Yoga Therapy – Wellness

Introduction – Yoga Therapy

The word yoga literally means “union” in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated. This term means union occurring between the mind, body and spirit.

The commonly referred “yoga” can be more accurately described by the Sanskrit word asana, which refers to the practice of different physical postures or poses.

Asana is only one component of the eight “limbs” of yoga. The majority of these limbs are more concerned with mental and spiritual well-being than physical activity.

Although yoga involves physical exercise, it is also a lifestyle practice in which exercise is one of the important components. The main goals of the yoga lifestyle is training the mind, body, and breath, as well as connecting with spirituality.

The physical part of the yoga lifestyle is called as hatha yoga. Hatha yoga focuses on asanas, or specific poses. A person who practices yoga goes through a series of specific poses while controlling his or her breathing. Some types of yoga also involve meditation and chanting.

There are many different types of hatha yoga, which include:

  • Ashtanga yoga: Ashtanga yoga is a vigorous, fast-paced form of yoga which helps to build flexibility and strength of body as well as concentration and stamina. While doing Ashtanga yoga, a person moves quickly through a set of poses while remaining focused on deep breathing.
  • Bikram yoga: Bikram yoga is also known as hot yoga. It is practiced in rooms that are heated to more than 100°F (37.8°C) and focuses on stamina and purification of body.
  • Gentle yoga: Gentle yoga focuses on slow stretching, flexibility, and deep breathing.
  • Kundalini yoga: this yoga uses different poses, breathing techniques, chanting, and meditation to awaken life energy.
  • Iyengar yoga: This type of yoga focuses on precise alignment of the poses. Participants use props such as blankets, straps, mats, blocks, and chairs.
  • Restorative yoga: This practice allows the body to fully relax by holding simple postures passively for a long time.
  • Vinyasa/power yoga: This is similar to Ashtanga yoga. Power yoga is very active forms of yoga that improves strength, flexibility, and stamina.

Many gyms and community centers offer yoga classes. They are usually available as specialized yoga studios. Some yoga instructors offer private or semi-private classes for students who want more personalized training.

Various yoga DVD, websites, and books are available which can provide immense knowledge about yoga. But these methods cannot be compared to learning yoga poses from a teacher. They can be especially helpful if you have already completed a yoga course in classes and want to practice at home.

Some yoga instructors offer private or semi-private classes for students who want more personalized training.
Dressing should be comfortable for the first yoga session which allows moving the body fully. Stretchable shorts or pants and a T-shirt or tank top are best. Yoga is practiced barefoot, so there iis no need of any special shoes.

If the yoga workout is being done on a carpeted floor, there is usually no need of any equipment, although some people like to use a yoga mat or sticky mat. This special type of mat provides cushioning and grip while performing the poses. These yoga mats are available in sporting goods stores or often at the yoga class location.

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

  • Decrease in the pulse rate
  • Decrease in the respiratory rate
  • Stable autonomic nervous system
  • Decrease in blood Pressure
  • EEG –Alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves can also increase during various stages of deep meditation)
  • EMG activity decreases, muscles are relaxed
  • Increase in cardiovascular efficiency
  • Improvement of lung functions
  • Gastrointestinal function normalizes
  • Endocrine functions are improved
  • Excretory functions improve
  • Increase in musculoskeletal flexibility as well as joint range of motion
  • Breath-holding time increases
  • Grip strength increases
  • Improvement of Eye-hand coordination
  • Dexterity skills improve
  • Reaction time improves
  • Posture improvement
  • Strength and resilience increases with yoga
  • Endurance and stamina increases
  • Energy level increases
  • Normalization of weight
  • Increased immunity
  • Sleep improves
  • Pain decreases
  • Depth perception and body balance improves
  • Integrated functioning of body parts improves

Psychological Benefits of Yoga:

  • Somatic and kinesthetic awareness improvement
  • Subjective well-being increases
  • Elevation of mood
  • Self-acceptance increases
  • Social adjustment and adaptation increases
  • Reduced anxiety and Depression episodes
  • Hostility decreases
  • Improvement of concentration
  • Memory improves
  • Attentiveness increases
  • Learning efficiency improves
  • Social skills are improved

- Links of interest: Twitter Wellness

This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.


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