Why Are So Many People Getting Into Yoga?
People start doing yoga for a variety of reasons. Some turn to yoga for weight loss, and some do it to help problems with mental health like depression, or target a physical disease like diabetes. Yoga is known to help people out with whatever it is that ails them. There are also those who do yoga for relaxation. Whatever the reason may be, yoga helps you tune in, chill out, and shape up all at the same time.
What is Yoga Good For?
Yoga IS effective and very helpful for each and every one of the reasons why people choose to practice it. There is no discounting its wide array of benefits: physical, physiological and mental. It is a holistic practice that makes it not just a passing trend, but something that is here to stay.
Here are just some of the reasons why you should make yoga a mainstay in your life:
- Improves flexibility
- Improves posture
- Improves muscle strength
- Improves balance
- Increases blood flow
- Protects your spine
- Mental clarity
- Stress Reduction
- Better sleep
- Boost immunity
- Helps with weight loss
What is Meditation?
Experts in the field say that to meditate is to get into a place where we can find infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite imagination, infinite creativity, and infinite power of intention. Meditation is not about getting away from it all, but actually tuning in. Meditation takes practice, discipline, devotion, and non-attachment. To meditate is to turn your attention inward and shut off all your other senses and tune out the distractions. And this starts with calm mind, relaxed body, and proper breathing.
When you meditate, your physiology changes. You will notice:
- An increase in serotonin production
- An increase in energy level
- An increase in creativity
- An improved immune system
- A sharper mind
- Emotional stability
- Peace of mind
To practice meditation, you can begin with exercising mindfulness. This is something that’s not easy to do, and many people are not at ease with this level of awareness. At this point you will have to train yourself in mindful meditation.
Yoga and Meditation Go Hand in Hand
As you may have noticed, the benefits of yoga and meditation are similar. In fact, yoga is the Sanskrit word for “union,” which means the connection between soul and spirit, and the means to attain this.Meditation or “Dhyana,” one of the eight limbs of yoga, is a state of awareness and consciousness. Therefore, you cannot attain the state of yoga without meditation. Yoga and meditation have a symbiotic relationship.
To learn yoga is to learn how to meditate. And reaching the state of yoga is one of the benefits of meditation.
Example of a Meditation Exercise:
To begin your meditation exercise, sit in a comfortable position and be aware of your breathing. Start by paying attention to the air that comes in and out of your nose. Start by doing this for two minutes and then working your way up to five minutes. Don't move and just immerse yourself in the present.
When your mind starts wandering, then start over. Use your breathing to anchor yourself in the present. Just stay with your breath. Let your breath collect your attention and unify your mind.
Let the Four Foundations of Mindfulness guide you:
- Know how each experience feels in your body.
- Note the pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral feeling that accompanies every experience.
- Witness your mental state and your emotions in the moment.
- Take in the impersonal truth that is revealed to you at that moment.
Yoga for Beginners:
Now, it’s time to open to psychic centers and energy channels of the body, mind and spirit. You can benefit from joining a group or going to a yoga fitness centre. But you can actually learn yoga at home, be it through a yoga video, yoga websites, yoga pictures, and yoga articles.
Originally, it starts with just one yoga pose, or yoga asana, a stable and comfortable position for prolonged seated meditation. But now, there are different types of yoga postures that produce different energetic, mental, emotional and physical effects. Taken from yogabasics.com, here are just some of the different yoga postures with their corresponding effects on physical and energy levels:
Various Types of Yoga:There is a specific type of yoga for every specific need. Those who don’t practice yoga often assume that one type of yoga covers everything. Not so, this is how yoga targets different needs, by having specific functionalities. In fact, you should build a proper sequence of yoga moves for yourself depending on certain factors like health, weight, age, condition, and physical ailments. So, if you find yourself interested in yoga for back pain, then you should research the proper moves or even ask your yoga instructor.
Here are some examples of yoga sets:
Restorative YogaThis is the type of yoga you seek out after a long and hectic day at work, because you know yoga and stress just don’t go together. Typically done at night, this involves props and poses that are mostly lying down and about opening the chest area, with just a handful of restorative poses you would have to hold for extended periods of time. This is perfect for those who have trouble falling asleep at night.
Iyengar yoga is known for its use of wooden blocks, harnesses, cushions, and straps. This type of yoga is very methodical and focuses on alignment more than the other types of yoga. This is perfect for those people with ailments who require physical therapy.
Vinyasa yogaThis type of yoga is good for those who are looking for more movement and a variety of poses. If you are going into this type of yoga, don’t expect two classes to be alike, this goes beyond the usual sun salutations. This type of yoga has immense flexibility benefits.
There are some yoga tools that are indispensable, ranging from being useful during and after your yoga exercise. Here are just some of the yoga essentials that can make your experience a more fruitful one:
- Breathable clothing: It is better to wear a shirt that is breathable and form-fitting since in some yoga poses, your head will be coming below your hips.
- Yoga mat: If you are do yoga with a group, having a mat defines your personal space, serves as a cushion on the floor, and creates traction for your hands and feet so you don’t slip.
- Blankets: Some types of yoga stress the importance of bringing the body into alignment. Having blankets can help you prop your hips above your knees and also serve as a cover for post-yoga final relaxation.
- Blocks: Blocks, like blankets, help prop you up and improve alignment.
- Straps: Straps are useful for poses for bound poses where your hands do not reach each other, or when you need to hold on to your feet.
- Toe stretchers: These are amazing stress relievers for your feet post-yoga. They strengthen, stretch, and align your toe muscles, and improve circulation.
Yoga has become so popular nowadays that yoga studios and practices sprout up like mushrooms. So practicing it won’t really pose a challenge. What makes yoga a gem is that it is a very personal experience, so you operate depending on your comfort level. People of all shapes, sizes, and ages can do yoga and adapt it to their individual needs and preferences. It is never too late to gather information about yoga and partake in all of its health benefits.