A Quick Yoga Introduction

The power of yoga has been used for thousands of years. Its healing and relaxation properties have always been known but it is just recently that the mainstream has accepted it as a way to relieve stress and improve mental and physical well being.

yoga

What is yoga?

Yoga is a form of exercise, thought to have been invented in India roughly 4000 years ago. It aims to improve physical and mental well being using breathing techniques and various poses designed to increase flexibility and core strength. Although it was once seen as a strange pass time it is now widely practiced in the modern world.

Yoga can be practiced by people of all ages and ability. You don’t need to be physically fit to practice yoga.

Yoga and Anxiety

Yoga has many health benefits including increased strength and flexibility but is also designed to help the mind.

Yoga is a spiritual experience as well as one of strength. The focus on breathing is proven to relief tension and lower blood pressure.

Yoga can help anxiety as part of a relaxation regime or by itself. One important thing to do is to buy into the whole philosophy or you wont see the whole benefit.

Most people practice the poses and get the benefit of additional strength and flexibility. Which is nice. But if you open your mind to the meditation side of yoga you will get so much more out of it.

Yoga styles

Most people don’t realize but there are a few different yoga styles. Some concentrate more on strength, others on balance and others on breathing techniques. One type is not better than another but if you are trying to relax and sooth anxiety i would strongly recommend a type that concentrates on breathing and meditation techniques.

Where to start?

Most people start with a book but the best way to start is to join a class. You can’t beat having an instructor correcting your poses or demonstrating breathing techniques.

Yoga classes are everywhere. There is probably one right near your house. Here are a few links to help you find classes nearby:

 

Yoga Poses

Yoga consists of a series of poses, or asana as they are known, designed to strengthen your body and increase flexibility and balance.

It is thought that there are 1300 poses but most people only every practice the 84 classic asana. And out of the 84 most people probably only practice a handful!

The four most important are:

  1. siddhasana
  2. padmasana
  3. bhadrasana
  4. simhasana

If you click through to the Wikipedia pages above you will likely recognize these poses.

This is the start of a series of posts on yoga, keep your eyes on the website for further posts.