It’s time to roll out your yoga mat and discover the combination of physical and mental exercises. The beauty of yoga is that you don’t have to be a yogi to reap the benefits. Whether you are young or old, overweight or fit, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. Don’t be intimidated by yoga terminology, fancy yoga studios and complicated poses. Yoga is for everyone.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a systematic practice of physical exercise, breath control, relaxation, positive thinking and meditation aimed at developing harmony in the body, mind, and environment. The practice entails physical activity, postures (called asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), relaxation, and meditation.
Benefits of Yoga
Improves your flexibility. Yoga poses work by stretching your muscles. They can help you move better and feel less stiff or tired.
Builds muscle strength. Some styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Power yoga, are very physical. Practicing one of these styles will help you improve muscle tone.
Better posture. When you're stronger and more flexible, your posture improves. Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength, since you need your core muscles to support and maintain each pose.
Improves your balance. Regularly practicing yoga increases the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance.
Relaxes your system. Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present.
Healthy lifestyle. A regular practice gets you moving and burns calories, and the spiritual and emotional dimensions of your practice may encourage you to address any eating and weight problems on a deeper level. Yoga may also inspire you to become a more conscious eater.
Increases your self-esteem. Many of us suffer from chronic low self-esteem. If you take a positive approach and practice yoga, you'll sense, initially in brief glimpses and later in more sustained views, that you're worthwhile. If you practice regularly with an intention of self-examination and betterment—you can access a different side of yourself. You'll experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that you're part of something bigger.
10 Yoga Poses You Need To Know
The building blocks of yoga are poses. These are good ones to learn as you build a regular yoga practice.
These 10 poses are a complete yoga workout. Move slowly through each pose, remembering to breathe as you move. Pause after any pose you find challenging, especially if you are short of breath, and start again when your breathing returns to normal. The idea is to hold each pose for a few, slow breaths before moving on to the next one.
This calming pose is a good default pause position. You can use child’s pose to rest and refocus before continuing to your next pose. It gently stretches your lower back, hips, thighs, knees and ankles and relaxes your spine, shoulders and neck.
Downward-facing dog strengthens the arms, shoulders and back while stretching the hamstrings, calves and arches of your feet. It can also help relieve back pain.
A commonly seen exercise, plank helps build strength in the core, shoulders, arms and legs.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
This push-up variation follows plank pose in a common yoga sequence known as the sun salutation. It is a good pose to learn if you want to eventually work on more advanced poses, such as arm balances or inversions.
This back-bending pose can help strengthen the back muscles, increase spinal flexibility and stretches the chest, shoulders and abdomen.
Seated Half-Spinal Twist Pose
This twisting pose can increase the flexibility in your back, while stretching the shoulders, hips and chest. It can also help relieve tension in the middle of your back.
Triangle, which is a part of many yoga sequences helps build strength in the legs and stretches the hips, spine, chest, shoulders, groins, hamstrings and calves. It can also help increase mobility in the hips and neck.
Beyond helping improve your balance, it can also strengthen your core, ankles, calves, thighs and spine.
This is a back-bending pose that stretches the muscles of the chest, back and neck. It also builds strength in the back and hamstring muscles.
Like life, yoga classes typically end with this pose. It allows for a moment of relaxation, but some people find it difficult to stay still in this pose. However, the more you try this pose, the easier it is to sink into a relaxing, meditative state.