What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice, used throughout history in a wide range of schools and cultures with various goals. Thought to be founded in India, with its first mentions appearing in the 6th Century. However, its origins are often debated. It is recognised in various religions such as Jainism, Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism. It was more than just an exercise method, it was a way of life
As its origins are somewhat vague, the word is translated at several different terms found in ancient language.
In Vedic Sanskrit, an old Indo-Aryan language, it derives from the word 'Yuj' meaning 'to add', 'to join' and 'unite'. Throughout the language the word appears in several compounds all directing at the word 'combined'
In several other cultures the word 'Yoga' means simply 'to concentrate'.
As many centuries passed Yoga began to gain momentum in the West. Particularly in the 1980's where is become a very popular form of exercise.
Due to it being a form of exercise that increases your flexibility as well as core strength. However, it has many other purposes.
Yoga keeps your spine flexible which leads to improved posture and your body is kept supple. Which will not only improve your quality of life, but it will prevent long term health problems.
As well as looking after your body, it will also look after your mind. The idea is to bring your mind and body together. Focusing on your breathing helps you to relax and can alleviate stress, improve concentration and calm the mind. The act of meditation can improve your mood and boost your confidence in general.
Yoga can be used to help lower blood pressure, slow your heart rate and prevent strokes and heart disease.
Many believe it can assist recovery from cancer, schizophrenia and asthma.
In modern day Yoga is accessible to all walks of life and at many levels. There is prenatal yoga, Bikram (hot yoga), advanced and power yoga.
Power yoga is beneficial to strengthen your flutes, quads and core whilst you engage the body and mind together.
Books and DVDs can be found easily allowing you to practice at home, and there is endless amounts of online support.
No matter the level of abilities or personal requirements, there is a place in Yoga for everyone.