disciple a Chosen Ideal (holy person) on which he is to meditate. He also provides a mantra (sacred phrase), which the disciple is to keep secret and repeat to himself constantly. The disciple's goal is to be able to go beyond the mind and use his heart to be filled with genuine devotion.
- Jnana Yoga - is the discipline of knowledge. The intellect serves as an instrument to discern between the real and the unreal. The real is that which is eternal and never changing, or Brahman (God); the unreal is that which exist for a time but changes or ceases to exist, such as the body and the objects of our senses. The goal of Jnana yoga is to withdraw the mind and emotions from seeing life and oneself in wrong way and attune the person to reality.
- Karma Yoga - is the discipline of right action and service to mankind, without thought of reward and without becoming attached emotionally to the results. Non-attachment to result brings freedom from sorrow and disappointments. The practice of Karma Yoga does not demand that you possess a great amount of wealth. You can serve with your mind and body. If you find a poor sick person lying on the road side, give him some food and water to drink or cheer him up with encouraging words.
- Raja Yoga includes the other yogas and is summarized under the eight "limbs," or aspects, of yoga as follows: self-control, control of thoughts, control of posture, breath control, withdrawal of the mind, concentration, meditation, and Samadhi. Self control involves the truth, continence, and refraining from stealing and harming others. Meditation is prolonged concentration on only one object, a process called "making samyama" on an object. By constantly making samyama on God, the yogi eventually attains Samadhi (higher level of concentrated meditation).