Yoga is an ancient practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote balance between body and mind. Over the years, yoga has gained popularity worldwide due to its numerous physical and mental health benefits.
In commemoration of World Yoga Day, which is celebrated on June 21, it is the perfect time to explore how this discipline can improve your overall well-being. This is why we say that yoga will change your life. From flexibility and balance to muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and stress reduction, yoga offers a holistic approach to health care.
It is known for its ability to improve the body’s flexibility. Yoga postures work different muscle groups and stretches, gradually increasing the range of motion in the joints. With regular practice, you will notice how your body becomes more flexible, allowing you to perform daily activities more easily and reducing the risk of injury.
Balance is essential in all areas of life and yoga can help you improve it. Through specific postures that challenge your stability, you strengthen the main muscles responsible for stability, such as those of the legs, and the core. This not only helps you stay steady on the mat but also improves your balance in everyday activities, such as walking or playing sports.
Although it is often perceived as a gentle practice, yoga can also be an excellent way to build muscle strength. Many postures require you to hold and maintain your own body weight, which puts considerable strain on the muscles. Over time, you will notice how your body gets stronger, improving endurance and muscle tone.
Although it is not an intense cardiovascular exercise, it can have a positive impact on heart health. Dynamic postures, such as sequencing, can raise the heart rate and improve blood circulation. In addition, the practice of yoga is associated with lowering blood pressure, balancing cholesterol levels, and reducing stress, factors that contribute to overall cardiovascular health.
One of the most well-known benefits of yoga is its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Through a combination of postures, conscious breathing techniques, and meditation, it helps to calm the mind and relieve accumulated tension in the body. Regular practice can reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase the production of endorphins, which generate feelings of well-being and happiness.
THE MOST POPULAR YOGA STYLES
The different styles share the same basic asanas or postures that are part of the ancient tradition of yoga and have been passed down through the ages. Although the asanas may be the same, the way they are taught, sequenced, and practiced may vary depending on the focus of the particular style. Each style of yoga has its own philosophy and approach, which can influence the way postures are approached. Some of the best-known styles are:
It is suitable for beginners and focuses on physical postures and breathing techniques. It is a gentle and slow form of yoga that seeks to balance physical and mental energy.
It is characterized by fluid movements and transitions synchronized with the breath. Practitioners move from one posture to another in a continuous sequence, creating a dynamic and energetic practice. It improves endurance, strength, and flexibility.
It is a vigorous and challenging style that follows a specific sequence of postures. It focuses on breath control, the flow of fluid movements, and concentration. This practice is intense and physically demanding, ideal for those looking for an athletic challenge.
Also known as Hot Yoga, it is performed in a room with high temperature and humidity. The sequence consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The combination of heat and specific postures helps to improve flexibility and detoxification of the body.
It focuses on awakening inner energy through postures, breathing, mantra chanting, and meditation. It seeks to balance the chakras and promote deeper spiritual awareness. It is considered a more spiritual and transformative approach.
It is characterized by maintaining passive postures for prolonged periods of time. The objective is to work on the connective tissues and fasciae of the body, improving flexibility and joint mobility. It is a relaxing and meditative practice that promotes calm and introspection.