What is Yoga: Understanding This Ancient Practice

April 3, 2023by The Line Method

Yoga is a confusing topic. Many people don’t know whether to consider it a religion or an exercise. It’s easy to see why when you observe a typical yoga class. Sessions end with students bowing their heads with their hands in a praying position.

Many of today’s yoga classes tend to focus on the physical aspect. There are countless articles extolling its health benefits, both physical and mental. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Robert Downey Jr are well-known advocates of yoga. So are music icon Sting and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. With endorsers like these, it’s no wonder yoga has become a $130 billion global industry.

So what is yoga? History-wise, yoga is a practice that goes back centuries. Some scholars say it might have originated in India. Its philosophy is reportedly rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism. It involves doing distinct physical poses. The practitioner must be mindful of their breathing while doing the various movements.

The dictionary defines yoga as an exercise. It’s where one moves their body into different positions. It’s done to make the body more flexible and fit. It also helps improve one’s breathing and relaxes the mind. Yoga is now one of the most popular exercises worldwide. A survey showed that one in seven adult Americans practice yoga.

Top Yoga Workouts

Yoga’s based on the principle of connecting the body with the mind and spirit. This revered practice has different branches. Each one represents a specific focus. From there, it has evolved into the various yoga styles and workouts we have today. Here are the most popular ones:

· Bikram Yoga: This is the workout for those who prefer to work up a sweat doing a regular routine. Bikram yoga is also known as heated yoga. You’ll be exercising in a room with a temperature ranging from 85 to 100 degrees. Bikram yoga has 26 set poses that a personal trainer will guide you on. It’s a strenuous and hot exercise as your body will become heated from the outside in.

· Hatha Yoga: This is a good starting point for people new to exercise. It has a slower pace as each pose is then held for several breaths. It’s a gentle form of yoga that puts more emphasis on the connection between the mind and body. This is an excellent class to include in a corporate wellness program. It’s easy enough for every employee.

· Kundalini Yoga: This style of yoga appeared in the US in the 1970s. It integrates a chant or song in every movement and breath. Kundalini yoga reportedly activates your Shakti or spiritual energy. Each class starts with a chant and ends with a song. Some sessions end with a meditation.

· Restorative Yoga: This workout appeals to people of different ages and abilities. It’s a good exercise for those wanting to meditate and relax. It also benefits those with anxiety and insomnia. Restorative yoga is also popular among athletes. It involves slow movements with an extended hold on poses. Poses are often held for at least five minutes. It also uses different props, like blankets and blocks.

· Vinyasa Yoga: This workout works well for those who’ve been doing yoga for a while. It’s intense and fast-paced. Vinyasa yoga is full of rhythmic movements like a dance. Breathing is still a big part of the exercise. You’ll be moving with each breath. This is a favorite workout among endurance athletes and avid runners.

Yoga vs Pilates: Are They the Same?

Yoga and Pilates share several similarities. Many people think the two exercises are the same. Both are low-impact workouts done on a mat. But the two are quite different. Yoga is much older than Pilates. The latter was reportedly developed in the 1920s.

Yoga involves moving into a position and holding it for several breaths. Some poses will have you moving into another position in one seamless movement. Pilates has you adopting a position and then moving your limbs. This is to challenge your core.

Your Well-Being is Our Priority

You can be at the peak of health with the help of The Line Method. We’re one of the premier personal training studios in the country. We have a holistic approach to fitness. We will teach you to build a body that will last your lifetime. You will soon feel good and move well. Every person is different so we prefer a personalized approach to every workout. We offer in-studio private lessons as well as live virtual classes. You can reach us at 202-714-0391 or at eva@lignepilates.com.