What is Yoga?
Yoga, for the majority of people, is seen as an exercise to help stretch muscles and joints to make a person more flexible. If you were to go on youtube right now, you would find hundreds of yoga videos to follow.
All these videos reveal the diversity of Yoga styles and approaches. You have chair yoga, hot yoga, yoga at home, outdoor yoga, beginner yoga, etc. There is content that caters to everyone looking to start their yoga journey.
First, we have to understand what yoga even is before we get started on this journey. Physically, yoga is a means of exercise. However, it is much deeper than that. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, which means to unite.
This unity is the unity of the mind, body, and soul. Yoga looks to connect all three components of yourself through exercise and controlled breathing. Ultimately to get you to be cognizant of your mind, body, and spirit at the same time.
History of Yoga
The practice of yoga dates back thousands of years ago, before any major religion was introduced into the world. There are different opinions on where the origins of Yoga lie. Opinions range from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, to the Americas. Yet, the one place yoga thrived and was widely accepted was India.
India became the hub for yoga philosophy and practices which seeped into the culture and religious beliefs.
500BC – 800AD is known as the classical period of yoga where most of the teachings, history, and practices stem from. It is in this time frame where Indian religious scholars such as Mahavir and Buddha introduced their teachings of yoga. Coming up with the five great vows and the eightfold path.
Until today, the long-lasting history of yoga is reflected in Indian culture. That culture has been expanding to every corner of the world. Now we see yoga as a part of an array of services and activities, such as therapy, exercise workshops, etc.
The interest of Yoga
Yoga spikes the interest of so many people because of the versatility it provides. Yoga caters to so much more than exercising. It also has levels of complexity that are suited for beginners, intermediate, and advanced yoga practitioners.
From a strictly physical aspect, yoga provides an array of motions and stances for anyone looking to exercise. There are various types of yoga classes where anyone can find what world is best for them. Ultimately, wherever you are in your yoga journey, you will be able to feel a stretch.
Moving towards a more spiritual aspect of yoga. It provides clarity and calmness to people through their mindset, breathing, and actions. Individuals tap into the mindset of yoga being something that connects them to their souls and harmonizes all aspects of their being.
Different types of Yoga
There are 11 main types of yoga according to most people. Each differs slightly from the other; however, the core principles between them stay the same.
|Vinyasa yoga||Is tailored to athletes, yoga with a flow of movement.|
|Hatha yoga||Beginner yoga covers almost all other types of yoga.|
|Iyengar yoga||Rehabilitation yoga for post injuries and alignment.|
|Kundalini yoga||Intense yoga sessions that choose to be more physically demanding.|
|Ashtanga yoga||“Eight Limb Path” yoga is typically geared toward advanced yoga practitioners|
|Bikram yoga||Modern-day hot yoga|
|Yin Yoga||Meditation yoga poses are held for a longer period of time. While being cognizant of meditation.|
|Restorative yoga||Relaxing poses to help the body cool down for the day|
|Prenatal yoga||Tailored to soon-to-be mothers. Eases the process of labor and delivery of the child|
|Anusara yoga||Heavy emphasis on the connection between mind, body, and soul. Yoga poses with that deeper purpose.|
|Jivamukti yoga||Connection to the earth, using vinyasa style flow for the yoga poses.|
Yoga at home vs Yoga at the Gym
Doing yoga both at home and at the gym have pros and cons for both. Let us look through them to help you decide what works better for you.
Yoga at home pros:
- Comfort: It is convenient to do yoga whenever you want in your own space and the comfort of your home is second to none
- Pacing: You do not feel pressured to be learning quickly or making mistakes at home because you dictate how fast or how slow you want to progress
- Adaptability: Once you feel one type of yoga isn’t working out for you, pivoting is easy. You can switch the style effortlessly. Just look at a different set of youtube videos to follow.
Yoga at home cons:
- Motivation: Doing yoga at home means you have to be self-motivated. For many, this can be a lack of motivation that puts off doing yoga altogether.
- Feedback: There won’t be anyone to help you in correcting posture or keeping certain poses. This can create issues moving down the line.
- Consistency: We have all faced the issue of being consistent with any type of exercise at home. Yoga is no different.
Yoga at the gym pros:
- Guidance: Being in a class where an instructor can guide you through poses is very beneficial. You’ll be on the right track from the start.
- Cooperation: Doing yoga with others will only help you progress faster, especially in a class setting.
- Structure: These classes provide a plan and a blueprint for what yoga you are signing up for. This lets you experience the journey of yoga to its full extent. Taking away the maximum amount you can from what the yoga style has to offer.
Yoga at the gym cons:
- Scheduling: The timing of classes can prove tricky at times. Especially if you work late. However, there are a number of classes that will be able to cater to your schedule.
- Cost: Yoga classes do cost money. Varying from gym to gym. Keep in mind that the service the instructor is providing will cost something.