Yoga is a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite.’
When considering modern day yoga, most of us think of the physical practice of asana, a series of postures often weaved together. Asana practice combines physical exercises, mental meditation, and breathing techniques. It is generally intended to build strength and stamina, to improve flexibility, coordination, balance and to relax the body.
Yoga is also used as a therapeutic tool for many physical and mental conditions, and mind-body research is now demonstrating its effectiveness as a treatment for chronic pain, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, to name but a few.
Indeed, clinical and psychological studies have demonstrated that performing yoga has the following benefits:
- Physical postures strengthen and tone muscles and when performed in rapid succession, can provide cardiovascular conditioning.
- Meditation and deep breathing can reduce stress, thereby lowering blood pressure and inducing relaxation.
- Mind-body awareness can influence mood and self-esteem to improve quality of life.
Yoga is a low-impact workout that can be done with minimal equipment. If you are interested in reaping the benefits of this ancient practice, look into beginner classes at a studio near you. Or, if you are unsure of making a commitment to a yoga studio, you can find classes online, many streaming for free. Give it a try!