Maybe the better questions is…Does Yoga matter?
Yoga is becoming the latest buzz word in case you hadn’t noticed. We hear it a lot and for a long time, I thought it was just another way of doctors saying…manage your stress.
Duh…we all know that we need to manage our stress but it’s seriously hard to imagine that one hot session of Bikram Yoga is going to make everything all better again and we will once again enjoy sitting in the eternal pick up lane at the elementary school or getting through the construction zone on Highway 20. (Just sayin’)
Yoga…are you a fan?
Yoga is thought to have started in India over 5000 years ago and helps with flexibility, strength, and breathing all the while, boosting our mental and emotional health. It’s pretty hard to engage in a meaningful course of yoga while multitasking in your head, so for that reason, it is the perfect escape to give your head a little breathing room. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to handle stress better.
There are basically 6 different types of yoga:
Hatha- This is a form of yoga, not a style, that can be incorporated into any of the other yoga styles. It involves the beginning poses and focuses on posture. It’s a great thing for beginners and has a pace that is easy to follow and maintain.
Vinyasa- This is a style of yoga that is high energy and fluid transition between poses. It helps to have some experience with yoga before attending a Vinyasa class, so that you are more familiar with the various poses. Each Vinyasa class is different from the next and many appreciate the variety.
Iyengar- This class focuses on individual poses and proper alignment. It’s about precision and technique. In one of these classes, you will use a variety of props to help you achieve the perfect pose.
Hot Yoga- Who doesn’t love a hot flash right? Hot yoga is done in a room that is 104 degrees and this is also known as Bikram yoga. The class goes through the same series of 26 poses. With hot yoga, you can run risk of overstretching in the heat and increase your risk for dehydration so make sure you stay hydrated and know your body.
Yin Yoga- This is the slow and meditative type of yoga. Poses are held for a long time and focus on stillness. This would be considered a restorative type of yoga.
Kundalini- This type of yoga blends the physical aspects of the body but connects the mind as well. Some Kundalini classes can involve chanting, singing or personal mediation.
Yoga has many benefits as you might guess. It’s one of the best exercises to teach you how to breathe and by that, I mean, teach you how to breathe in a way that reduces stress, anxiety and allows you your body to connect to your mind. Your flexibility, strength and posture will increase. Speaking of increasing…who wouldn’t mind a little more energy?
Stress has a way of shutting us down. We retreat in times of stress and feel like the walls are closing in on us with no way to escape. Yoga does the opposite and for this reason alone, may be the best benefit we receive. It gives a minute to slow down; stop the crazy train our minds tend to force us on. It opens up space, room to move and breathe. When leaving a yoga class, you feel stronger and expanded.
Yoga may not be for everyone, it may not be for you but if you find yourself dealing poorly with stress, or if the slightest annoyance sets off a quaking in your mind, maybe yoga is a worth a shot and see if you find healthy benefits from just an hour a week.