What Is Yoga?
Article by Lana Waterfall
Yoga is a physical and spiritual discipline that originated in India. It is a series of techniques that work together to integrate the body and mind, allowing practitioners greater physical mobility and emotional control.
Some people practice the various yoga poses (known as asanas) primarily for mobility, while others develop a yoga practice to control stress and work towards a calmer mind. Yoga may be combined with relaxation exercises, deep breathing, or meditation in order to manage stress.
If you’re interested in starting a yoga practice, there are many ways to begin. You can choose to learn some basic yoga positions from a book or DVD, or through online classes that have been pre-recorded. However, it can be difficult to learn yoga postures and poses on your own as a novice, especially if you’ve never seen any of the postures before.
If you plan to incorporate yoga asanas into your life on a regular basis, you may want to consider finding a local class, such as a yoga for beginners workshop or a beginners class. This will allow you to see the various yoga positions demonstrated by a qualified instructor, and may reduce your potential for injury.
Yoga has many benefits when practiced regularly. People with a regular yoga routine often find that they experience lower stress levels, increased flexibility, relief from chronic aches and pains, and deeper sleep. If you struggle with stress, pain, or any physical issue, consult your doctor and a yoga instructor to see if a program can be developed to help you with your discomfort.
Yoga postures frequently focus on deep, controlled breathing as practitioners work through a series of gentle stretches. If you suffer from stress, these deep breathing techniques can be highly effective at managing your stress. Focused deep breathing is an excellent coping mechanism, and in some cases, may allow stress or anxiety sufferers to reduce or eliminate the amount of anti-anxiety medication that they are using.
The gentle stretching motions of yoga can be extremely helpful for those who suffer from achy joints, arthritis pain, pinched nerves, and more. If you suffer from these types of pain, chronic pain caused by depression, diabetes, or another medical condition, yoga may be able to help. Yoga asanas work to slowly strengthen, warm, and lengthen the muscles through a series of gentle stretches. There are specific classes and routines designed for those with chronic pain; if you suffer from this type of pain, ask your doctor for a recommendation before you begin exercise.
Most people who begin a regular yoga practice find that they are more relaxed, less stressed, and more physically flexible after practicing their routine regularly for a period of time. If you’re struggling with stress, insomnia, chronic pain, or other medical issues that are caused or triggered by a busy, stressful lifestyle, yoga may be able to help you reduce your pain and feel more comfortable in your body again. Imagine a relaxed, pain free existence – this just may be within your reach with a regular yoga practice.
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