“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self and to the self” — The Bhagavad Geeta.
Yoga helps liberate your body, mind and soul. You attain a blissful state of mind through asanas and meditation. International Yoga Day is celebrated on June 21st every year. It was internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 11, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN Address had suggested the date of June 21, as it is the longest day of the year. Yoga has its roots in India and was developed during the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5000 years ago. The word ‘yoga’ was first mentioned in the oldest holy book, the Rig Veda.
Types of yoga:
Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice. Different types of yoga might be best for different people. “A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need the same things. Here is a list of different types of yoga practices practised across the world:
1. Hatha Yoga – The Sanskrit term “hatha” refers to any yoga that teaches physical postures. It’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths.
2. Vinyasa Yoga – This is a dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way. The pace of each pose is quick.
3. Iyengar Yoga – This yoga is about precision and detail, as well as your body’s alignment in each pose. Props, from yoga blocks and blankets to straps or a ropes wall are used and each posture is held for a period of time.
4. Ashtanga Yoga – If you’re looking for a challenging yet orderly approach to yoga, try Ashtanga. Consisting of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat.
5. Bikram Yoga – Bikram consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence.
6. Hot Yoga – Hot yoga is similar to Bikram in that it’s practiced in a heated room. But teachers aren’t constrained by the 26-pose Bikram sequence.
7. Kundalini Yoga – This physically and mentally challenging practice includes kriyas — repetitive physical exercises coupled with intense breath work — while also chanting, singing and meditating. It is aimed at bringing you a higher level of self-awareness.
8. Yin Yoga – If you want to calm and balance your body and mind, this is the right yoga for you. The opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga, Yin yoga poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative practice is designed to target your deeper connective tissues.
9. Restorative Yoga – This slow-moving practice with longer holds gives your body a chance to experience deeper relaxation. You’ll also use a variety of props including blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks to fully support your body in each pose.
Here are some of the common health benefits of practising yoga:
- Helps reduce stress
- Relieves anxiety
- Improves concentration levels
- Helps reduce inflammation
- Can improve cardiac health
- Helps fight depression
- Improves quality of life
- Could reduce chronic pain
- Promotes quality of sleep
- Improves flexibility and balance
- May relieve migraines
- Promotes healthy eating habits
- Helps increase strength
- Improves immunity
Yoga is not about enrolling into a class. It is about self practise too. Here are some benefits of practising yoga all by yourself:
- It builds discipline -When we get up 15 minutes early or take off that time from our routine, it builds self-discipline.
- Intimate understanding of your body – With gradual practice, you start listening to your body. You become aware of the resistance in certain muscles or asanas that come naturally to you.
- Understanding the teachings – Certain yoga postures take time and practice. And self practice gives you the best opportunity.
- Giving time to challenging postures – Self practice gives you time to build on a certain asana.
Common mistakes in Yoga:
Have you been practising yoga watching videos or through a book. Make sure you are not making any errors and accidently causing harm to your body. Here are a few tips to take care:
1) Skipping the warm-up – Skipping warm up makes your body prone to injuries and muscle pulls.
2) Uneven Breath – Holding your breath is the biggest sin in yoga practice. And, forced retaining of the breath can lead to breakdown of the alveoli walls. Thus, practice a smooth and consistent breathing pattern, as it relaxes the muscles and nervous system.
3) Mind Full of chatter – Yoga is about connecting the body and mind. You might have the perfect posture, but incessant chatter in the mind, won’t help, relax your mind and be totally involved in yoga.
4) Pushing too hard – Do not be in a hurry to get an asana right. Unnecessary pushing may lead to injuries.
5) Uncomfortable clothes – Tight pants, uncomfortable clothes are spoilers in your yoga experience. Wear comfortable, well-fitted clothes inside-out.
6) Eating or Drinking before an hour – There is a lot of bending, twisting in yoga. Neither do you want to feel nausea, nor do you want all the energy being taken by the digestive process. So keep your stomach light and idle before the practice.
7) Skipping Shavasana – Again, time crunch is no excuse to skip Shavasana. As we practice yoga, our energy body expands. And when we lie in Shavasana the energy is centred in the body. Which instills relaxation, stillness in the body. So, lie down for at least a minute, before you complete your practice.
This International yoga day make a resolution. Dedicate a few minutes every day for your mind and body and see it reflect on goof health. Yoga with its many health benefits changes you for the better into a fitter and happier person.