When people hear the word “yoga”, they are likely to think about meditation. Likewise, when people think of meditation, the first thing that comes to mind is yoga.
Yoga is indeed one way of meditation, but there is much more to yoga and yoga is not the only type of meditation there is.
According to classic Indian definition, “yoga” means union.
And according to the Patanjali, yoga is the neutralization of feelings centred on the ego. This so because once the practitioner gets still, he or she realizes that he or she is, and has always been united with the Almighty.
At this article, we will learn more about yoga, its types, as well as the health benefits of yoga.
Different Levels of Union in Yoga
According to the literal yoga definition of a “union”, there are three sub levels of that particular understanding.
First, philosophically the “union” is a relative term to describe the limited self within the absolute self.
Second, spiritually the “union” is all about the individual soul together with the Almighty Spirit, and finally the third is the psychological aspect of the “union”.
The psychological aspect of the “union” is the personality integration, the particular state where one no longer lives at cross-purposes with himself.
Different Forms of Yoga
There are over 100 different forms of yoga, each with distinctive movement and breathing characteristics. Here are the six main types of yoga that one must know;
Hatha is the form most people associate with yoga. It combines a series of slow-paced movements with specific breathing techniques.
Vinyasa is a series of poses that transitions smoothly from one to another.
A speedier and more intense yoga practice that aims to gain muscle.
Ashtanga is a series of poses accompanied with special breathing techniques.
Bikram is a series of 26 challenging poses done in a high-temperature room. It is also known as the “hot yoga.”
A variant of yoga that uses props to help the participant move the body into the proper position or alignment. The props used can be chairs, blocks, straps, and others.
What are the Fifteen Health Benefits of Yoga?
1. Improves Flexibility and Durability
This is the first of the 15 health benefits of yoga. By practicing yoga, one could improve his or her body flexibility as well as durability.
For example, if one seems to have a hard time reaching other parts of the body, stretching out may seem easier with lesser pain after repeated practice.
Inflexibility in muscles and other connective tissues are known to cause poor posture.
2. Great for Building or Mending Posture
In relation to the point before, poor posture could be avoided with increased body flexibility.
A poor posture is also characterized by increased fatigue, tiredness as well as lack of balance when dealing with certain heavy things.
At the end of the day, the body is prone to muscular and joint pain as well as injury.
Yoga also teaches us a balanced redistribution of body weight, which is important in order to get a perfect posture.
3. Builds Muscle in Some Ways
Strong muscles are desirable in both men and women, whether it’s for aesthetic or functional purposes. They also prevent us from getting arthritis or back pain.
One advantage of building muscles through yoga instead of ordinary gym training is that, in yoga muscles are built with flexibility in mind, while in gyms it may not be the case.
4. Ensures Skeletal Health
Joint cartilage could wear out when it does not receive enough nutrients, and its source of nutrients are frequent stretches because at every stretch that we make, the old cartilage fluids are replaced with new ones that will prolong its lifespan.
At the spine, the spinal disks will be happier because they are exposed to increased movement. And also at the bones, certain poses promote increased bone density to certain types of bones.
5. Improves Blood Flow
The fifth health benefit of yoga is by encouraging blood flow and circulation, particularly in the hands and feet.
Yoga also leads more oxygen to the cells in order to function better, more hemoglobin or red blood cell rate so that oxygen could be better carried into the tissues.
At the end, blood clots and cardiovascular diseases could be prevented at best.
6. Supports Lymph Drainage
Each muscle stretch plus contraction goes into the drainage of lymph nodes. It is good indeed because it helps to fight infection, eliminate disease, and get rid of toxins that have been built up in the tissue.
What an amazing benefit, eh?
7. Boosts Immunity
Asana and Pranayama yoga improve immune function by boosting it when required or lowering it down when needed as well.
Examples of these two are raising antibody levels when responding to vaccination as well as mitigating abnormally strong immune reactions in response to autoimmune diseases.
8. Improves Heart Health
Yoga improves heart health by increasing heart rate. An increased heart rate diminishes any risk of heart attack and depression, which are equally risky for health.
More active yoga activities improve heart rate to that equal of aerobics’ results. Either way, even if the yoga activity isn’t intense, it also helps the heart by improving cardiovascular conditioning by relaxing heart rate, increasing endurance, and allows more intake of oxygen during exercising or sports.
9. Regulates Blood Pressure and Sugar Level
Yoga could be useful for patients of high blood pressure or hypertension, and also blood sugar level.
In terms of blood sugar levels, it reduces the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and replace it with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) instead.
LDL is the negative cholesterol whereas HDL is the positive cholesterol.
Blood sugar is reduced by reducing cortisol and adrenaline rates, promotes weight loss and also improving sensitive reaction towards insulin.
10. An Effective Treatment to a Number of Serious Diseases
Yoga is of course very helpful for anyone with serious illnesses, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, arthritis, and also cardiovascular diseases.
If one decides to do slow-pacing yoga, it’s best to combine it with sports or aerobics for maximum results.
11. Increases Focus
Yoga helps us to focus by enhancing coordination, memory, reaction time, and also IQ levels, much like all-natural herbal nootropics.
Those who practice meditation regularly are also found to be better in problem solving, obtaining as well as recalling information.
Yoga emphasized mental clarity, which allows less distraction when applied in real life activities.
12. Promotes Peace of Mind
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra eliminates mental fluctuation, or slowing down the stress caused by tension, fear, regret, anger or frustration.
A stressed mind leads to the domino effects of hypertension, depression, headache, insomnia, heart attacks and more. It is wise for one to get a peaceful mind for the sake of a longer and healthier lifespan.
13. Makes Us Happier
At the end of the day, yoga makes us happier when performed regularly thanks to an improved depression, the release of serotonin and also decrease in both cortisol and mono amine oxidase.
Monoamine oxidase is the enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters.
14. Creates Inner Strength
Yoga makes positive changes to our entire life, which indeed is the largest advantage yoga could offer.
This became possible due to Tapas (Sanskrit for “heat”) provides the heat for continuous yoga practice, which can furthermore extend to our lives by changing old habits for good.
15. A Way to Lead Us Into a Healthy Lifestyle
Here is the final of the health benefits of yoga.
Regular yoga sessions motivate us to move more, eat less, which is more or less the idea of a healthy living.
In addition, our spiritual and emotional dimensions will also adjust to this change by making us reflect and slightly altering how our brain works in order to get that idea into a reality.