Yoga: Building a Strong Body and Mind
The practice of yoga has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as Americans start taking their health into more consideration. However, while yoga health is just now starting to get more attention stateside, it is actually a centuries old activity that has been practiced worldwide.
Yoga is a physical and mental discipline that originated in India as a meditative practice in Hinduism Buddhism, and Jainism. There are several different types of yoga, and each puts a different emphasis on different parts of the theory behind yoga. For most, the main goal is a calming of the mind and a strengthening of the muscles obtained by performing of a variety of different positions, which are called asanas. These yoga poses use timed and controlled breaths (prana) to bring balance to the physical body and the mind (ha). Hatha yoga is the most common type in America, and is what most people associate with modern yoga practices.
Other yoga health techniques, which are still widely practiced throughout India and in Buddhist and Hindu cultures, have a slightly different goal. Since its history is based in religion, it is used to achieve moksha, which is a release from the suffering associated with the cycle of rebirth and reincarnation.
Regardless of why you are interested in learning yoga techniques, it is a great way to tone your body, strengthen your mind, and live a happier, healthier life. However, like any new exercise program, it is important to speak with your primary health care provider to ensure you are healthy enough for yoga and to prevent or avoid aggravating an injury.