What is Yoga 101?

Yoga 101

Yoga consists of several branches and practices that aim to integrate body, mind and spirit. In the West, hatha yoga which emphasizes on physical poses and breathing techniques, has become popular. Read on to learn about yoga 101 in this article, which may well kick-start you on a wonderful journey of self-discovery, awareness, and better physical and mental health.

Is Yoga a Religion?
To practice yoga 101 you do not have believe in any religion or dogma. Even atheists and secular-minded people can practice yoga to gain physical and mental benefits. The Sanskrit terminology and mantras that accompany traditional yoga classes can be ignored, as yoga practice in the West has transformed itself into an effective industry for physical health. In fact, yoga has become much more popular and mainstream in the US than in India, the land of its origin.

Benefits of Yoga 101

Scientific research has conclusively proved the many physical and mental benefits accrued by regular yoga practice. Read on to learn more about these benefits which could motivate you to start today.

Physical Benefits of Yoga 101

Increased Flexibility
Yoga poses and stretches release tension in tight muscles and make you more flexible. Yoga increases the range of motion of your joints and muscles. With consistent practice, your hips, shoulders, back and hamstrings become more flexible.

Improved Strength
Yoga increases strength as many poses need you to support your body weight. Examples are the Tree Pose and Downward Facing Dog. You also need to transition slowly from one pose to another, which enhances strength. Yoga makes your muscles leaner and longer and increases muscle tone.

Pain Prevention
As you become stronger and more flexible, your body is ably to avert many types of pain. For example, back pain is common among drivers and computer workers who sit for long periods in the same position. This causes spinal compression and tightness. Yoga can help such people by improving their alignment and general posture.

Effective Breathing
Most of the time, our breathing is shallow and ineffective. Pranayama breathing techniques teach us how to utilize the full capacity of the lungs. Effective yoga breathing techniques flood our body with oxygen and energy. Patients suffering from respiratory ailments can especially gain as pranayama can remove blockages from the nasal passages. In fact, pranayama calms our mind even as it floods our body with energy and vitality.

Mental Benefits of Yoga 101

Calmness of Mind
Hatha yoga is called meditation in motion. By performing the poses with awareness and concentration, we become one with our body. This experience calms and refreshes our mind. Yoga meditation techniques create a state of relaxed awareness in our mind. We learn to detachedly witness the various thoughts flooding our monkey mind. This prevents negative feelings from taking root and affecting our body and mind. With regular meditation practice our mind will become still and divine.

Stress Reduction
Stress is fast becoming a killer ailment in today’s hectic world. Traffic, pollution, work pressures and interpersonal tensions are some causes that can wreak havoc on our body and mind. Yoga can soothe our troubled body and mind. Yoga poses like Shavasana (Corpse Pose) and the technique of yoga nidra (yogic sleep) can erase tension and stress from our mind and body. Yoga teaches us to you give our best to the present moment, and stop worrying about the past or future.

Increased Awareness
A major benefit of yoga practice is increased awareness of body and mind. We learn to exercise within our body’s limitations. Mentally too, we realize immediately when our mind is affected by negative or unhealthy thoughts. Increased awareness makes us more knowledgeable about the strengths and limitations of our body and mind.

Yoga 101 is one of the best steps you can take to improve your body, mind and spirit. Regular yoga practice will fill you with bliss and joy, and you will look forward to each dawn with eagerness and pleasure.

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