Yoga is an aspect of exercises that are based on various postures and poses of various intensity levels which improve your balance, flexibility, regulate your weight, etc. Yoga is mainly practiced to improve your body and mind control as well as enhance wellbeing.
Yoga is a full-body exercise that strengthens and stretches the body while burning calories, toning, and relaxing your muscles, and improving deep breathing patterns.
Although yoga is now a popularly practiced form of exercise and meditation, yoga was originally a south Asian art, male yoga practitioners (yogis) and female yoga practitioners (yoginis) focused on other practices asides fitness such as enhancing mental focus (mind, emotions) and growing spiritual energy.
The intensity and speed of yoga exercises vary with the poses and techniques.
The inspiration of most yoga poses originate from shapes and forms of natural elements such as a tree with its roots, branches, flowers, and fruits. Every form of yoga differs in focus, breathing techniques, intensity, and characteristics.
Whatever goal you focus on achieving through yoga will help in determining your choice out of the various forms.
YOGA FORMS / TECHNIQUES
- Bikram yoga; this form is also referred to as hot yoga, it is practiced in spaces that are artificially heated to temperatures slightly higher than 100 degrees with an average level of humidity. Bikram yoga involves a set of two breathing techniques for exercise and 26 poses.
- Power yoga; is a more active yoga form with high speed and intensity specifically practiced for increasing muscle mass.
- Hatha yoga; is a general classification of basic yoga forms and techniques. Hatha yoga is sort of a gentle introduction to beginner-friendly yoga poses and it is the most widely practiced yoga form.
- Ashtanga yoga; is an ancient form comprising of a series of poses and postures which are practiced simultaneously with special breathing techniques.
- Iyengar yoga; is a form of yoga that involves the use of props such as blocks, straps, chairs, mats or blankets, balls, any object at all that helps in achieving the poses or postures correctly and effectively.
- Jivamukti/vinyasa yoga; this type of yoga is fast-paced done in form of a routine, that is a set of different poses or postures that flow into one another relating to spiritual teachings or scriptures.
- Yin/Taoist yoga; this form of yoga is rather calm and quiet. Yin yoga releases tension in body parts and joints such as; spine, hips, ankles, knees, shoulder, thighs, and neck.
- Restorative yoga; this yoga form is practiced mainly for achieving deep relaxation using props like blankets or yoga mats. Restorative yoga involves a few simple poses and because it is for relaxing these poses are not intense and are usually done after straining your muscles from intense workouts, maybe a day at the gym.
- Legs; yoga activates all muscles in the legs.
- Core; yoga exercises tighten and tone core muscles.
- Arms; a lot of yoga poses involve your arms carrying the full weight of your body. Poses like planking, crane, and cow, for advanced levels- handstands, etc.
- Back; in attempting to align or your back with a certain part of your body or stretch and fold them back, as many yoga poses involve, the back muscles are being activated and toned. Poses like the cat-cow pose, child’s pose, etc. Yoga is also known for relieving back pain.
- Glutes; Yoga helps to sculpt and tone your glutes. Poses like squats, warrior poses, bridges, and other poses that involve knee bends and resting your weight on your feet.
- Increasing your flexibility; with regular or constant yoga practice your flexibility is improved through poses that stretch your muscles and joints.
- Strengthening; yes, yoga strengthens your whole body. It activates arm, back, legs, and core muscles and trains them to work together in a balance.
- Low-impact; yoga exercises have little to no impact on your joints, which reduces your injury risks as far as limits and difficulty levels are regarded.
- It aids in fast muscle healing.
- Yoga maintains a healthy heart rate.
Yoga is generally a low-impact exercise which should be practiced when guided by a well-trained experienced instructor.
Beginners should not be too hasty to practice advanced or difficult yoga techniques without mastering the basics of yoga.
Regardless of the healing abilities of yoga, do not replace seeking care and treatment for body/joint pains or medical conditions from medical practitioners with yoga.