The Benefits of Yoga: Not Just a Fad, But a Lifestyle

The Benefits of Yoga: Not Just a Fad, But a Lifestyle
Photo Attribution: 
Tom Mooring / flickr

Born in ancient India more than 500 years ago, yoga (which means “to unite”) is a path of spiritual growth. It involves a series of techniques that invites the integration of our bodies, minds and spirits in order to achieve physical strength and flexibility as well as mental harmony. It is said that a person who practices yoga regularly will become happier, healthier and achieve complete serenity.

Yes I know, it is kind of hard to believe that a series of mental and physical trainings can change our life so positively; I mean seriously, are we really supposed to believe that we can become stronger, more flexible, healthier, kinder and more mentally stable just by practicing the teachings of yoga? Well, the answer is yes; yoga is more than just a fad, in fact, yoga is one of the best things we can do for ourselves; yoga is the ever evolving lifestyle that allows us join our bodies and minds together to reach the highest level of harmony.

Many people do not really understand yoga; they hear the word and instantly think of a very bendy woman contorting her limbs into seemingly impossible postures. And yes, stretching is certainly a very big part of this practice, but it is merely a fragment. Meditation, breathing and exercise are the three main sectors of yoga, and while these sectors are often broken up and practiced separately, to truly reap all the benefits of yoga, all three structures should be studied in unison. Yoga meditation will encourages a quieter more positive mind, while yoga exercises strengthen our bodies and breathing repairs internal imbalances.

Everyone has their own reason for practicing yoga, some may want to achieve more flexibility while others may be seeking the teachings to better manage stress, whatever the reason, yoga can help. The benefits of yoga are seemingly infinite; a student of this practice can achieve a stronger immune system, internal detoxing and improved balance and mental clarity, as well as overall strength and flexibility. There are many different types of yoga, each coming with its own set of benefits and skill requirements, below are the five most popular types of yoga.

Five Most Popular Types of Yoga:

  1. Hatha Yoga: Hatha yoga is one of the most common types of teachings that include asana posturing and pranayama breathings and energy control. This version is gentle enough for beginners, the teachings has levels, from easy to more challenging. Students seek Hatha to achieve all three sectors of yoga.
  2. Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa yoga strongly resembles Hatha as it too involves the integration of meditation and exercise. However, with Vinyasa the focus is on sun salutation poses and breathing techniques.
  3. Raja Yoga: Raja yoga emphasizes on the mental aspects of the teaching with guided meditation. With Raja students will achieve mental clarity and higher spiritual self-realization and appreciation.
  4. Kripalu Yoga: Kripalu involves holding poses for an extended time. The goals include improve concentration, flexibility and inner awareness.
  5. Power Yoga: Power yoga includes the combination of strength training with yoga poses and meditative breathing. This type of yoga is growing more popular as its benefits include weight loss, muscle building and increased endurance and flexibility.

A student of yoga is always learning and always improving themselves from the inside out in order to achieve physical strength and inner peace.