Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yoga and Health: An Alternative Form of Exercise

Yoga has long been used as an alternative form of healthy exercise. Today, a variety of yoga schools have become popular, so if you want to try this technique of healing and preventative health, research them all before signing up for a class. Yoga can be very helpful if you are suffering from pain or disease, but, as always, discuss this change in your exercise regimen with your doctor before you begin so that you can be sure yoga will work for you.

Iyengar is the yoga of props and slow pose progression. Correct form is important, and so your instructor will stress this. It is an extremely useful kind of yoga for beginners to try, and people with disabilities or physical restrictions can also use Iyengar yoga. Props that are used help people overcome back and joint problems. Iyengar yoga, in short, teaches the fundamentals, and so this is an important kind of yoga to use if you are new to yoga.

Power yoga, or Ashtanga yoga, is the most athletic form of yoga and used by those who want a difficult work out. Flexibility, stamina, and strength are all heavily stressed with this form of yoga, and meditation is not as important and usually not taught at all. A warm temperature is beneficial to this style to lessen muscle strain, so power yoga can also be combined with hot yoga, which is a highly physical workout done in temperatures of 100 degrees or even more in some cases. Breath control is important here, and the progression is swift to maximize athletic benefit. Ashtanga yoga is not as beneficial for beginners and can be especially difficult for those who are not accustomed to exercising. Hatha yoga can be viewed as the opposite of this, and is a more relaxing kind of workout that is concerned not only with physical well being, but also with mental and spiritual healthiness. Most types of yoga include aspects of Hatha yoga, and these techniques are important for beginners to learn.

Kundalini is a more spiritual type of yoga exercise, and includes chanting, guided relaxation and meditations, and visualizations. It can be done by anyone of any religious practice, although yoga first began with Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Kundalini heals the body, emotions, and mind. Posture and breathing is important in this type of yoga, and those overcoming addiction have found Kundalini especially helpful.

Other kinds of yoga may also be beneficial to you and your health. Be sure to choose a routine that is not too easy or, on the other hand, too difficult. Talk with your doctor or a yoga instructor for more information.

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