Reasons to Take Up Yoga
Yoga, yoga, yoga — by now it probably seems like yoga is everywhere and being done by everyone to improve their physical and spiritual health.
There are classes for kids, classes for older adults, and there are plenty of options for practicing the skills at home.
Yoga is anything but a fad, though, and it is much more than standing like a tree or humming while you sit cross-legged. For thousands of years, people have been experiencing and documenting the real, profound benefits of yoga.
The 6 Branches of Yoga
While most yoga classes and studios focus on Hatha Yoga, there are also many different types of yoga too. In some classes, you may experience one to all of the six branches of yoga. Below is a description of each branch of yoga:
- Hatha Yoga is known as the yoga of physical processes. It incorporates breathing techniques, physical poses and meditation.
- Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion and heart. Yogis who practice this branch of yoga express and develop tolerance, acceptance and love for all living things.
- Jnana Yoga is considered the yoga of the mind, because it deals with wisdom and knowledge. Jnana yoga's path teaches the "knowledge of true self," in other words it teaches one to obtain intuitive knowledge from their soul.
- Karma Yoga teaches that your present experience is directly affected by your past actions. It's the path of self-transcending achievement and the path of service. Performing a selfless service is the gist of Karma Yoga.
- Raja Yoga teaches natural meditation. Raja consists of a very precise system that attempts to gain control of the physical body, energy, senses and mind.
- Tantra Yoga is perhaps the most misinterpreted path of all the yoga branches. Its rituals teach students to expand their awareness in everything they do, not only sexuality.
Why Yoga Is More Than Just an Exercise
Yoga is more than an exercise for your body; it is an exercise for your mind as well. If you are invested in improving your mental health, physical health, or your overall wellbeing, yoga is for you.
If you need a little more incentive to finally compel you to the practice or to keep you engaged, here are eight yoga benefits with a special focus on the mental health.
1. A Physical Health Builder
It would be foolish to not delve into the positive effects that yoga can have on your physical health.
The practice is known to build strength while it contributes to your added flexibility, but did you know it can also decrease pain from arthritis, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic pain and depression? It also has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve your sleeping habits. Essentially, it's a chronic pain management tool.
This means yoga can be helpful for so many people in so many situations, especially people who are unable to do more strenuous forms of exercise due to physical limitations.