Yoga is an ancient practice that involves movement through forms of meditation and breathing techniques. These can be done by physical poses, concentration, and deep breathing. The philosophical theory behind yoga is the act of connecting the mind, body and spirit, in order to achieve endurance, strength and calmness.
Types of Yoga
There are various types of yoga that will be more beneficial for you depending on what you are aiming to achieve.
Hatha Yoga - This is the most traditional and common form of yoga. This involves the teaching of physical postures that include breathing techniques. This is a great beginners method for those who are new to yoga. Evidence has shown that the benefits of Hatha yoga can improve the following:
- Back pain
- Your balance
- Stress management
Vinyasa Yoga - This method of yoga involves following one yoga pose with another in a seamless pattern. This is a much faster type of yoga that encourages continuous movements. You move with your breath, where the regular rhythmic breathing is done by inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Vinyasa yoga is great for those who enjoy exercise.
Yin Yoga - This is a very slow form of yoga and is the opposite of vinyasa yoga. The poses are held for several minutes at a time, creating a deeper connection with meditation. This is a great way to stretch your muscles and release tension. It is beneficial for those who want to unwind and increase their flexibility.
Iyengar Yoga - This yoga is formed based on the emphasis on precision and alignment. Concentrating on your breathing control alongside your posture, this helps you to form better body structure. The focus of pose and concentration can help to release tension and anxiety. There is evidence to suggest that Iyengar yoga is beneficial for the following:
- Your mind
- Pain relief
- Your posture
Ashtanga Yoga - This is one of the more difficult forms of yoga. The purpose of this is to practice purification of the mind and body. The movements and the poses in the method are done with power and they are intended to be physical and done with intense focus. The benefits of ashtanga yoga are similar to Hatha yoga, but due to the demanding nature of this method, the strength you gain is increased. Your body will definitely feel the effects of this form of yoga. It challenges your notion of yoga and encourages a great work out.
Bikram Yoga - This is a specific form of hot yoga where poses are practiced in a heated room, at roughly 40℃ and 40% humidity. This is traditionally taught for 90 minutes and includes 26 poses. This yoga can increase the strength within your muscles and your core balance. Evidence suggests that this method is good for reducing stress, and can increase your range of motion. This form of yoga encourages you to sweat, so it is incredibly important that you remember to stay hydrated if you practice this yoga.
Hot Yoga - Hot yoga is very similar to Bikram yoga except that you do not need to follow a 26 pose sequence. There are hot yoga benefits that aim to provide the body with a relaxed mind.
Kundalini yoga - This yoga is practiced through the act of chanting, breathing exercises and poses. It is based upon the concept of Kundalini energy, which the yoga activates and it moves along your spine. It is said that this yoga can align your chakras. This type of yoga is considered to be a spiritual form.
Restorative Yoga - This method is great for your physical, mental and emotional well-being and promotes relaxation. You can hold your pose for longer, around 5 minutes, and only repeat this with a selected number of poses in one session. This yoga is considered to be a form of healing yoga, where it restores, as the name suggests, the body to its parasympathetic nervous system function where the body is able to heal and restore itself. There is evidence to suggest that yoga benefits the following:
- The nervous system
- Your mood
- Easy on the body
Yoga can offer a variety of overall benefits that include increased flexibility, muscle strength and mental energy. Each of these encourage mental and physical relaxation, by reducing anxiety, muscle tension and stress.