Originating in ancient India, yoga has been practiced for centuries. It has evolved through time to fit the spiritual, physical, and mental health needs of diverse people and cultures. To truly immerse oneself in this practice, it is helpful to understand the philosophy, types, and benefits of yoga.
The philosophical core of yoga is the union of body, mind, and spirit. We often view them as separate. We miss opportunities to heal physical ailments through mind over matter. We miss opportunities to lift spirits by relieving physical tension. Yoga focuses on bringing these elements into alignment. Yoga Basics explains each of the dynamic underpinnings of this foundational philosophy.
There are several types of yoga, each highlighting different tenets of the philosophy. Regardless of the type, always follow the instructor carefully, tell them about any injuries, and alert them to any pain. Yoga is meant to challenge but never hurt. Huffington Post provides this detailed chart to help you choose a style based in one of these main categories:
Yoga benefits us both internally and externally. It is an excellent form of exercise, because it gets the heart rate up and tones the muscles, but it is much gentler on the joints and easier to modify to every body’s needs. The Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine and the International Journal of Yoga review two studies highlighting some of these benefits, including:
The yoga philosophy has stood the test of time due to its immeasurable benefits, especially in regard to overall physical wellbeing. Its evolution has created styles to suit every body, mind, and spirit. Try a few classes or videos of different styles until you find the ones that best meet your needs. A little bit goes a long way, so begin a yoga journey today.