Who knew that bending, breathing and meditation could be so beneficial? We did! While some people may not be familiar with the practice of yoga, the basic moves originated more than 5,000 years ago. The term “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke, or join or unite. The concept of yoga comes from the idea of joining mind, body and soul together to achieve balance. Yoga is generally low-impact and can be enjoyed by most everyone. Through a combination of meditation, breathing exercises and physical postures, yoga helps you to improve physically and mentally.
Numerous Yoga Styles
There are a variety of yoga types, but Hatha Yoga is the form most commonly practiced in the United States. Hatha Yoga focuses on the physical postures and poses, and conscious breathing. Hatha Yoga is a great introductory style for beginners and is generally the foundation for other styles of yoga. There are several other styles common in the United States:
- Anusara. May be the most spiritual type of yoga. Focuses on looking inward and helping yogis open their hearts.
- Ashtanga. Every movement has a breath. This type of yoga follows an exact sequence of poses in the same order every time. This is a physically demanding style.
- Bikram. Specific yoga regimen following a series of 26 set postures. Performed in a room with a minimum temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Hot. Similar to Bikram, but deviates in small ways. The studio room is heated for this style. Can refer to any style of yoga performed in a heated room.
- Iyengar. Focuses on meticulous attention to proper pose alignment. Use of various props is common.
- Kundalini. Focuses on self-awareness and higher consciousness. Combines meditation, breathing techniques, physical exercise and mantra.
- Vinyasa. Vinyasa means “flow” in Sanskrit. This style is known for fluid and movement focused practices. There are smooth transitions from pose to pose.
- Yin. Slow-paced, with poses that are held for long durations. Targets joints and connective tissues rather than muscles.
The Benefits of Yoga
There are a variety of mental and physical benefits to practicing yoga:
- Improved circulation
- Increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone
- Maintain a balanced metabolism
- Improved respiration and energy
- Improved posture and balance
- Protection from injury
- Helps manage stress
- Builds mental focus
What to Wear for Yoga
If you’re a yoga beginner, it’s important to start under the guidance of a trained instructor. You should choose breathable clothing that allows freedom of movement and allows but also allows your yoga instructor to monitor your pose and posture. While yoga is low-impact, you can still expect to sweat in most classes. Wearing clothing that pulls sweat away from the body and dries quickly will promote overall comfort to help you get the most out of your class. It’s also important that your clothes be stretchy so that you can move freely through the poses. Augusta Active yoga wear is designed specifically for the needs of beginner and advanced yogis. Namaste!