The word `yoga' is taken from the Sanskrit word `Yuga' which means `to join.' Yoga aims for the perfect union of the body, mind and spirit by a system of posture, breath control, meditation, sounds and many more practices.
Yoga classes are generally longer than other exercise classes as they typically last around two to three hours. During a yoga session, your teacher will guide you through a series of moves and you will find many for the yoga positions have simple names such as `the plank,' `the cat,' or `the warrior.'
Yoga, in comparison to other classes you may have tried, is based on precision and many spend large amounts of their time getting the positions perfect.
Many yoga teachers use specific terminology during their sessions. You may feel overwhelmed at first with terms such as asana, pratyahara or pranayama. Don't let these put you off because it is not vital to learn and master all yoga terminology.
Yoga has many benefits, the main benefit being an increase in suppleness. It aims to increase the muscle and tendon flexibility, thus decreasing your risk of njuries. Yoga does not increase your aerobic fitness; apart from `astanga yoga' so it is recommended you combine yoga sessions with aerobic type exercises. Brisk walking or jogging are good examples. Yoga's prime aim is to control breathing and meditation for stress reduction.
There are many types of yoga available and although no type of yoga is particularly harder, it is advisable to check how experienced your class is before you join. There are usually beginner's classes available.
Here are some examples of the types of yoga available:
`Hatha' is an overall term for the physical part of yoga. Hatha covers most types of yoga and a class known as Hatha Yooga is generally balanced and moderately intense. Posture and breathing exercises will be practised.
This is also a Hatha Yoga style, focusing on how to understand the body and how the body works. Those practicing this type of yoga focus on symmetry and alignment sometimes using props, such as wooden blocks, straps to achieve their postures. Students hold each post for a longer amount of time than other types of yoga.
Astanga Yoga is a physically demanding workout. It involves a fast paced series of poses that is sequential beginning with sun salutations. Astanga Yoga students use postures in a continual flow linking their movements from breath to breath. This type of yoga is physically demanding and was developed to build their strength, stamina and flexibility. Those who wish to embark on this type of yoga would fit it easier if they are physically fit.
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