|Posted by Emily Gareis on January 5, 2011 at 11:44 AM|
When you think of yoga, several images may enter your mind, bearded older men sporting turbans and contorting their bodies in incredible displays of flexibility, barefoot hippies clad in hemp, or even a bleach blonde starlet in skin hugging spandex. You may not think of your pregnant sister, a football player, the CEO in the three piece suit, or even a freckled face kid, but the truth is that people from every walk of life practice yoga. Yoga is about breathing and gentle, smooth movements and this ancient form of exercise can be stylized to suit just about any fitness level and age group.
So What’s the “Real Deal” in Yoga?
The word yoga means "union," and indeed yoga entails a union of the mind and body. It consists of a series of fluid movements and postures (known as asanas) designed to improve flexibility and range of motion, as well as deep breathing and relaxation techniques to ease stress and quiet your mind.
No one has to be a pretzel to do yoga, it’s really safe, and it's one of the best ways for adults to get into exercising or get back into exercising no matter how long you’ve been gone. You also don’t really need any special equipment or space which makes Yoga one of the best forms or exercise for someone who travels or someone who doesn’t have a lot cash to burn.
Yoga is one of the few exercises that focus specifically on the mind as well as the body. Exercise, in general, is a stress reliever, but it doesn't really incorporate that specific mental component, except for in yoga.
Now I know some of you think this is all well and good yoga still sounds a little out there to me. Now let me debunk a few common misconceptions about yoga.
Yoga is not a religion – yoga is a time-tested system of practices to help you achieve optimal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. For those who are interested in simply improving their physical health, physical postures of yoga can be of tremendous benefit. For those seeking deeper self knowledge yoga has other tools to aid them.
And yoga isn’t just for Girls either. Many pro athletes practice yoga to help keep their bodies in top shape. It’s great for flexibility, strength and stamina – in more areas than one!
You don’t have to be in perfect shape to do yoga. Yoga is not about having the perfect body. Yoga is a way to help you achieve the healthiest body and mind you can possible have. The sooner you begin your practice of yoga the sooner and the longer you’ll be able to reap its many benefits.
Still Not Convinced, Don’t Worry You Are Not Alone
People are often reluctant to start practicing yoga, but when they realize the huge benefits that regular practice can bring, they soon incorporate yoga into their daily or weekly exercise routines.
Yoga can help increase muscle power, stamina and flexibility. There is no dispute that yoga can help you physically but it can also be extremely beneficial as a stress reducer.
Stress is one of the most critical factors that impacts people’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Yoga is one of the best ways to deal with stress. Through a combination of deep stretching, meditation and breathing techniques will aid relaxation, reduce stress and calm the mind.
The overall practice of Yoga can also help combat age-related diseases like Osteoporosis, Diabetes and heart problems. (At a fraction of the cost of most drugs)
Not only that Yoga can also help with weight loss, toning the body, it helps to bring mental clarity, and you even might find that you relate to friends and family better. Yoga often inspires you to break other unhealthy habits and behaviors.
As I have said before yoga is a wonderful way to relieve stress and tension from the body and to maintain flexibility and range of motion. It can even help develop your creative ability. It is why the practice of Yoga is highly recommended to everyone, men women and children alike.
Although there are many styles of yoga, the differences are usually about emphasis, such as focusing on strict alignment of the body, coordination of breath and movement, holding the postures, or the flow from one posture to another. All of the styles share a common lineage. No style is better than another; it's simply a matter of personal preference. More important than any style is the student-teacher relationship. Yoga has also been adapted to work specifically with those with limited mobility. Yoga in a chair can provide as many benefits as doing Yoga on a mat.
This ancient practice of yoga is by far the best way to not only increase your strength and peace of mind, but also add to your stamina. Take the time you need to become aware, build a better relationship with yourself and others and become more content and confident in your daily life and overall well being.