- Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown DVD
- Yoga For Beginners DVD – Barbara Benagh
- Biggest Loser: Weight Loss Yoga DVD
- Prenatal Yoga DVD – Shiva Rea
- Yoga For Beginners: Poses for Strength, Flexibility and Relaxation – Kanta Barrios
- Yoga for Beginners & Beyond Video DVD
- Bryan Kest Power Yoga DVD Complete Collection
- Yoga for the Rest of Us: Easy Yoga for Arthritis with Peggy Cappy
- Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga & Short Forms DVD Set
- Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Beginners
- A.M. and P.M. Yoga DVD – Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden
- Power Yoga – Total Body Workout – Rodney Yee
- Yoga for Weight Loss – DVD for Beginners – Maggie Rhoades
- Jane Fonda: AM/PM Yoga for Beginners
- Fat Free Yoga – Lose Weight & Feel Great w/ Ana Brett & Ravi Singh
- Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss
- Yoga for Stress Relief – Barbara Benagh
- Yoga Shakti – Shiva Rea
- Ali MacGraw: Yoga, Mind and Body
- Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds: Yoga Basics
- What is Yoga?
- Different Pathways of Yoga
- Different Types of Yoga
- How to Choose the Right Type of Yoga for You
- What are the Benefits of Yoga?
- How to Get Started with Yoga
- Things You Need to Know About Yoga – Yoga FAQs
As the health-related problems in the world seem to increase day by day, more and more people are adopting healthier lifestyles. One of the best ways to achieve great physical as well as mental health is through the practice of Yoga. You can learn Yoga with the help of a DVD or through a Yoga studio. This post aims at providing you with everything you should know about Yoga – its types, benefits, and more. We’ll first begin with reviews of some of the best Yoga DVDs available for you to purchase on the market.
What is Yoga?
What’s that one desire which binds all humans together? It’s got to be the desire to be happy. Every goal of our life, whether it’s to become rich, have a successful career, a loving family, a group of fantastic friends, or whether it’s any other personal goal of yours; all are related to the ultimate goal of achieving happiness. No body pursues a goal that doesn’t bring them happiness inside.
Achieving your goals and living a great life do make you happy. But, the happiness we experience from them is always followed by more desires and higher goals because as humans, we’re wired to seek growth. Then, one might think whether there is a way to have the lasting feeling of happiness. Yes, there is. How? The answer is Yoga.
Yoga is a way of life. It teaches you to live a happy life despite all the problems, challenges, and difficulties thrown at you. Yes, you’ll be sad, unhappy, and dejected for a while. You might even be lost not knowing what your next step should be.
But, as you go on practicing the principles of Yoga, you start to look at things from a higher perspective. Your body, mind, and soul become united, and give you a sense of constant calm and peace. So, what Yoga really is and how it works its magic on you? Let’s find out everything you ever wanted to know about Yoga right here.
What is the true meaning of Yoga?
For many of you, Yoga might be a series of physical exercises put together to ensure you have a healthy body and mind. This is only one of the layers of Yoga. Yoga is that, and much more. The word “Yog” or “Yoga” means union of one’s soul with the universe. It’s the harmony between your consciousness and that of the universe.
In India, Yoga has been in practice for over 5000 years. But, it’s only in the recent decades that the world started waking up to the amazing positive influence it can have on our physical and mental health, and most importantly on our lives. So, how does Yoga help in unleashing the enormous potential of the human mind, body, and soul?
Different Pathways of Yoga
By now, you know that Yoga affects your life in more than one way. There are different branches or paths of Yoga that lead you toward the goal of happiness and peace. Here are they:
- Hatha Yoga – This branch involves a combination of physical postures or as they’re called in Yoga, asanas. The purpose of Hatha Yoga is to make your body healthy and fit, and purified to get it ready for meditation.
- Karma Yoga – This principle of Yoga teaches people how to serve others selflessly without expecting anything in return.
- Mantra Yoga – You develop a consciousness of yourself by repeating certain japas or chants that resonate with the universe.
- Bhakti Yoga – This branch focuses on man’s devotion to the Divine and the ability to see divinity in every creature and being.
- Gyana Yoga – Acquiring wisdom as a means to liberate oneself and enter the world of spirituality.
- Raja Yoga – Raja means royal. Raja Yoga symbolizes the ultimate or the highest pathway of Yoga, which was truly achieved by Lord Krishna, according to the Hindu Holy scripture, The Bhagavad Gita. This path is also the culmination of the different pathways we saw above.
Thus, we see how Yoga canvases every aspect of human life and leads us to the path of total liberation and happiness.
Different Types of Yoga
In Photo: Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown DVD
As we’ve seen above, one of the pathways of Yoga is Hatha Yoga. This is the general term for all the physical postures or asanas that Yoga teaches us. Speaking of physical postures, most people think of Yoga as a great combination of stretching exercises. While this is true, Yoga is much more than.
One of the major reasons why Yoga has become so widely popular is its unique way of combining Yoga postures or asanas with mediation, breathing and relaxation techniques. They all work together to not just give you a healthy body, but a perfectly healthy and sound mind, as well.
The physical aspect of Yoga has been evolved over the past few years and now there are almost 14 types of Yoga that you can choose to practice. Let’s talk about some of the most widely practiced Yoga styles in brief:
This is the most generic form of Yoga which includes almost all the different physical Yoga styles. It’s a combination of yoga poses called asanas and breathing techniques called pranayama. If you’re a beginner, you’d find Hatha Yoga to be the right step for you when entering the vast world of Yoga.
This type of Yoga mainly means the continuous flow of postures one after another, perfectly synchronized with breathing. It involves different sets of powerful poses and movements of body. One of the examples of Vinyasa Yoga sequence is sun salutation postures or surya namaskar, as it’s called in the Yoga world.
This Yoga type was introduced to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhai Joi. It’s a vigorous set of sequences moving quickly one after the other with the focus on breathing as the body takes different forms. Ashtanga Yoga consists of 6 series and the sequences are performed in the fixed order. Starting from the easiest, the level of difficulty and intensity increases with each set.
This is a well-defined type of Yoga and it will have the same structure no matter where you choose to learn it from. It involves twenty-six postures accompanied by two breathing techniques. These postures or asanas are practiced in the same order for about 90 minutes.
Additionally, you require a room temperature of 105°F (40.6°C) with humidity of 40% in order to practice Bikram Yoga. It’s primarily practiced to make you sweat and help your body get rid of the toxins, hence the special need for the right temperature and humidity.
Created by David Life and Sharon Gannon, famously referred to as the innovators in Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga is essentially a merger of Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. The vigorous sets of Ashtanga yoga are practiced continuously as they flow in Vinayasa Yoga. This Yoga has a fixed special set of warm-up sequences.
B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the most renowned Yoga gurus of our times, created this Yoga format which was named it after him. In this type of Yoga, the poses are held for a longer time thereby allowing your mind and body to focus on the subtle aspects of each pose. The postures in Iyengar Yoga often require props such as belts, blocks, bolsters, chairs, etc. to take care of the potential injuries, firmness in the posture, and to help achieve the right balance.
It consists of repetition of different exercises called kriya, dynamic breathing techniques, chanting, and meditation. The kriyas are done rapidly one after the other, along with certain breathing techniques to intensify your Yoga session.
Power Yoga was created with a view to make Ashtanga Yoga more attainable and accessible to the western Yoga students. It’s also described as the vigorous Vinyasa-style Yoga. Thus, Power Yoga is a western combination of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga styles. Power Yoga gives the teacher the freedom to select the postures and breathing techniques and doesn’t require you to perform set sequences or routines.
How to Choose the Right Type of Yoga for You
We’ve seen that there are different styles of Yoga, created and spread by different Yoga gurus all across the world. Which one is the best for you? You’ll come to know only after you’ve practiced some of them to check what your body is most comfortable with. Sometimes, your mind might want you to try something different from what your body wants. Listen to your mind and body carefully and analyze what’s the best style for you.
You can always switch to another style when you don’t get the expected results and experience. The following factors might help you decide which Yoga styles you should be trying out of the 14 different styles available for you to select from.
If you’re completely new to Yoga and don’t know where to begin, go for Hatha Yoga. “Ha” stands for the sun and “Tha” for the moon. Hatha is all about the balance between the sun and the moon, strength and flexibility. It’s a slow-paced gentle style of Yoga which best suits people who haven’t had much Yoga exposure in the past.
However, there are some who think slow-paced workout is their thing. If you’re one of them and want something involving quick movements, you might want to try Vinyasa Yoga instead of Hatha, as your first style.
For speed, action, and variety
If you prefer speed and quick action over slow-paced sequences, Vinayasa would be the right style of Yoga for you. Also, Vinyasa doesn’t have any fixed set of sequences or postures, which makes it the ideal style for people who tend to get bored easily and like variations.
For intense workouts that build up a sweat
If you think a workout is incomplete without sweat, you should definitely try the Yoga styles such as Power Yoga, Bikram, and Vinyasa. These are intense Yoga types which involve quick movements giving you a sweaty workout each time. Also, they help your body to get rid of the toxins. This isn’t recommended for pregnant women and people having heart problems.
For flexibility masters
People who are flexible and like to bend and stretch, Ashtanga Yoga will be one of the best Yoga styles suited for their body. It gives you a chance to further develop your flexibility as it involves vigorous movements increasing in difficulty as the session progresses. You’ll definitely enjoy this if you like intensity and flexibility!
For the injured
If you’re recovering from an injury, the best form of Yoga styles for you would be Iyengar and Viniyoga. While Iyengar focuses on slow movements and on the subtleties of the postures, the Viniyoga style allows you to design your routine the way you want depending on your body requirements. People who want to create their own session or combination of sequences should go for Viniyoga.
For structured Yoga session with fixed time duration
If you’re one of those people who schedule is usually very tight, you would want to know exactly how much time a Yoga session would take. Bikram and Ashtanga would be the best type of Yoga for you as it involves a fixed set of sequences or postures. The sequences in the Bikram Yoga style should be completed within 90 minutes, so you’ll be in a much better position to plan and manage your day well.
What are the Benefits of Yoga?
Out of so many different forms of exercises such as aerobics, weight training, gymnastics, running, walking, and many more, Yoga is one form which is rapidly being adopted by more and more number of people. You might ask why? While most of these forms of physical activities have lasting health benefits, no doubt about that. But, Yoga gives you much more than great health. It has a lasting positive effect on your mind.
In this section, we will talk about in detail about the different types of benefits Yoga can have on us.
Yoga is the best way to attain complete fitness of your body. It not only helps you deal with your illnesses better but makes sure that your body is strong and well-equipped to take care of itself by building a strong immune system.
- Yoga builds up your muscle strength, helps ease out the tension in your limbs, and improves your spine as well as bone health significantly. It also strengthens your lungs.
- It keeps check on your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Yoga promotes a healthy blood flow throughout your body and also regulates your heart beats.
- Yoga makes sure your nervous system is functioning at its best.
- It eliminates the risk of digestive problems to a great extent.
- Yoga boosts your immunity so your body can easily fight the potential dangers of viral or bacterial attacks and minimizes the overall health risks.
High blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, reproductive problems are only some of the many problems you might face due to obesity. In 2014, over 1.9 billion adults above 18 years of age were overweight and out of these over 600 million were obese.
Obesity is one of the biggest threats to our health. Yoga helps you lose weight in a controlled and systematic manner. Yoga also motivates you to adopt healthy lifestyles such as a nutrition-balanced diet, adequate sleep, and relief from stress, thereby increasing the rate of weight loss considerably.
Flexible body and improved posture
We know how immensely Yoga boosts your flexibility. The stretching and bending postures in Yoga have been carefully designed to develop our flexibility and improve our posture. A bad posture not only emits lack of confidence, but also leads to various problems such as backache, sprains, etc.
People who practice Yoga regularly will vouch for its amazing stress-busting abilities. Our modern society has been deeply inflicted by stress-related diseases such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, asthma, and more. These diseases not only affect adults but can also occur in children, especially teenagers.
Yoga can play a significant role in helping your body and mind combat these diseases by reducing your stress levels.
- Yoga can calm your mind and give you a sense of inner peace like no other form of physical exercise can.
- Yoga helps you get rid of sleep problems so you feel fresh and energetic all through the day.
- People who practice Yoga on a regular basis are generally more happy and satisfied in life.
- Yoga postures along with meditation and breathing techniques relax your mind and body. This improves your self-confidence and gives you the strength of dealing with all types of problems and situations. This further helps in reducing the stress.
Thus, Yoga not only helps you relieve stress but it also helps you avoids stress!.
Greater understanding and wisdom
When you regularly practice Yoga and meditation, you’ll see an improvement in your concentration. You tend to analyze things better, you focus better, and you find better solutions. One reason for this is that Yoga widens your views allowing you to see the greater picture. It increases your awareness of situations and people around you, thereby empowering you to have a better intuition.
Maybe, there is a reason why people from ancient India who practiced Yoga were wise men at the peak of their health till the moment they died. The benefits of Yoga are too many to not include Yoga in your life. If you haven’t done it yet, now would be the right time to explore this incredible and amazing world of Yoga and reap the benefits it has to offer!
How to Get Started with Yoga
In Photo: Yoga Stretch for Beginners and Beyond
So, now that you know what Yoga is and are aware of its different benefits, you’ve decided to practice it yourself. But, you have no idea how to go about it. You don’t know whom to approach, things that you would need, and other factors such as when to practice, where to practice, etc.
Stop worrying! We’ll tell you everything you must know to get started with Yoga the right way. Let’s discuss what you need to begin your journey in Yoga.
Choose the right style of Yoga
In the above sections, we’ve seen the different types of Yoga. There are 14 in all, out of these we’ve discussed some of the most popular ones above. But, before you decide which style of Yoga is best for you, you need to find out why you want to practice Yoga.
Ask yourself – why you want to go for Yoga?
The following set of questions will serve as a purpose for you to join Yoga. Also, any time you want to quit practicing or you feel like giving up, your purpose will motivate you to keep going. So, which one of the following reasons you relate with, the most?
- Do you want Yoga to help you become more healthy and fit?
- Are you looking at it as a way of beating stress or dealing with depression?
- Do you want to try something new and therefore are willing to go for Yoga?
- Do you want relief from pain?
- Do you want to experience spirituality and liberation?
- Are you trying to help cure a disease through Yoga?
Whatever your purpose is, keep it in the back of your mind when selecting the style of Yoga.
Analyze the different styles of Yoga
Once you know your purpose, go through the different styles of Yoga we spoke about in the above section. Learn about them and what’s unique about each one of them. When you learn about the styles, you’ll understand that they’re suited for different types of people. Pick the ones that you feel are the ones for you.
Compare the style of Yoga against your needs
Depending on your purpose of doing Yoga and the style that suits that personality, you must have shortlisted one of more types of Yoga as the right choices for you. Start practicing them, starting with the style that most resonates with your purpose and requirements.
For example, if you’re recovering from an injury and you prefer long-held postures, Iyengar style would be the best for you.
Be open to different styles
Selecting a Yoga style isn’t a permanent decision. You can always switch to other styles if you’re not comfortable or happy with one of them. However, changing styles should not be a decision taken in haste after one or two classes. Give your body and mind enough time to settle with one style and if you’re still not satisfied, only then should you switch.
How to choose your learning mode?
Your Yoga guru or teacher depends on different factors such as your comfort level in practicing in a classroom setting, the approach of the instructor, and so on.
- If you think you need the physical presence of a teacher, then enrolling in a classroom would perhaps be better for you. There are innumerable Yoga studios out there, just doing a quick Google search will give you a few names.
- If you need a professional teacher, but are not comfortable with practicing alongside a group of other people, then you might want to go for a personalized Yoga teacher who could take the sessions at either of your places.
- If you need to practice Yoga in the comfort of your home and are good with instructions, then you can go for one of the many good Yoga DVDs available for purchase.
DVDs also open up a wide array of choices in terms of the quality of instructors, variety of courses offered, and the time flexibility. Going for a classroom-based training might have some place constraints as you can only visit a Yoga studio that is best in your locality. This could lead you to miss out on some important Yoga knowledge that can only be imparted by a seasoned Yoga guru.
Things You Need to Know About Yoga – Yoga FAQs
These are some of the top questions that any beginner might have before starting to practice Yoga. Here we attempt to put an end to all those doubts, so you start your Yogic journey with a clear state of mind and complete confidence. So, here are some of the frequently asked questions, answered just for you!
When’s the right time to practice Yoga?
The best time to practice Yoga is early morning soon after you wake up and in the evening around the sunset. These are only the preferred timings and if they don’t suit your schedule, you’re free to find a time that’s best for you. Don’t ever use the right time as an excuse to not practice Yoga. The right time is when you have the time to practice. Also, refrain from practicing for at least 2-3 hours after you’ve had your meal.
Why should you wait for 2-3 hours after eating to practice Yoga?
A Yoga session involves bending, stretching, lying on your stomach, your back, etc. This could make you uncomfortable if the food you’ve consumed isn’t digested. However, if you feel hungry and tired during a Yoga session due to this gap, you could try having a light snack about 30 minutes prior to the session.
Does Yoga have any side effects?
The only effects of Yoga are the positive effects it has on your body. However, when Yoga’s performed without a proper supervision or without the correct instructions, especially in the initial stages, you might not practice the postures in the right way. This could even lead to pain or sprain in the muscle.
Will Yoga help me in treating or curing my disease?
Yoga has not been proven to work as a treatment for any type of disease so nobody can say for certain. It cannot replace medical treatment, but it can certainly helps you relax your mind and body. This speeds up your curing and healing process as a less stressed body and mind become more receptive to medicines and drugs. Consult your doctor before you decide on doing yoga if you have any underlying conditions.
Do I have to become a vegetarian once I start performing Yoga?
This belief stems from one of the principles of Yoga – ahimsa. Ahimsa means non-violence, which also means refrain from hurting any other living creature. Although, most Yogis and gurus were vegetarians, it’s entirely your choice whether or not to give up non-vegetarian food.
Don’t force yourself or others to adopt a vegetarian diet only because it’s supposedly a rule. The path of Yoga leads of liberation where force and compulsion have no place.
How often should I practice Yoga in a week?
You’re free to practice Yoga for as short or as long a time you want. If you want to practice for 20 minutes every day or for about an hour in a week, you’ll start reaping the benefits of Yoga. With time, as you get into the groove of Yoga and experience the peace it brings to your mind, you’ll find yourself taking out more time for it without even realizing.
My body isn’t flexible. Can I perform Yoga?
Yoga makes you more flexible but flexibility isn’t a criterion for practicing Yoga. Even if you have a stiff and rigid body, you’ll realize that with regular practice, your body becomes more flexible. You’ll feel the difference with every successive session and you’ll love the experience.
What are the things I need to start practicing Yoga?
A comfortable pair of leggings or shorts and a t-shirt or a top that fits nicely on you, are the only clothes required to practice Yoga. The key is that your clothes should be comfortable, not too tight or not too baggy. You’ll also need a yoga mat for the added padding.
Who cannot practice Yoga?
Women who are pregnant should not practice Yoga as some types of Yoga can be too vigorous for them. There are special Yoga poses for pregnant women; however, it would be better if you practice Yoga only after checking with your gynecologist. Also, people having heart problems, joint problems, and muscle issues should practice Yoga only after consulting their doctors.
We’ve now learned most of the things about this ancient treasure called Yoga. We know the principles or the different pathways of Yoga, its types, benefits, and more. We’ve also walked you through some of the best Yoga DVDs available on the market.
As we end this post, we’d only like to add that Yoga is a gift to humankind. It’s the path toward enlightenment, liberation, and spirituality. Why not make use of this gift? Why not adopt Yoga in your daily lives and achieve the perfect union of the mind, body, and soul? Take one step on the journey of Yoga, we promise you’d never want to return!