We have the Yoga Day coming up this Friday on 21st June 2019. On this occasion, I wanted to share with you what I personally found great about this gentle form of exercise which builds you slow and steady from within.
I once signed up for a climb of Mt.Kilimanjaro (it is a high altitude climb which is challenging and needs physical training) in one freak moment of surplus enthusiasm. I was then on the wrong side of my thirties and not much into exercising. My life then as a working mother with 2 young kids didn’t leave me with much motivation for anything apart from the basic things needed to keep life and work going. Now that I had signed up for this rather ambitious hike, I had to suddenly shake myself up and start doing something to prepare my body.
An early morning yoga class was the easiest to manage and I started it right away. I was lucky to find an excellent teacher who would start the lessons with a chant in her honeydew voice and ended them with a ten-minute relaxation which had us mentally levitating blissfully at the end of it! I loved the ritual and got addicted to it. As months passed, I could not only feel the stress melt away but also my flexibility, form and endurance increase slowly but steadily. And eventually, I could stand on top of Mt.Kilimanjaro with only Yoga and weekend long runs as preparation for a few months! Yoga is not just an exercise, but a spiritual journey which builds you from inside out.
What are the popular styles of yoga and what is unique about each of them?
Hatha Yoga: Attention to alignment. Poses are static and held for long. Asanas focus on building strength, balance, flexibility, and range of movement. Hatha yoga also involves pranayama, which is the regulation and control of breath.
Sivananda Yoga: Based on the five yogic principles: proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking. The asana practice is usually twelve basic postures or variations of the Asanas, with Sun Salutations and Savasana
Vinyasa: A type of yoga with flowing postures. The poses in vinyasa are often fluid and designed to create a clear connection between breath and movement
Ashtanga Yoga: Asanas synchronize breath with movement as you move through a series of postures. The series of postures are practiced the same way every time and consist of Sun Salutation A, Sun Salutation B, a standing sequence, and a closing sequence
Iyengar Yoga: The emphasis on alignment in the asanas using breath control through pranayama and the use of props (bolsters, blocks, and straps.) This style of yoga is usually taught at a slower pace designed to assist students to get deeper into the postures.
Power Yoga: A more active approach to the traditional Hatha yoga poses. The Ashtanga yoga poses are performed more quickly and with added core exercises and upper body work.
What are the benefits of yoga?
- Helps in back pain, arthritis, recovery from injuries and strengthening.
- Improves flexibility, balance, and strength.
- Increases the heart rate/blood circulation, endurance and stamina.
- Reduces stress and provide relaxation to body and mind, helps focus better
- With enhanced flexibility, stability and physical awareness, the risk of injury are reduced.
- Boosts immunity, general wellbeing.
Yoga for pre-Diabetes / Diabetes
Some postures like depicted here help to stimulate the pancreas by improving blood flow to the organ. Yoga should be supplemented by other healthy habits, including proper diet and rest.
5 best asanas for pre-hypertension / hypertension
Yoga practice is pacifying and can bring the nervous system into balance and some asanas work better than others for actually lowering blood pressure.
So friends, adopt this ancient Indian wisdom of yoga and make it a part of your daily routine to reap the benefits of holistic wellness!