Shivam NeelKant Yoga Kendra | Dharamshala, H.P

Shivam NeelKant Yoga Kendra | Dharamshala, H.P

Shivam NeelKant Yoga Kendra | Dharamshala, H.P

What is Yoga and Why is it Good for You?

Yoga is more than just a physical exercise – it’s a holistic practice that can improve your mind, body, and spirit. To learn more about the benefits of yoga and how to get started, read on.

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old practice from India that combines physical poses, breathing exercises, and meditation. It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many health benefits.

Yoga is good for you because it can:

  • Improve flexibility, strength, and balance.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Improve sleep quality.
  • Reduce chronic pain.
  • Improve heart health.
  • Boost mood and energy levels.
  • Promote mindfulness and self-awareness.

If you are interested in learning more about how yoga can improve your health and well-being, keep reading!

A brief history of yoga

Yoga, a 5,000-year-old practice originating in the Indus Valley of northern India, is supported by archaeological evidence from 3300 to 1300 BCE. Several seals and figurines have been excavated from Indus Valley sites that depict people in yoga postures.

Two of the most famous archaeological examples of yoga from the Indus Valley Civilization are the Pashupati Seal and the Shivalingam Yogini Figurine.

The Pashupati Seal shows a seated figure with his legs crossed and his hands resting on his knees. The figure is surrounded by animals, which suggests that he may be a deity or a yogi who has achieved mastery over nature.
Shivalingam Yogini Figurine
The Shivalingam Yogini Figurine shows a woman standing on a lingam (a phallic symbol that represents the Hindu god Shiva). The woman is in a complex yoga posture with her arms raised above her head and one leg bent behind her back.
These archaeological findings suggest that yoga was a well-established practice in the Indus Valley Civilization. It is likely that yoga was used for both religious and secular purposes, such as to improve health and fitness.
In addition to the archaeological evidence, there is also some textual evidence of yoga from the Indus Valley period. For example, the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedic texts, mentions the word “yoga” in a few places. However, the Rig Veda does not provide much detail about yoga practice.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written between 500 and 200 BCE, was the first book to explain yoga in a clear and organized way. The Yoga Sutras provide a detailed guide to the practice of yoga, including the eight limbs of yoga:

    1. Yama (restraints)
    2. Niyama (observances)
    3. Asana (physical postures)
    4. Pranayama (breathing exercises)
    5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
    6. Dharana (concentration)
    7. Dhyana (meditation)
    8. Samadhi (absorption)
    9. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a foundational text for yoga study today.
    10. How did yoga travel from India to the West?

In the 1900s, yoga teachers from India began to travel to the West to teach yoga. One important yoga teacher was Swami Vivekananda. He went to Chicago in 1893 to teach people about Hinduism and yoga. His lectures made yoga more popular in the West.
Later, teachers Paramahansa Yogananda and B.K.S. Iyengar helped to spread yoga in the West.
Then, yoga’s popularity in the West surged in the 1960s and 1970s, thanks to its health benefits and popularization by teachers like Richard Hittleman and Lilias Folan.
Today, millions of people all over the world practice yoga. It is a popular way to exercise, relieve stress, and improve health. Yoga has come a long way from its beginnings in India, but it is still based on the same principles.
With so many people practicing yoga today, it’s no wonder that there are many different types of yoga to choose from. So, what are the different types of yoga?

Types of Yoga

Each type of yoga has its own unique focus, techniques, and benefits. Some of the most common types of yoga are:
Hatha yoga, which focuses on physical postures, breath control, and concentration, is suitable for beginners.
The origin of hatha yoga is uncertain, but it is thought to have developed in India around the 11th century. One of the earliest known hatha yoga texts is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which was written by Svatmarama in the 15th century.
Vinyasa yoga involves flowing movements synchronized with breath and is ideal for those looking for a more vigorous workout. Vinyasa yoga was developed in the early 20th century by Krishnamacharya, a yoga teacher from Mysore, India. Krishnamacharya believed that yoga should be tailored to the individual needs of the practitioner and that the poses in a yoga practice should be sequenced in a way that is beneficial to the practitioner. He typically started with gentle poses to warm up the body and then progressed to more challenging poses.
Ashtanga yoga is a more rigorous and structured form of yoga, which follows a specific sequence of poses and is suitable for intermediate and advanced practitioners. It was developed by Pattabhi Jois, who was a student of Krishnamacharya.
Iyengar yoga, developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, another Krishnamacharya student, places emphasis on proper alignment and use of props and is ideal for those with injuries, or those looking to improve their posture.
Bikram Yoga is a hot yoga practice that is performed in a room that is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius). The practice consists of a set sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, and is intended to detoxify the body and improve flexibility. It was developed by Bikram Choudhury, who studied with Bishnu Ghosh, another student of Krishnamacharya. Bikram Yoga became popular in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, but has declined in popularity in recent years due to Choudhury’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Despite the controversy, Bikram Yoga has had an undeniable impact on the modern practice of yoga. Bikram Yoga helped to popularize the practice of hot yoga, and introduced many people to the benefits of yoga.
Kundalini Yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on awakening the kundalini energy, which is said to be a dormant spiritual energy that resides at the base of the spine. It has been practiced in India for centuries, and was introduced to the West in the early 20th century by Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini Yoga emphasizes breath control, mantras, mudras, and kriyas, which are sequences of yoga postures, breath control, and meditation designed to achieve specific spiritual and physical benefits.
Restorative yoga is a gentle and relaxing form of yoga, which focuses on restorative poses that help to reduce stress and anxiety. Restorative yoga was originated by Judith Lasater in the 1970s. She was a student of B.K.S. Iyengar, and she was inspired by his use of props to support the body in yoga postures. Lasater developed restorative yoga as a way to help people heal from injuries and illnesses, and to promote relaxation and stress relief.
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced and meditative practice that focuses on holding poses for extended periods of time. It was developed by Sarah Powers in the late 1970s, and is inspired by the ancient Taoist practice of Tao Yin. Yin Yoga is believed to help improve flexibility, reduce stress, promote healing, and increase range of motion.
While there are many different types of yoga, these are some of the most common ones practiced today; they all offer a variety of benefits for the mind and body.
The Benefits of Yoga

Here are some studies on yoga that show improved flexibility, strength, and balance:
Flexibility
A 2020 study published in the journal PLOS One found that 12 weeks of yoga practice significantly improved hamstring flexibility in older adults.
A 2019 study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology found that 8 weeks of yoga practice significantly improved flexibility in the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings of young adults.
A 2017 study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that 12 weeks of yoga practice significantly improved flexibility in the spine, shoulders, hips, and knees of adults with chronic low back pain.
Strength
A 2021 study published in the journal Sport Sciences for Health found that 12 weeks of yoga practice significantly increased muscle strength in the upper and lower body of older adults.
A 2020 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that 24 weeks of yoga practice significantly increased muscle strength and endurance in the upper and lower body of young adults.
A 2018 study published in the journal International Journal of Yoga Therapy found that 12 weeks of yoga practice significantly increased muscle strength in the core and lower body of adults with chronic low back pain.
Balance
A 2022 study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that 12 weeks of yoga practice significantly improved balance and gait performance in older adults.
A 2021 study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that 12 weeks of yoga practice significantly improved balance and coordination in young adults.
A 2019 study published in the journal Pain Medicine found that 12 weeks of yoga practice significantly improved balance and reduced the risk of falls in adults with chronic low back pain.
Overall, the research suggests that yoga is an effective way to improve flexibility, strength, and balance in people of all ages and fitness levels.

Reduce stress and anxiety.
Improve sleep quality.
Reduce chronic pain.
A 2016 study published in the journal Pain found that yoga can reduce chronic pain.

Improve heart health.
A 2015 study published in the journal Circulation found that yoga can improve cardiovascular health.
A 2019 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that yoga can improve brain function, including memory, attention, and executive function.

Boost mood and energy levels.
Promote mindfulness and self-awareness.

The benefits of yoga for beginners
Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. As well as helping you to reduce stress, anxiety, and inflammation.
Tips for beginners:
Start slowly and increase the intensity and duration of your practice gradually.
Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard.
Use props to support your body in the poses.
Choose a beginner-friendly type of yoga, such as Hatha or Vinyasa. If you have any physical limitations, Iyengar yoga may be a good option for you.
Find a qualified yoga teacher who can help you learn the basics and modify poses as needed.
With regular practice, yoga can help you to improve your overall health and well-being.
Why is yoga good for you?
Physical benefits: Improved flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. Reduced pain and inflammation. Improved cardiovascular health.
Mental benefits: Reduced stress and anxiety. Improved mood and emotional well-being. Increased focus and concentration.
Spiritual benefits: Increased self-awareness and acceptance. Greater sense of connection to oneself and others.
Conclusion
Yoga is a holistic practice that offers many benefits for both the mind and body.
It is easy to get started with yoga, even if you are not flexible or athletic.
There are many different types of yoga to choose from, so you can find one that is right for you.
Be patient and consistent with your practice, and you will start to see and feel the benefits of yoga soon.

Physical benefits:
A 2019 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that yoga can improve brain function, including memory, attention, and executive function.
A 2016 study published in the journal Pain found that yoga can reduce chronic pain.
A 2015 study published in the journal Circulation found that yoga can improve cardiovascular health.
Mental benefits:
A 2020 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that yoga can reduce anxiety and depression.
A 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that yoga can improve mood and emotional well-being.
A 2014 study published in the journal Psychological Medicine found that yoga can improve sleep quality.
Spiritual benefits:
A 2021 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that yoga can increase self-awareness and acceptance.
A 2019 study published in the journal Mental Health, Religion & Culture found that yoga can promote a greater sense of connection to oneself and others.
You can also cite studies that focus on the benefits of yoga for specific populations, such as seniors, pregnant women, and people with injuries.
Here are some examples:
A 2022 study published in the journal The Gerontologist found that yoga can improve balance and function in older adults.
A 2021 study published in the journal Prenatal and Neonatal Medicine found that yoga can reduce stress and improve sleep quality in pregnant women.
A 2020 study published in the journal Physical Therapy found that yoga can reduce pain and improve function in people with chronic low back pain.

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