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What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a set of spiritual, mental and physical practices and disciplines that originally hail from ancient India. The earliest written record of Yoga is the “Yoga Sutra” written by sage Patanjali which acts as a guide to control emotion, grow the spirit and master the mind. All modern yoga developed derives its nature from this framework. Though Yoga in the modern world has become synonymous with fitness and activity, its origins were more concerned with breathing exercises, expanding the spirit and channeling the mind.
Contemporary myths about Yoga include that you have to be flexible to start when, in reality, everyone has to start somewhere. As I said, Yoga, in its origins, has less to do with some of the amazing things that people can do, but rather a small step on the road to enlightenment. Yoga done for stress relief or personal enjoyment should be exactly that. Other myths about Yoga suggest that Yoga is too hard, only for women and only comes in one type. The reality is that Yoga has been around for thousands of years and has an abundance of types and knowledge that can be, and is, for anyone.
The disciplines of Yoga are typically shown as branches of a tree. No type of Yoga is more authentic or “better” than another. The key is to find a type of Yoga that suits you and is suitable for your fitness level.
Styles and Types of yoga may include (this is an non- exhaustive list):
- Ashtanga yoga
- Bikram yoga
- Hatha yoga
- Iyengar yoga
- Jivamukti yoga
- Kripalu yoga
- Kundalini yoga
- Power yoga
- Vini yoga
- Yin yoga
- Prenatal yoga
- Restorative yoga
Benefits of Yoga:
The benefits of Yoga are numerous and can be enhanced usually through repetition and practice. Since Yoga began as a path to spiritual growth and a calm mind, it is a good place to find relief from the daily grind. Some of the potential physical and mental benefits that yoga can provide are (but not limited to):
- Reduction in chronic pain (such as lower back, arthritis and headaches)
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Increasing flexibility
- Increasing muscle tone and strength
- Fat loss
- Improvements in cardio capacity and circulatory system
- Increase in energy levels
- Injury prevention
- Athletic aptitude
- Stress relief
- Increase in concentration levels
- More positive outlook
- Increased concentration
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