It is clear that there are many health benefits of yoga, but what else can it do for you? In order to determine whether this is a good fit for your life and goals you have to understand what yoga is, what types of yoga are currently in practice, and how to get started.'
Yoga is a form of exercise that considers much more than just cardiovascular conditioning or strengthening of muscles. It is performed to increase the strength and focus of the mind and the interaction between the mind and body.
An exercise session involves individual poses and movements as well as sequences with specific movements combined in very specific ways. Deep breathing is an essential element and it goes well beyond the simple "don't hold your breath" advice you get with other types of workout programs. The way you breathe is essential to getting the most out of a yoga routine.
There is a reason so many people who want to lose weight or shape up make yoga an essential component in their exercise routine. The health benefits of yoga start with a well toned, flexible body that is capable of moving in a more functional manner in your daily life. This increased muscle toning and flexibility protects your joints from injury on a daily basis and increases your quality of life. It also makes you feel thinner.
There are also great mental health benefits of doing the yoga routines. Besides making you more aware of your body, you will find that you are calmer and more capable of handling stressful situations with regular practice.
There are different types of yoga, each with a different focus. Some are more focused on physical conditioning and can be performed at a quicker pace while others are designed to be more flowing and smooth at a slower pace. Some are also more based in meditation and mental focus than physical movements.
That said, all of the different types of yoga use the same basic poses. The poses are just used in different combinations and with some different variations.
Hatha and Vinyasa are the two most common types of yoga used in yoga classes and exercise DVDs today. Hatha yoga is usually a great place for beginners to start because it will introduce you to a variety of very basic poses performed in a slow, relaxing manner that is easy to learn. Vinyasa is often performed at a faster pace and is also a great place for beginners to start learning.
Some other varieties include Bikram or "hot" yoga, Kundalini, Iyengar, and power yoga.
If you are interested in exploring the different types of yoga and bringing the amazing benefits of yoga into your life, start with a home DVD or internet based program. You can even start by looking up different yoga poses online and learning them on your own, though you will eventually want to find a DVD or class to start working them into real sequences.
Don't get discouraged if you don't get every movement right away or if your body feels stiff and difficult to move. You will start feeling the real benefits of yoga with consistent practice.