There is a lot of talk about yoga...but what is it? Some people think that yoga postures are perfect for exercise and stretching, while others talk about it as a real philosophy or suggest chanting mantras...
Yoga is like a huge house with thousands of doors and thousands of surprises in store for us!
The word yoga is a Sanskrit term, meaning "union", "integration", and "discipline". The word itself invites us to understand that the practice, integrated into our daily life, allows us to reach the state of "yoga". For above all, yoga is a state that transforms our way of seeing the world.
The benefits of yoga
With yoga exercises you can first of all expect to see your body firm up and soften... but not only that !
Other beneficial effects on mood, vitality and health are quickly observed.
Thanks to the focus on the breath, yoga also acts on the nervous system, so it is an excellent tool to relieve stress, concentration or sleep problems.
What do scientists say today?
Today, doctors recommend yoga and meditation techniques to their patients because many beneficial effects have been observed, such as the relief of insomnia, the reduction of anxiety and depression. Neuroscientists have also seen the effects of yoga on the brain. Meditation, meanwhile, is sometimes practiced in prisons, hospitals and schools.
What is the best type of yoga to practice at home?
It is not necessary to choose a particular style for personal practice - just listen to what your body needs each day. It may require stretching after a long week of intense physical training, or relaxation after endless days at the office in front of the computer, or an energizing workout to replace your caffeine (or in addition to your coffee...)
That's the whole point of practicing at home, you can select your favorite elements of each style, or choose an online course or application to guide you (see below). If you practice without a teacher, start with a short, simple sequence, such as a Sun Salutation to help you memorize and understand the movements, and practice it over and over again.
The different types of yoga
Here is a small summary of the different types of yoga, from the most dynamic to the calmest, to inspire your personal practice:
● Rocket Yoga, Vinyasa and Ashtanga are very dynamic practices that include difficult (and typical Instagram) postures such as arm balances and back bends.
● The Mandala is also quite dynamic and athletic. Classes follow a theme around the elements and corresponding areas in the body: water (hips and groin), fire (twists and center), earth (hamstrings and forward bends), and air (front face and back bends).
● Jivamukti Yoga is also a "flow" practice (fluid sequence of postures), but with a different philosophical or ethical approach each month.
● Kundalini Yoga seeks to stimulate mental energy (which some would describe as sexual or creative) through meditation, chakra work, mantras, chanting, breathing and movement.
● Iyengar Yoga focuses on perfect placement and alignment, and uses many props. Ideal for rehabilitation after an injury.
● Hatha Yoga, in Sanskrit, broadly refers to all forms of physical yoga, but in the West it generally refers to a softer, more accessible practice.
● Yin-Yang Yoga is a gentle practice that works on Yin, targeting the deep connective tissue between muscles by holding postures for a very long time (sometimes up to ten minutes), improving circulation in the joints, and soothing the body and mind.
● Yoga Nidra goes even further and seeks to take you into a state of "conscious sleep" for ultimate meditative relaxation.
● Hot Yoga is practiced in a heated room – perspiration guaranteed. And Yoga for Pregnancy, unsurprisingly, targets the needs of pregnant women.
● Qi Jong is a derivative close to Tai Chi, which offers a deep restorative practice through moving meditation and breathing techniques.
The choice is yours!
Guidebook “Mon cahier Yoga”, Géraldine Lethenet, editions Solar / Vogue.com, by Farah Shafiq, April 9, 2020
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