Benefits of Yoga
February 22, 2011 - Posted by
It seems that lately, everyone keeps telling me to try yoga. In fact, now that I think about it, no one has ever told me NOT to try yoga. At my gym, they have yoga classes, but truthfully I’m a little intimidated, being a newbie and all. I picture everyone (except me) knowing what they’re doing and I make a total fool of myself. Realistically, I know this isn’t the case. All I have to do is tell the instructor that I’m new and she would make sure I know what I’m doing.
So why does everyone suggest yoga? Because there are so many benefits! Flexibility, strength and balance are the most common we hear about. But that’s not all! It can help with stress, blood pressure, mood, weight control, posture, circulation, fatigue and more.
In any case, I was determined to take a class, so I purchased the DVD Rodney Yee’s Yoga For Beginners and tried it this weekend. I’m glad I did because in the beginning, the instructors go over common poses and show you how to do them correctly. They also let you know common mistakes people make. If I hadn’t gone through the beginning, I would not have gotten as much out of the poses.
But did you know that there are different styles of yoga? This great list from Spark People.com provided the following descriptions:
- Ashtanga yoga (also referred to as Power yoga) is a fast-paced, intense yoga style. It focuses on constant movement from one pose to the next. However, this system does allow each student to work at her own pace.
- Bikram, or Hot yoga, is practiced in an environment where the temperature is 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat promotes intense sweating that will loosen tight muscles and facilitate cleansing of the body.
- Hatha yoga is a general term. These workouts usually include basic introductory yoga poses, and move at a gentle and slow pace.
- Iyengar yoga may be the most popular style practiced in the United States. With this style, poses are held for a longer duration. The purpose of this is for students to recognize the subtleties of each posture and to pay attention to their musculoskeletal system and body alignment. Using props (blocks, belts, blankets, etc.) to accommodate a variety of fitness levels and special needs is common in Iyengar yoga.
- Vinyasa yoga includes more aggressive stretches. These workouts focus on sun salutations and the connection of breath and movement.
There are over 100 different yoga poses. This website lists a few common poses with photos and descriptions of how it’s done.
Lastly, here is a great website I stumbled on - Yoga Journal. A great resource for all things yoga.