According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NCCIH, yoga is a mind and body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation or relaxation. “Yoga in its full form combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation and a distinct philosophy.”
My favorite types of yoga
There are a variety of different yoga styles. Here are a few that I practice:
This type of yoga is performed in a 95-105 degree temperature environment which helps promote flexibility, detoxification and the prevention of injury. It focuses on muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss.
This type of yoga incorporates postures, regulated breathing and meditation to achieve enlightenment or self-realization.
This type of yoga combines stretching, strength training and meditative breathing. Power yoga does not pause between poses.
This type of yoga allows for muscles to relax by lying on blocks, blankets and bolsters.
This type of yoga focuses on the coordination of breath and movement.
The Benefits of Yoga
Some benefits of practicing yoga are:
1. Positive body image and increased self-esteem
- Yoga develops self-awareness. It focuses on your body’s abilities and not how you look.
2. Mindful eating
- Research has shown that yoga has helped mindful eating. Practicing yoga helps with awareness of the body, and this awareness can carry over to mealtime.
- Research has shown that yoga helps in weight loss. Mindful eating leads to positive relationships with food. It can make people more sensitive to hunger and fullness cues.
4. Fitness level
- Yoga helps strengthen muscles and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness.
5. Heart benefits
- Yoga can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
6. Stress regulation
- There is evidence that yoga helps increase heart rate variability and that can cause the body to respond to stress more flexibly.
- Managing stress helps with relaxation, sleep, tension, calmness and concentration.
7. Improved mood
- Studies have shown that yoga improves mood and the quality of life for the elderly.
8. Back Pain Relief
- An increase in flexibility and muscle strength, relaxation, stress reduction and body awareness all play a role in relieving back pain.
Just like the variations and benefits of yoga, there are also many different ways to practice yoga. One way is to go and take a class. I’ve taken Recovery Yoga, Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and Hatha Yoga through RecSports at the University of Florida and Bikram yoga classes in Jacksonville, Florida. Another way is to practice at home with online videos to structure your own yoga session. I do this when I don’t have the time to make a class.
How do you practice yoga?