Yoga – Types and Benefits

YOGA

Introduction

 People meditating or performing yoga

Yoga is a mind-body exercise. Yoga incorporates meditation, physical postures, breathing methods and relaxation. Yoga is a centuries-old practice that began in India. Yoga enhances mental and physical well-being through movement, meditation and breathing methods.

Yoga is a way of providing spiritual discipline based on an incredibly delicate science that focuses mainly on bringing mind and body into harmony. Yoga is an art and science of living a healthy lifestyle.

A yogi is someone who has experienced this oneness of existence and has gained the state of freedom known as Mukti or Moksha. The goal of Yoga is to achieve Self-realization that leads to ‘the state of liberation or ‘freedom’.

Yoga practice emphasises living with freedom in all aspects of life, as well as health and harmony. “Yoga” also refers to an inner science that includes several techniques for realising the potential and gaining control over oneself.

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History

The name ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means to join or unify. Yoga helps to concentrate on individual consciousness more than the universal consciousness and creates harmony between the mind and body.

Yoga is said to have originated at the dawn of civilization. Yoga is a science that dates back thousands of years, even before religions or belief systems existed. Shiva is regarded as the first yogi and the first Guru in yogic mythology.

The great yogic science was spread throughout the world by the sages, encompassing the Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia and South America. Modern scholars have remarked on and marvelled at the striking similarities between ancient societies throughout the world.

Historical proof of Yoga’s existence may be found dating back to the pre-Vedic period (2700 B.C.) The Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, teachings of Buddhism, Jainism, Panini, Epics, Puranas, and other sources are the key sources from which we receive information on Yoga practises and related literature throughout this period.

The Classical period is tentatively defined as the period between 500 BC and 800 A.D. This period is also regarded as the most prolific and prominent period in the history and development of Yoga.

Types Of Yoga

Yoga is indefinite. There are multiple types of yoga that bring peace and focus to your body. The following are some of the widely recognised yoga exercises:

Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga is a very energetic and athletic form of hatha yoga that is divided into six levels, each having an individual set of poses. This yoga is based on vinyasa, or flowing movements between postures, and it emphasises energy and breath. This yoga involves physically demanding activity that also develops mental clarity and inner calm.

Bikram yoga

Bikram yoga is a modern yoga workout regimen created by Bikram Choudhury based on the teachings of B. C. Ghosh. This yoga gained popularity in the early 1970s. Bikram yoga consists of a set of 26 postures that are performed in a room heated to 105 Fahrenheit. Bikram yoga is quite similar to Tae Bo kickboxing.

Hatha yoga

Hatha yoga is the type of yoga that most people think of when they think of yoga. Hatha yoga includes the practice of breath, body and mind, which lasts 45 to 90 minutes.

Some of the key benefits of Hatha yoga include:

  • Sleeping better
  • Lower depression levels
  • Increase your flexibility
  • Stress reduction
  • Neck and back pain relief
  • Improve your mindfulness
  • Improve your core strength and balance

Iyengar yoga

Iyengar Yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on the structural alignment of the physical body through asana practice. Precision and sequencing are considered to be the important aspects of this yoga. In the Iyengar yoga technique, every asana seeks precision in body alignment.

For beginners, the Iyengar style provides a thorough and well-structured introduction that ensures a strong foundation in learning yoga.

Kundalini yoga

Kundalini yoga is a hatha yoga style that emphasises the mind, body, and spirit equally. This type of yoga is great for beginners because it is tolerant and flexible to people of all ages, abilities, sizes and circumstances.

It emphasises meditation, physical healing and spiritual development that extends beyond yoga to provide wisdom to lead a happy life.

Power yoga

The word “power yoga” refers to a robust, fitness-based approach to yoga. Though many people mistake power yoga for “gym yoga,” it was originally based on the Ashtanga approach. Without the use of traditional weights or machines, power yoga is an excellent approach to increase your strength. Power yoga is a bodyweight exercise routine that builds strength by using your body’s resistance.

Sivananda yoga

Swami Vishnudevananda’s Sivananda asana practice is based on a core sequence that contains a balanced set of 12 postures that are followed in a predefined order.

Sivananda yoga is an excellent yoga to start if you’re new to yoga. Sivananda yoga is a wonderful way of relaxation as well as a great workout.

Viniyoga

Viniyoga emphasises an important term called ‘adaptation’. Yoga is taught using a holistic and therapeutic approach that aims to improve the health of students for their well-being.

Viniyoga is built on the guru/student concept, in which a skilled instructor works with each student individually. Based on health, age, and physical condition, teachers build a customised yoga curriculum for students.

Yin yoga

Yin Yoga is a slow-paced form of yoga that incorporates traditional Chinese medical ideas and uses asanas that are held for longer periods.

Advanced practitioners can hold one asana for up to five minutes. Yin yoga has many benefits that can help you ease pain and tension, reduce stress and anxiety and enhance your overall health. Holding a pose for an extended amount of time helps you to sit with and observe any unpleasant emotions, ideas or physical sensations.

Prenatal yoga

Prenatal yoga is a comprehensive approach to fitness that involves stretching, mental centring and concentrated breathing, similar to other types of birthing preparation sessions. Prenatal yoga is considered to be safe for both the mother and the child.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga is the practice of holding asanas for longer periods than traditional yoga. This yoga involves the usage of props like folded blankets, to relax the body, alleviate stress and prepare for pranayama.

Restorative Yoga is a peaceful, passive kind of Yoga that allows you to focus on your breath while relaxing your muscles. Unlike other types of Yoga, Restorative Yoga requires you to hold asanas or positions for an extended period of time, usually 5 minutes or more.

Benefits of yoga

Yoga improves flexibility

Yoga postures will stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. This will increase your flexibility with regular practice.

Yoga helps with stress relief

Yoga helps with stress relief

Yoga encourages mental and physical relaxation, which helps to reduce stress levels. Yoga helps to alleviate stress by regulating the neurological system, particularly the autonomic nervous system and its stress response.

Yoga improves mental health

Yoga is significant for lowering stress hormones in our body while raising good brain chemicals like endorphins and GABA as a type of low-impact exercise. These feel-good hormones can aid with anxiety and mood.

Yoga has been proven to be equivalent to other treatments such as medication and psychotherapy by researchers. Yoga is affordable and has fewer adverse effects than many medications. It can even help people who suffer from major depression.

Yoga may reduce inflammation

Yoga is a wonderful and gentle twist that reduces discrepancy caused in the body that minimises chronic inflammation. Yoga is also beneficial to your digestive system.

Yoga increases your strength

Yoga is a technique that emphasises strength. It excels at using your body weight to strengthen and tone your muscles. Yoga is a total-body workout, unlike weight-training regimens that isolate motions. It develops strength that you can apply in your daily tasks.

Yoga may reduce anxiety

Yoga helps to alleviate the physical discomfort that anxiety causes. Yoga also helps to stretch, and balance the muscles.

Yoga improves the quality of life

Yoga practises improve muscular strength, body flexibility, respiratory and cardiovascular function, aid in addiction recovery, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. It also improves sleep patterns and improves overall well-being.

Practising yoga regularly improves mental clarity, promotes bodily awareness, reduces chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centres attention and sharpens concentration.

Yoga may boost immunity

Physical activity, food control, breathing methods and focus are all used to strengthen the body and relax the mind. Through this, your immune power increases significantly.

Yoga improves balance

Yoga is great for strengthening and extending muscles that are important for balance. Static balance is the capacity to stand still without wobbling. Dynamic balance is the ability to anticipate and react to changes as you move. You can easily learn and empower these balances through yoga.

Yoga improves cardiovascular functioning

Yoga has been shown to assist enhance cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate and other risk factors. Yoga postures and breathing methods help to keep oxygen and nutrient-rich blood flowing freely to each cell.

Yoga improves sleep

Yoga improves sleep

People who practised yoga said it helped them sleep better. Practising yoga before bedtime is a great method to let go of everything you’re holding onto mentally or physically before falling asleep peacefully.

Yoga improves self-esteem

The current study found that executing four standing yoga positions for a brief period of time boosted state self-esteem when compared to normal exercises and workouts.

A few minutes of Nadi shodhan pranayama will help you relax, remove stress and increase your confidence.

Yoga improves bone health

One reason to incorporate yoga into your daily routine is to improve bone health. Everyday yoga practice can assist to strengthen bones and lower the risk of osteoporosis. Even research supports the concept that daily yoga practice can help avoid fractures and lower the incidence of osteoporosis.  As a result, it is critical to take precautions now in order to avoid issues later.

Yoga promotes better posture and body awareness 

Yoga practices focus on hand, wrist, arm and shoulder alignment correction. This structural alignment is excellent for posture improvement.

Yoga improves brain functioning

Your brain cells build new connections as you practise yoga. Owing to this, changes in brain structure and function occur leading to enhanced cognitive abilities such as learning and memory. Yoga improves memory, attention, consciousness, cognition and language by strengthening areas of the brain.

Yoga help with burnout

Yoga can reduce and potentially prevent burnout symptoms by fostering relaxation. Yoga can help you avoid burnout and a variety of other health issues for years to come. It is widely regarded as one of the most effective methods for preventing stress and issues in life.

Risks and side effects of yoga

Yoga has few adverse effects and it is generally considered safe:

Complications with glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disorder in which too much pressure is behind the eyeball, causing vision loss. The ocular pressure rises in some yoga positions, which might cause issues with this eye ailment.

Aggravation of high blood pressure

Inversion positions and forced breathing can also raise blood pressure. Certain advanced yoga techniques such as fire breathing may be inappropriate if you have pre-existing hypertension.

Muscle strain

A large muscle group has been strained while practising Yoga. You can get muscle strain when you ignore your body’s warning indications and strive to stretch beyond your known limits. Stretch until the point where you feel a gentle tug and not a strong tug.

Back injury

Over vigorous yoga exercises can aggravate your back, especially in your lumbar spine. You could have a major spinal adverse effect if you round your back too much or try to go too far before you’ve warmed up.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you should see your doctor before performing yoga. It is a good idea to practise under the supervision of a trained teacher to keep your side effects favourable.

Summing up

Yoga is good for our general health. Yoga encompasses a wide range of disciplines, the majority of which focus on meditative techniques rather than physical exertion. Yoga is a discipline you can undertake every day because it is not confined to physical action.

FAQ’S

1.What are the 5 major types of yoga? 

The five major important types of yoga are:
1. Power yoga
2. Vinyasa yoga
3. Hatha yoga
4. Ashtanga yoga
5. Iyengar yoga

2.Which type of yoga is best? 

Every yoga has its own benefits. However, yoga without a strain on body muscles is always considered to be the best of all.

3.What type of yoga is vinyasa? 

Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga in which you move from one pose to the next. A Vinyasa yoga session has a flow to it, however, the specific poses and pace vary from one instructor to the next.

4.What is the difference between Hatha and Ashtanga yoga? 

Hatha yoga begins with physical postures and progresses to improved meditation, but ashtanga yoga begins with self-awareness and then moves on to physical postures and meditation.

5.What is the difference between Iyengar and vinyasa? 

Vinyasa is ideal for those who desire an energetic, quick workout. Iyengar yoga is regarded for being a precise kind of yoga. Here, attention to precision and good body alignment is crucial. In contrast to Vinyasa, each position is held for a specific amount of time.

6.What is the most relaxing type of yoga?

Restorative yoga is probably the most evident relaxing yoga practice. This yoga lets your body and mind relax and unwind.

7.Is surya namaskar Vinyasa Yoga? 

Any Vinyasa flow practice begins with Sun Salutations. In the Ashtanga Vinyasa System, there are two forms of Surya Namaskara. There are nine Vinyasas in the first.

8. Can we drink water before yoga? 

Drinking water before doing yoga will help you stay hydrated. This allows your body to absorb water and fully hydrate itself before you begin exercising.

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