What is Yoga?

What is Yoga?

Yoga is quickly becoming one of the most popular, if not the most popular, workout regime among those who are looking to gain flexibility, strength and even lose weight. It can be done from the privacy of your home or in a classroom. Yoga is great for reducing stress and allowing for greater relaxation. Once you get into Yoga though, you learn that it is so much more than just a way to workout and keep in shape. It is a philosophy, a passion and a way of life for many of those involved in Yoga. While you may be getting into yoga for the exercise, you may soon find yourself wrapped in the philosophy and spirituality that Yoga brings a long with it.

Where Did Yoga Come From?

Yoga is said to have originated in India during the Golden Age, nearly 26,000 years ago. The actual Sanskrit word, when broken down, means "to control", "to yoke" or "to unite". The word has also been translated to mean "joining", "uniting" and "union". The union is made between the self and the spirit. Yoga is a major part of the Hindu religion as it embodies their natural state of being and spiritual enlightenment. As a part of Hinduism, Yoga belongs to one of the six Hindu schools of philosophy. If you dig deeper, you can read about how yoga is used in conjunction with meditation. Yoga is also a major part of Buddhism as a part of their meditation practices. It has even been linked to Islam and early Christianity.Yoga today has become increasingly popular, not so much for the spiritual benefits as for the physical advantages. You can take a yoga class at your local gym, a yoga studio or from the privacy of your own home through a personal instructor or yoga dvd. From popular musicians embracing Yoga to magazines filled with yoga ads, you simply cannot get away from Yoga and the influence it has had physically and mentally for a lot of people.

Yoga Benefits

Yoga can do a lot for the human body, although it won't cure every ailment. Yoga can be worked into virtually any lifestyle or schedule. Yoga has been proven to increase health and body awareness allowing yoga participants to better control their bodies. From flexibility increases to better body alignment, Yoga can help with a variety of ailments.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

  • Increased Flexibility
  • Increased Strength
  • Improved Balance
  • Increased Stamina
  • Improved Body Alignment (reduces joint pain)

Mental Benefits of Yoga

  • Stress Reduction
  • Body Awareness
  • Better Sleep
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Relaxation
There are many more physical and mental benefits, but these are the major ones. Those who suffer from certain conditions can also benefit from yoga. Women who are pregnant or who are planning on becoming pregnant can benefit greatly from yoga.

What You Need to Get Started

Place

In order to get started, you need to first find a place to practice. You have a few decisions to make first: 1). Do you want to practice in Private or Public and 2). What is your yoga budget. Both of these questions will determine where you should practice yoga.

Places Your Can Go

  • Yoga Studio or Class
  • Local gym if you have a membership already
  • Home
  • Private Instruction in your home or other location
  • Outdoors location such as the beach, local park, etc

Costs & Things to Consider

  • Yoga Studios cost money, but you will save on supplies if the instructor provides them
  • Does your gym offer classes? If they do you may be able to do yoga for free
  • To practice at home, you will need to purchase all the equipment necessary
  • Private instructors change hourly but may offer discounted rates if you buy in bulk or pay in advance
  • Outdoors locations will require equipment and prior planning
Yoga accessories

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