Understanding Yoga as the Holistic Health Practice It's Meant to Be
Yoga is a collection of spiritual, mental, and physical practices which originated in India and are now practiced in various forms all around the world. Yoga is holistic in the sense that it focuses on the individual as a whole. While most people in the West know yoga as a series of movements and poses, the philosophy of yoga is all about integrating the mind, spirit, and body together as one.
Yoga is typically thought to have developed in the sixth or fifth century BCE, though its origins and influences may date back to much earlier, pre-Vedic traditions of the Indian subcontinent. Yoga was introduced to the West by a series of Indian gurus from the late 19th to the early 20th century.
It wasn't until the 1980s, however, that yoga caught on as a form of physical exercise. Today, while many people still use yoga exclusively for its physical benefits, more and more people are becoming interested in its other benefits as well, and are actively seeking the best places for Yoga in NYC.
What Are the Different Types of Yoga?
There are easily over 100 different schools and systems of yoga. What they all share in common is an emphasis on breath, meditation, and on the physical postures known as asanas. The nine most widely offered types of yoga classes Connecticut and NYC are:
Hatha is the term given to the physical branch of yoga, to the system of movements and poses popularly practiced as yoga. Most branches of physical yoga can be classified as Hatha.
Vinyasa Yoga is all about synchronising one's movements to one's breath. In Vinyasa, the postures and movements should flow as one inhales and exhales.
Ashtanga Yoga, also sometimes called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, was codified and popularized in the 20th century by K. Pattabhi Jois. As a system of Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga also marries movement with breath.
Developed by B. K. S. Iyengar, Iyengar Yoga is a type of Hatha yoga which places an emphasis on precision and alignment. Precision is often accomplished with the use of props.
- Hot Yoga
Hot Yoga can refer to any number of yoga styles that are practiced in hot and humid conditions. Hot Yoga is typically practiced in temperatures above 87 F (31 C) and humidity levels of around 40%.
Bikram Yoga, created by Bikram Choudhury from traditional Hatha systems, consists of a combination of postures and breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is also a type of Hot Yoga.
Kundalini Yoga comes out of Tantric Hindu philosophies. Its main goal is to awaken the spiritual, creative Kundalini energy which is thought to lay dormant around the spine.
- Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga takes a calmer and slower approach to the practice of Yoga. In Yin Yoga, poses are often held for over a minute - much longer than any of the previous styles.
In Restorative Yoga, which is all about finding stillness, one will hold postures for even longer than in Yin Yoga. In fact, a typical sequence will consist of only five or so poses.
What Are the Physiological, Mental, and Spiritual Health Benefits of Yoga?
As a moderate, low-impact exercise, yoga is fantastic for the body. Taking part in great Yoga classes in NYC helps promote the body's own natural healing ability by strengthening muscles, increasing blood flow, and releasing limb tension. Just some of the many physical health benefits of yoga include:
- Acute and chronic pain reduction.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Improved bone health.
- Improved metabolism.
- Weight loss.
- Improved cardiovascular health.
- Improved lung capacity.
- Increased flexibility.
Yoga is an incredible tool for enhancing mental well-being as well. Because it promotes calmness and relaxation, yoga is effective for reducing stress and enhancing mental clarity. Practicing yoga can also provide you with:
- A greater sense of inner strength.
- Increased self-esteem.
- An enhanced ability to concentrate.
- Improved sleeping habits.
- Greater resiliency.
At its heart, yoga is essentially a spiritual philosophy. It was created to connect the mind and the body to the spirit so that one may become more aware of their inner nature. Practicing yoga at a holistic Yoga Center in New York City comes with many spiritual benefits, including:
- A great sense of inner peace.
- An enhanced ability to appreciate new experiences.
- A sense of stillness and peace that can be called upon at will.
- A greater ability to cope with life's struggles.
- A sense of connection to the spiritual side of life.
Plenty of research has demonstrated the beneficial effects of yoga. For example:
- A 2005 study found that healthy adults who attended six weeks of yoga class saw a 47% improvement in muscular strength, a 54% improvement in endurance, and a 17% improvement in flexibility.
- A 2007 paper found yoga increased gamma-aminobutyric production in the brain by 27%. Higher levels of gamma-aminobutyric are thought to be protective against depression and anxiety.
- A 2010 literature review noted that yoga reduced oxidative stress by 19.9% in people with diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
Taking Yin Yoga, Bikram, Kundalini, and Restorative Yoga classes in NYC can provide you with all of these benefits and more.
Should I Do Yoga at Home or in a Class with a Trained Instructor?
One of the most wonderful things about yoga is that it can be done anywhere where you have space to comfortably do the poses. This means that yoga can be done at home, either to instructional videos of from memory. Many people enjoy doing yoga at home because of privacy and comfort, and because they can fit it anywhere into their schedule.
Attending class with a trained instructor at some of the best places for Yoga in NYC also has its benefits. Not only are you surrounded by like-minded individuals who share your interested in yoga, but a trained instructor can help you ensure that you are moving through your poses correctly. Classes often have a better "flow" because you are able to step out of your own head and simply follow the instructor's lead.
Many people enjoy both attending class and practicing yoga at home. Going to class a few times a week allows you enjoy the benefits of yoga's social aspects. Taking what you learned and trying it at home in the peace of your own company can be a wonderful way to decompress after a long day at work.
Yoga is a highly flexible practice perfect for many different lifestyles and abilities. There's no reason you shouldn't start experiencing its benefits today. You can book a variety of yoga classes with highly skilled and experienced professionals at Begintoheal.com