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Sharp Health News

The many benefits of practicing yoga

Sept. 10, 2015

The Benefits of Yoga

Although it seems like yoga studios are popping up on just about every corner, not everyone has embraced yoga as a mainstream activity. However, the truth is that yoga can be done by all types of people regardless of age, gender or body type.

Yoga may seem like a foreign concept to some, but once you have a grasp of the basics, you should feel comfortable giving it a try.

There are a few different forms of yoga. Some focus on helping you to stretch and relax (Hatha), while others work to burn calories and increase strength (Vinyasa), decrease neck and back pain (Iyengar) or even give you a spiritual experience (Kundalini).

There are five common terms you should know before your first class. Regardless of the type of yoga you choose to practice, the following terms are likely to be used:

  • Asanas — Physical postures of yoga
  • Pranayama — Awareness of your breathing to facilitate stillness
  • Ujjayi — A type of breathing where the lungs are expanded and the chest is puffed out
  • Savasana — Final relaxation pose
  • Namaste — Said at the end of a yoga class, it means honoring your place in the universe

When attending your first class, wear comfortable clothes you can easily move and bend in. You do not need any special footwear.

Check to see if yoga mats are offered on-site; if not, you can borrow one from a friend or purchase an inexpensive one at a sports or big-box store. You should also bring a towel and water.

Finally, try not to take your class on a full stomach, and arrive early to introduce yourself to the teacher as a new student.

As with any new form of exercise or activity, check with your doctor before you begin. Learn more about the yoga and pilates classes offered at Sharp.

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