Yoga is the practice of a set of postures and breathing exercises that aims to bring physical and mental well-being. This ancient art of living as explained in the texts reveals itself as an initiatory path that transcends physical discipline.
The different types of yoga
There are several styles of yoga and each emphasizes a specific aspect of this practice.
• There are dynamic yogas in which the sequence of postures is done at the rhythm of the breath such as ashtanga and vinyasa, in these rather physical classes while softening and strengthening the body, we improve the cardiovascular system.
• Iyengar which is a more static yoga emphasizes the alignment of the body, here we take the time to dissect each of the asanas, we develop the understanding of our body.
• Hatha yoga is a gentle yoga easily practiced by older people.
it is important to find the style of yoga that suits us best, it depends a lot on our potential.
The benefits of yoga
Today when we talk about yoga we mainly talk about the practice of asanas and pranayama, that is to say the postures which aim to soften and strengthen the body and the breathing exercises which regulate the flow of vital energy.
Yoga brings a large number of physical benefits including muscle relaxation (yoga postures are varied to stretch all major muscle groups). Some postures help build muscle gently, others work more on balance.
With regular practice, we can correct posture errors developed throughout our lives, which greatly reduces chronic back problems. A 2008 study by Temple University showed that the practice of Iyengar yoga improves balance in women over 65.
Yoga helps reduce stress. During the session the attention is entirely directed on the body and the breath, we are in the "here and now", which is a form of meditation. A study from Boston University published in 2010 showed that the yoga was effective in relieving anxiety.
On the mat we are invited to take the time to listen to the body, the attention is constantly brought back to the breath, we develop our ability to concentrate. For example in balance exercises all our attention is required to maintain the posture.