Yoga was initially well-known only in India. However, yoga has become a huge hit all across the globe for the last several decades. Almost everyone has at least heard about yoga even if they don’t know what it is exactly. It has become so popular that even celebrities have jumped on this bandwagon which has become a part of the modern lifestyle.
The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the Rig Veda which is the sacred ancient text written in Sanskrit.
What comes to mind when you think of yoga? Do you imagine bending and twisting your body into odd positions? Or are you conjuring images of people meditating with their legs crossed? You also tend to hear words like inner peace, calm and balance. This leads us to question:
What is Yoga?
“Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “union,” “bind,” or “yoke”. Basically, it means uniting or integrating your mind, body, soul and universal consciousness.
Yoga helps to harmonise the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of yourself in order to experience and achieve peace and self-realisation. This is achieved by using different yoga practices such as the pranayama (breath regulation practices), asanas (poses) and meditation.
This article explores the different types of yoga, methods on how to learn yoga, the many benefits you reap by practising yoga and where you can learn yoga.
What Equipments are Needed for Yoga?
Want to start learning yoga from home? One of the best investments one can make before starting to learn yoga is to make sure you have the right equipment to support the yoga movements in order to maximise the results of your exercise. This will not only assist in achieving proper positions but can avoid unwanted accidents like slips and falls.
Having proper yoga equipment can also make you more comfortable when doing yoga movements which will make it more enjoyable and fun.
In order to perform yoga movements freely, wearing the right clothes is necessary. Do not wear loose pants and shirts as they can interfere with yoga movements. Choose pants and shirts that are elastic and absorb sweat well. Clothes that are a good fit are said to not only aid in blood circulation but ease pressure away from muscles.
Use a yoga mat as a base to perform yoga movements. Yoga mats will make your experience more comfortable while trying out new moves and poses. Yoga mats also serve to prevent injuries and cushion hard impacts if you slip.
Even though a yoga block was invented before the yoga mat, it is gaining popularity only now. A yoga block is a tool that is used as an extension of the arm but is also used to support the body while doing yoga. This tool is usually used by beginners who are not yet proficient in yoga movements as it helps them settle better into yoga positions. Yoga blocks can be made from wood chips, wood, or even thick foam.
A yoga strap is a tool used to perfect body posture when doing yoga. This tool is mainly used when you are in a sitting position to hold your position. There are two types of yoga straps which are the belt strap which is shaped like a belt and the infinity strap which is shaped like a double circle strap.
Different Types of Yoga
There are various styles of yoga that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.
If you are thinking about taking up yoga, you may wonder which type of yoga is the most suitable for your needs. Let’s explore some of the popular types of yoga poses and styles that you may often hear or see at yoga studios around you.
Practising Hatha yoga will give you the ability to recognize basic postures and names of poses or yoga movements easily. It also teaches breathing techniques. This yoga is mainly focused on attaining spiritual perfection.
Ashtanga yoga is very dynamic, intense, and often feels very athletic as it involves a series of poses that you must follow which is commonly referred to as the Ashtanga series. It is an athletic version of Hatha yoga. It has fixed postures over the course of six levels.
his type of yoga usually flows dynamically between poses and requires coordination between the body, posture, and breath. It is said to be one of the best starting points for people who want to learn yoga. It helps with losing weight because it increases your heart rate which in turn boosts metabolism.
Hot yoga is a type of yoga performed in a hot room with a temperature of 30 to 40 degrees Celsius with a series of 26 movements. This type of yoga helps reduced stress and increases flexibility. Since people actually sweat a lot in hot yoga, it is said to help with losing weight as well.
Aerial yoga allows you to achieve more challenging poses such as headstands more easily. This yoga challenges you as it keeps you off the ground. This in turn is an effective way to not only improve your strength but also your flexibility.
How to Learn Yoga?
With the advancement of technology and information, the benefits of yoga for one’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health have been exposed to many around the world. Unlike most exercises, yoga not looks into mental and physical health but it also highlights the importance of emotional and spiritual health makes it wildly popular.
There are many methods available in order to learn, practice and master yoga. However, before you start learning, stop and ask yourself why do you want to learn yoga. There can be multiple reasons for you to learn this ancient art. Your motivation to learn yoga will determine which type of yoga classes you want to join. For example, if you are looking at losing weight, you might want to consider Vinyasa yoga or hot yoga. If spirituality is what you are after, then Hatha yoga might be better suited for you.
Take your time to ponder over your motivation and goals to learn yoga before you move on to the next step as this will determine not only the type of yoga but your overall journey.
You can learn yoga using the various videos on YouTube or even download suitable apps that will teach you many aspects of yoga such as meditation or breathing techniques.
If you prefer to face to face contact, you can choose to attend physical classes. One might argue that attending physical classes has an added advantage as you will receive specific guidance from your instructor to not only improve your poses but have someone to help you reach your goals. Another great method to learn yoga is by hiring a yoga instructor from Superprof. This way, you have the flexibility to choose between attending physical and online classes.
Benefits of Yoga
A number of studies prove that the combination of breathing, and physical and mental exercises in yoga can provide benefits for the body. Here are some of the benefits of yoga for better physical and mental health.
Good for the Heart
A combination of yoga practice routines and adopting a healthy lifestyle can slow down the development of heart disease.
A lot of people have posture problems. This is due to the long hours facing the computer. Yoga helps correct posture which can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort in the long run. It can even help straighten your spine. Postures such as downward facing dog, dolphin, wheel, and forearm stand can strengthen the muscles that stretch in the neck and shoulders to improve posture and lengthen the spine.
Boost Brain Function
A 2017 study showed that Hatha yoga improves the brain's executive function, as well as people's moods.
A recent study concluded that yoga-based meditation helps reduce the effects of fatigue by increasing interoceptive awareness.
Lower Stress Levels
Yoga can help reduce the level of stress experienced by a person. Yoga is known for its ability to relieve stress and increase relaxation.
Improves Quality of Sleep
Poor sleep quality has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and depression, among other disorders. Studies show that incorporating yoga into your routine can help improve sleep quality.
Reduce Anxiety & Depression
Yoga activities are designed to increase your ability to solve and move against life's challenges, even in stressful situations, and help fight fatigue, lethargy and agitation related to depression and anxiety.
Where to Learn Yoga in Malaysia?
There are many places not only around the Klang Valley but all over Malaysia that offer affordable and effective yoga sessions by experienced teachers. Check out Where to Learn & Practice Yoga to know more.
Sign up for yoga classes today with an experienced yoga instructor with Superprof.
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