Using Yoga to Stay Healthy and Stress Free

Yoga For Exercise and Stress Relief

Downward Dog, sun salutation, shooting bow, half moon, cow face- these are all yoga poses. Yoga is becoming the exercise of choice for those looking to de-stress and increase their physical and spiritual health. According to a 2008 Yoga Journal study, there are a reported 16 million yoga practitioners helping people exercise.

Yoga is not simply “breathing” and “stretching.” Originating back 3000 to 5000 years ago, the word “yoga” is a Sanskrit word meaning to yoke or to unite. This encompasses the main good of the yoga lifestyle which is finding union between one’s own consciousness and the universe. Achieving this balance is thought to be done differently according to 6 main yoga branches: Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga, Tantra yoga, and Hatha yoga.

As with any technique, there are going to be different schools of thought. Whereas one school of thought may emphasize meditation, another may focus on an individual’s thoughts and actions. Other types of yoga may focus on physical exercise such as Hatha yoga. Despite the divergent paths, all types of yoga strive for harmony and balance of the mind, body, spirit, and breathing.

What are the different types of yoga?

  1. Hatha Yoga- emphasizes physical postures also known as asanas. It combines the movement between these positions with controlling one’s breathing.
  2. Iyengar Yoga- a type of Hatha yoga. It utilizes certain props and tools, such as belts, blocks and even sandbags to help students reach and maintain exact alignments and positions required for asana positions. This is a great yoga technique for beginners. The positions in this type of yoga are held for an extended period of time.
  3. Ashtanga Yoga- The good of this type of yoga is to raise ones body temperature to sweat toxins out of the body. The positions in this type of yoga are always changing and the fun is in breathing with each movement being accompanied by a new breath and each position flowing into the next without rest.
  4. Bikram Yoga- This type of yoga, also known as “Hot Yoga” takes place in a heated room where the temperature is set for 110 degrees for 90 minutes. With the addition of heat the body is more flexible.
  5. Kundalini Yoga- a type of Hatha yoga. The positions are meant to draw up energy from the base of the spine in order to awaken the body’s 7 chakras and gain enlightenment. This type of yoga focuses on the mental and physical aspect.
No matter what type of yoga you practice, it will help to increase your flexibility, promote weight loss, sharpen your focus, and calm your spirit. It works to stimulate your central nervous system and is ideal for overall health.

Additional Reading Resouces:

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