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How can Yoga help you?

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves physical poses, concentration, and deep breathing. A regular yoga practice can promote endurance, strength, calmness, flexibility, and well-being.

Yoga is now a popular form of exercise around the world that can:

  • Decrease chronic or acute pain, stabilize blood pressure, and reduce stress.
  • Improve balance, breathing, spine health, mental health, blood flow, sleep, strength, and flexibility.
  • Increase range of motion and mobility of your spine.
  • Provide positive effects on your cardiac autonomic nervous system while reducing inflammation, decreasing stress, and reducing the risk and progression of cardiovascular disease.
  • Improve the regulation of your sympathetic nervous system and your hypothalamic-pituitary system. (Medical News Today)
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Yoga has often been described, very simply, as “Unity” and can be traced back to northern India over 5,000 years ago.

The overall philosophy of Yoga is about connecting your mind, body, and spirit. It is commonly viewed as a mindful movement and breath practice that encompasses stretching, strengthening poses, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Yoga uses body positions, breath, and sensory awareness to reconnect you with yourself and the universe, and move your emotions and thoughts into stillness.

There are six branches of Yoga. Each branch represents a different focus and set of characteristics: 

  • Hatha Yoga: The physical and mental branch that aims to prime your body and mind.
  • Raja Yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the eight limbs of yoga.
  • Karma Yoga: This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
  • Bhakti Yoga: This aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
  • Jnana Yoga: This branch of yoga is about wisdom, the path of the scholar, and developing the intellect through study.
  • Tantra Yoga: This is the pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.

Modern Yoga focuses on exercise, strength, agility, and breathing. It can help boost your physical and mental well-being.

There are many styles of Yoga. You can choose a style based on your goals and fitness level. Types and styles of Yoga include:

  • Ashtanga Yoga: This type of Yoga practice uses ancient Yoga teachings. However, it became popular during the 1970s. Ashtanga applies the same poses and sequences that rapidly link every movement to breath.
  • Bikram Yoga: People practice Bikram Yoga, also known as Hot Yoga, in artificially heated rooms at a temperature of nearly 105oF and 40% humidity. It consists of 26 poses and a sequence of two breathing exercises.
  • Hatha Yoga: This is a generic term for any type of Yoga that teaches physical poses. Hatha classes usually serve as a gentle introduction to the basic poses of Yoga.
  • Iyengar Yoga: This type of Yoga practice focuses on finding the correct alignment in each pose with the help of a range of props, such as blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and bolsters.
  • Kripalu Yoga: This type teaches Practitioners to know, accept, and learn from the body. A student of Kripalu Yoga learns to find their own level of practice by looking inward. The classes usually begin with breathing exercises and gentle stretches, followed by a series of individual poses and final relaxation.
  • Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini Yoga is a system of Meditation that aims to release pent-up energy. A Kundalini Yoga class typically begins with chanting and ends with singing. In between, it features Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation that aim to create a specific outcome.
  • Power Yoga: In the late 1980s, Practitioners developed this active and athletic type of Yoga based on the traditional Ashtanga system.
  • Sivananda: This system uses a five-point philosophy as its foundation. This philosophy maintains that proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking work together to create a healthy Yogic lifestyle. People practicing Sivananda use 12 basic Asanas, which they precede with Sun Salutations and follow with Savasana.
  • Viniyoga: Focuses on form over function, breath and adaptation, repetition and holding, and the art and science of sequencing.
  • Yin Yoga: Places its focus on holding passive poses for long periods of time. This style of Yoga targets deep tissues, ligaments, joints, bones, and fascia.
  • Prenatal Yoga: Uses poses that Practitioners have created with pregnant people in mind. This Yoga style can help you get back into shape after giving birth, and support health during pregnancy.
  • Restorative Yoga: This is a relaxing method of Yoga. In a restorative Yoga class you would spend the whole class doing four or five simple poses, using props such as blankets and bolsters to sink into deep relaxation without exerting any effort when holding the pose. (Medical News Today)

Yoga is one of India’s oldest and most comprehensive traditions, which has developed a vast arsenal of physical and mental techniques geared to gain control over your nervous system in order to achieve, at will, conscious and ‘supraconscious’ states of transcendence. 

In order to appreciate the unique contribution of Yoga to our understanding of the human condition, this age-old tradition is best viewed from the broad perspective of human potential that characterizes Transpersonal Psychology and Psychosomatic Medicine. 

Yoga Therapy is now also a modern practice and represents an effort to integrate traditional Yogic concepts and techniques with Western Medical and Psychological knowledge. Whereas traditional Yoga is primarily concerned with personal transcendence on the part of a ‘normal’ or healthy individual, Yoga Therapy aims at the holistic treatment of various kinds of psychological or somatic dysfunctions ranging from back problems to emotional distress. 

Both approaches, however, share an understanding of the human being as an integrated body-mind system, which can function optimally only when there is a state of dynamic balance. (International Association of Yoga Therapists)

Yoga is a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the ‘Supreme Being’ or ‘ultimate principle.’ There are many methods or disciplines prescribed, usually involving a series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve control of your body, mind, tranquility, etc. 

Yoga is a mind and body practice that involves movement, breathing exercises, and a focus on thoughts and feelings as they happen (mindfulness). It began in ancient India as a spiritual practice, based on the idea that the mind and body are one—union. But today, many people practice yoga for overall health, including flexibility, stress relief, and physical fitness.

Common styles of Yoga include Ashtanga, Bikram, and Iyengar, which are all part of the school of Hatha yoga. While their styles vary, they all include stretching postures that are done with focused, deep breathing.

Yoga can be practiced alone or with others. There are Yoga classes for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced students. Some classes focus on movement and correct ways to do each posture. Other classes are more about stress relief and mindfulness. 

Explore the Research

We believe you should have access to high-quality research to help you make informed health decisions. Below are four trusted databases you can use as tools to expand your healthcare knowledge.