Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice rooted in Indian philosophy. It started as a spiritual practice, but in the 20th century, it became known as a way of physical and mental well-being. The first person who codified it was the sage Patanjali around 400 C.E, where the practice back then used to be one-to-one transmission; but as Yoga became more popular around the world, group classes became the norm.

The Sanskrit root yuj, which means “to yoke” or “to combine,” is where the word yoga originates. The goal of the practice is to unite the body, mind, and spirit as well as individual consciousness.  A sense of spiritual awakening is often brought on by such a union, which tends to balance ego-driven ideas and behaviors.

It has several styles which combine physical poses, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. In this article, we will cover Yoga benefits for both physical and mental health, its types, and branches, and we will share some poses which you can start as a beginner

 Yoga - a Practice - for - Physical - and - Mental - Well-BeingPhoto by Farah from Burst

Branches of Yoga:

The practice’s main philosophy is connecting the body, mind, and spirit. There are 6 branches of Yoga, and each branch represents a different set of physical characteristics.

Hatha :

This form of yoga attempts to prepare the body and mind physically and mentally.

Jnana :

This branch of yoga is devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, the path of the scholar, and intellectual growth through study.

Karma :

This path of selfless service seeks to build a future clear of negativity and self-interest.

Bhakti :

This branch tries to create a devotional path, a healthy way to channel emotions, and a way to promote acceptance and tolerance.

Tantra :

This is the path of ceremony, ritual, or consummation of a relationship.

Raja :

This branch emphasizes meditation and observance of a stringent set of rules known as the eight limbs of yoga.

Yoga Benefits:

Physical Health Benefits:

Eases arthritis symptoms:

yoga has been shown to lessen some of the discomfort associated with painful, swollen joints for persons with arthritis.

good for your heart health:

Practicing Yoga on regular bases may lower stress levels and overall inflammatory levels, promoting heart health. Yoga can also be used to treat a number of the risk factors for heart diseases, such as excessive blood pressure and obesity.

Helps relieve back pain:

When it comes to reducing pain and enhancing mobility in those with lower back pain, yoga is just as effective as simple stretching. is suggested by some physicians as a first-line treatment for persistent low back pain.

improves your strength, balance, and flexibility:

the slow movements and the deep breath help increase the blood flow which will warm up your muscles. While holding a pose can help you build strength

Mental Health Benefits:

Prevent mental decline:

A study conducted by researchers at the University of California showed that people who practice yoga once a week showed an improvement in their mood, and scored lower on an assessment of potential depression.

“But only those who had practiced yoga and meditation showed improvements in their moods — they scored lower on an assessment of potential depression than those in the brain-training group — and they performed much better on a test of visuospatial memory, a type of remembering that is important for balance, depth perception and the ability to recognize objects and navigate the world. In effect, yoga and meditation had equaled and then topped the benefits of 12 weeks of brain training”

Reduce and Manage Stress:

Yoga improves stress reduction, mental wellness, mindfulness, good eating, weight loss, and sound sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Several studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga can enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being. Yoga might also help you manage your symptoms of depression and anxiety that are due to difficult situations”

Yoga - a Practice - for - Physical - and - Mental - Well-BeingPhoto by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Types of Yoga:

There are many types and styles of you Yoga we will list view of them here:

Ashtanga :

It gained popularity in the 1970s, it is based on traditional yoga teachings. Similar postures and movements are used in Ashtanga where it quickly connects each movement to the breath.

Bikram :

Also known as Hot yoga is practiced in rooms that have been artificially heated to a temperature of close to 105°F and 40% humidity. It consists of a series of two breathing exercises and 26 positions.

Kripalu :

This kind of Yoga instructs practitioners to understand, respect, and get knowledge from the body. By searching within, a Kripalu yoga student learns to determine their practice level. Breathing exercises and moderate stretches usually kick off the session, which then moves into a sequence of individual positions before concluding with relaxation.

prenatal :

The poses used in this type were developed specifically with pregnant people in mind. This form of yoga can improve health during pregnancy and aid in getting back in shape after giving birth.

Restorative :

This style of yoga is calming. the class in this type consists of four or five basic poses that are held while utilizing bolsters and blankets as supports to let the practitioner fall into a state of complete relaxation.

Yoga - a Practice - for - Physical - and - Mental - Well-BeingPhoto by Brodie from Burst

Yoga Poses:

Downward Dog :

  • From the table posture, push the hips up and toward the ceiling while tucking the toes under and pressing into the hands.
  • Spread your fingers widely apart, palms shoulder-width apart, and point your middle finger forward. Through the fingers and hand edges, press them out.
  •  Pushing the hips up and back, reaching the chest towards the thighs while keeping the arms straight but not locked. Lift through the tailbone to maintain a long, straight spine.
  • Keep the toes pointed forward and the feet hip-width apart. Feel a stretch in the back of the legs as you press your heels into the ground. Legs can be straight or slightly bent at the knees to keep the back flat
  • Look up at the belly button or let the head and neck swing freely from the shoulders.
  •  Take 4-6 breaths and hold them.
  •  To release, either fully descend into child pose or bend your knees and bring your hips back to the table position.

Tree :

  • While maintaining your balance on one foot, hold the other foot at a right angle to your calf or just above the knee (never on the knee).
  • Try to keep your attention on one area of the room as you balance for a minute.

Cat-Cow :

  • Kneel and place your hands in front of you on the ground.
  • Keep your knees directly beneath your hips and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a big breath in, arch your lower back, lift your head, and tilt your pelvis up like a “cow.”
  • Deeply exhale, draw your belly in, arch your spine, and crouch down like a “cat” by bringing your head and pelvis down.
  • Repeat several times.

Legs-Up-the-Wall :

  • Sit with your left side against a wall. Then, slowly move your body to the right and raise your legs to the wall.
  • Your sitting bones should be near to the wall and your back should remain flat on the floor.
  • if you have a yoga foam block you can place it under your lower back
  • and remain in that position for 5-10 minutes

Corpse (Savasana):

  • Begin on your back and spread your feet as wide as your mat, letting them fall open.
  • To create some room for yourself, turn your palms up and lift your hands off the mat just a little bit.
  • Shut your eyes, take a few deep breaths with your nose, and then let them out through your lips with a long sigh.
  • Relax your entire body and focus on the present moment.

An Ancient Practice:

Yoga is an ancient practice that has changed over time especially in the 20th century when it became so popular around the world. Unlike ancient Yoga, the modern one focuses more on poses that simulate inner peace and physical energy.

Nowadays, you can find different types of Yoga available, which style you chose will depend on your expectation and your physical agility. People with health conditions should talk to their doctor before they start joining classes.

For other types of workouts check the links below:

Categories: Fitness


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