Why has Yoga become so popular? Yoga has exploded in popularity over the last decade. It began as a little regarded practice and has become a mainstream form of exercise for millions. Thousands of studios have opened up all across the Western world and yoga has become a billion dollar industry.
Why Has Yoga Become a Sensation?
Yoga provides many health benefits. Most people practicing yoga report that they feel less stressed and have a better sense of well being. Many studies show that yoga can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as promote good physical fitness. One clinical trial published in 2004 by Harvard Medical School found that yoga was linked to improved sleep quality and a reduction in occurrences of insomnia and the use of sleep medicine.
So, what is Yoga?
The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘union.’ It means the union between the spirit, body and mind. Postures, or asanas, breathing techniques called pranayama and meditation all combine to strengthen the Yogic mind-body-spirit union.
How Does Yoga Help?
Bringing together the mind, body, and spirit is a different way of looking at fitness. Asanas exercise the body while pranayama and meditation help to relax and reduce stress. This improves every part of life. Energy is increased and the mind is clear, focused and able to be more creative.
Who Can Practice?
Another contributing factor to the popularity of yoga is that anyone can do it. It is a myth that yoga is for young, flexible people, women or any other group. Judgment and competition go against the fundamental principles of yoga. Asanas can be changed to work around injuries or illnesses, and there are even forms of yoga for pregnant women. The goal is to hone the body and mind and feel good while doing so.
Tailoring Yoga to Each Fitness Level
Since it does not involve lifting free weights or running for extended periods of time, some do not think of Yoga as a substantial physical activity. However, the most impressive aspect of this practice is that it can be altered to meet the needs of any aspiring Yogi. From the simple cat pose to the most difficult forearm-stand scorpion, yoga evolves to each individual’s fitness level.
Not only does it provide a gateway for even the most sedentary individuals to get involved in fitness activities, but also it allows variation in each pose to strengthen areas of weakness and promote physical and mental growth for all.
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