Fitness for body and mind
Fitness trends come and go, but yoga has been a worldwide workout trend for about 5,000 years. Since yoga was introduced to the UK in the 1950s and 1960s participation has been growing steadily. In the 90s, yoga experienced a second wave of popularity due to the fact that many celebrities started to practice it, for example Madonna. Today, it has more followers than ever as people begin to look for an exercise that taps into all aspects of the self - physical, mental and spiritual.
What is it? In simplest terms, yoga is an exercise system that consists of a series of postures and sequences of poses combined and defined by breathing techniques. The physical form of yoga is one of eight limbs of classical yoga. This discipline was developed in India to promote union of the mind, body and spirit and, for that reason, yoga classes have a different feel than most traditional workouts. The typical yoga workout is a blend of strength, flexibility and body awareness exercises. Besides the physical aspects of the workout, most yoga classes also include a spiritual element.
There are many forms of yoga, but Hatha is the physical form and the type of Yoga that is most common in fitness clubs. Hatha includes all of the basic yoga moves and breathing exercises but doesn't focus on the religious or philosophical aspects like other forms. Yoga aims to increase your strength and flexibility as well as your ability to maintain a balanced positive approach to life.
Yoga offers an active time-out to energize your body and calm your mind. Most people begin to see and feel improvements in their flexibility, strength and stress levels after only a few classes.
The benefits of yoga practice are: reduced stress, improved health and improved concentration. The secondary results are greater happiness, vitality and effectiveness in all things we pursue. The level of improvement is relative to the intensity and dedication to practice.
Stress is reduced both by stretching tight muscles which store tension and by a special calming breathing technique. Health is improved by means of various postures which stimulate and massage the internal organs and by generating heat in the body to aid detoxification. The combination of this special breathing method which synchronizes with special movement and postures profoundly improve one's level of concentration.
To understand what Yoga is all about, you need to experience it for yourself. At first glance it may seem to be just a series of strange physical postures which keep the body lean and flexible. But in time, anyone who continues with regular practice becomes aware of a profound change in their body and in their mind. Yoga makes you discover your body, a state of inner peace, through the practice of toning and relaxing your body and relaxing your mind.
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