We hear about it all of the time, yoga meditation, yoga training, yoga classes, and yoga practice. So, what exactly is Yoga? Where did it originate from and how exactly does it affect our health? While nobody knows just where and when yoga originated, we do know that the earliest source of information on yoga comes from India and is widely popular for its’ meditation practices. Yoga focuses more on breathing, posture, and meditating, but not so strenuous exercise. It’s more about posing or standing/sitting in a relaxed state, taking slow, deep breaths, and focusing. As being near to India, also yoga in Nepal is highly Influenced and people practice yoga in high scale.
Mental, Physical, Spiritual
The three main ingredients you’ll cook with while practicing yoga and yoga training, are your mental stability, your physical strength, and your spirituality. Instructors tell you not to think about religion or beliefs per se when they say spirituality either, spirituality is more about separating your body from your mind and losing that prideful feeling, reaching into your soul and pushing past that earthly flesh.
- Mental – Yoga training will tell you that you will need lots of mental focus. Believe it or not, yoga wasn’t about exercise when it first came about, it was more about focusing mentally and using meditation to “free” your mind.
- Physical – The physical part of yoga contains breathing techniques, exercise, poses, and posture. The physical moves you make during yoga training or exercising.
- Spiritual – Perhaps the main ingredient in yoga, is how spiritually rooted this practice truly is. Ancient Indians had this philosophy; yoga is much like a tree with roots, branches, and fruits. There are six branches of yoga:
- Karma Yoga
- Raja Yoga
- Hatha Yoga
- Bhakti Yoga
- Tantra Yoga
- Jnana Yoga
Depending on your overall health goal, you can determine which type of Yoga may be good for you to obtain the results you want.
Types and styles of yoga
There is no standard way of “doing” yoga, there are no set rules you absolutely must follow, and there is no form of yoga training or exercising that is superior to another. As long as you are focused on breathing, exercising with your poses, your strength, and your flexibility, and as long as you decide which is right for your overall health goal as we stated before. Just like there are branches of yoga, there are also types and styles of yoga as well. These types of yoga styles below can be chosen depending on what you are personally focused on achieving your overall health and goals.
- Ashtanga Yoga
- Bikram Yoga
- Hatha Yoga
- Iyengar Yoga
- Jivamukti Yoga
- Kripalu Yoga
- Kundalini Yoga
- Power Yoga
- Prenatal Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
Each of these styles caters to specific areas of your body and mind that you are trying to reach, such as prenatal yoga, of course widely used for pregnant women who need some sort of exercise that’s not too hard on their body or the baby. It’s also instructed that if you are a beginner or have some sort of health issue; consult with your doctor or health care provider if this is good or right for your condition. Of course, yoga and yoga training has some of the least physical training exercises in the world, so even beginners shouldn’t be afraid to try it.
Yoga exercises you MUST incorporate into your yoga training
While there is no set way to do yoga, as stated previously, there are still exercises and techniques that have to be included to at least be considered yoga.
- Poses & Postures
- Stretching & holding the stretch
- Using the 12 basic ‘asanas’ in yoga
- Specific breathing techniques
How does yoga affect our health?
Since yoga isn’t really going to make you break a sweat, and it doesn’t require much more than special breathing, meditating and posing, how exactly does yoga affect your health and is it negatively or positively?
First, our mental health would be the most affected by yoga training and exercises. Our mental health would be the most affected as this typically is the main focus and even sometimes the point of yoga itself. The meditation, the slow breathing exercises, and the mental focus are going to benefit your mental health by stimulating and strengthening your brain. This is proven since the American Psychological Association says that yoga training and exercises are now part of the practices at many psychotherapy offices.
Yoga also reduces stress and calms down your nervous system, which is pretty much acting as a free, natural anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication. Freeing us from our stress and calming us down inside and out can and will result in the reduction of mental health problems.
Second, our physical health and yoga – is it just as promising as the benefits of our mental health and yoga training? The answer is 100% yes! Yoga positively affects your physical strength in many ways like increasing your muscles, your tone, and your flexibility. It even gives you the ability to perform better and more efficiently during a game, or an interview, or even at your strenuous job. We can’t forget about your posture either, how much this aspect will be affected once you implement yoga into your life. You’ll never slump and have back problems from posture ever again!
Yoga and the amazing improvement to your overall health
Now that it’s no secret just how special yoga is for your mind, body, and soul, we want to take it just a step further and fill you in on just how special yoga is for your overall health. Reducing stress, calming down your nervous system, practicing specific breathing techniques, are all making your heart that much stronger and in the end actually is terrific for your overall heart health. Not only is yoga training great for your heart, but also for your lungs. Those breathing exercises being practiced over and over are actually allowing you to be able to breathe better with less respiratory issues.
Combining the facts that yoga helps bulk and tone up your body, with less stress, a better heart, better posture, having more energy, and even injury protection (yes, yoga can help your body train to prevent itself from injury), yoga is absolutely amazing for your overall health and is highly recommended by doctors and many other professionals.