by Craig Blake
Are you interested in learning about yoga? It's no wonder, yoga is always gaining popularity across the globe. You might have seen a yoga studio pop up in your town or you may have seen yoga DVDs at the store and wondered how to begin practicing yoga. Get ready to unfold your yoga mat; you have a lot to learn.
What is yoga?
Part fitness and part meditation, yoga is an ancient Eastern Indian practice rooted in spiritualism. Using positions that involve stretching and concentration, a yoga workout helps you strengthen your body and your mind. In fact, the word "yoga" is Sanskrit for "union," and the poses and breathing are meant to unite the functions of your body and your mind. There are many different types of yoga, from slow, stretching styles to serious workouts that rival any aerobics class. There are yoga styles that focus on developing your spiritual side and yoga styles that teach you to bend and twist yourself into knots. Starting with yoga classes or a yoga DVD that covers basic movements at a slow pace can be an excellent way to learn more about how you'll want to do yoga.
Why you should I do yoga?
Developing your spiritual side and achieving bliss might be your goals, but even if they aren't, there are many other incredible benefits of doing yoga. Yoga can help correct your posture and ease the strain that may come from sitting at a desk or being on your feet all day. When your posture improves, you feel taller. The stretching movements of yoga make you more flexible, so you'll prevent injuries in the future. You'll have more energy because the movement of yoga helps your body eliminate toxins. As you unite your body and mind through yoga, you'll become more aware of your physical needs so you can take care of yourself better. The deep breathing and the time you spend focusing on yourself will help reduce stress and will sharpen mental clarity. As you can see, the benefits of yoga are nearly endless.
Will I lose weight by doing yoga?
Because you use your muscles so much in yoga, you will build them, and strong muscles are proven to help lead to some weight loss. If weight loss is your main fitness and exercise goal, look for a class or a yoga DVD that will help you reach that goal. Ashtanga yoga features a rapid progression of yoga poses, so the workout turns can be very athletic. Power yoga can be more of a cardiovascular workout, or you may want to try Bikram yoga, also known as "hot yoga." Hot yoga is done in a room with the heat turned up high, so you'll be really working your muscles, sweating out toxins and helping your body flush out fat. You may see yoga DVDs or classes with names that mention fat burning; you'll want to look into those.
Can kids do yoga?
Yoga can be an excellent way for kids to get active and start a lifetime of fitness. The skills they learn in yoga can help them with many things, including concentration, stress management, patience and discipline. Kids love trying the yoga poses, and they're often very flexible because they probably haven't developed bad posture habits yet. Let them try the poses along with you at home or look for yoga classes held just for kids, which are becoming more and more popular.