Yoga has been trending in the fitness world for a while now. It makes you wonder if it’s really all that people make it out to be, or if it’s just another fitness fad that will fade out for another to replace it. When looking on social media or even when just searching the web, you can find all kinds of information saying that yoga is the best thing since sliced bread for everyone- able bodies and those with injuries. There has been this myth circulating that yoga causes more injury than it does to help injuries. Well I’m here to say, as a disabled bodied, as well as a yogi in training, that this is totally incorrect. It’s always easy to blame an exercise versus the people who do them incorrectly. Today let’s talk about what yoga really is and some of the types that can actually help everyone.
What is Yoga exactly?
Yoga is a very self disciplined Indian ancient practice that focuses primarily on flexibility, breathing, and strength, to help boost your mental and physical welfare. Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago, so yoga being a fad is completely FALSE. It has been adopted in not only other countries, but is now one of the most common practiced activities in schools and fitness clubs, as well as in hospitals for post surgical procedures that produce the best results. Yoga is not always just about what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it as well.
What can yoga do for me and my injuries?
Yoga has been studied and proven to be one of the most effective ways to strengthen the body, improve flexibility and also balance. For those who have injuries like me, it’s extremely beneficial. It helps with high blood pressure, depression, stress, heart disease, aches and pains, just to name a few. The list of benefits can go on. I know it is hard to believe, but it even helps with lower back pain. Due to the nature of the practice, it allows those who have injuries to adjust poses to their personal comfort, allowing for a better result and less pain from injuries. Many people with injuries feel like they have to get into the gym and workout with hardcore fitness routines, or do water aerobics, in order to become healthy. Although these types of exercises are great for some, this is really not true. I have talked to many men who have severe injuries who assume yoga is only for women and that absolutely is not true. I have gone into a yoga class where I was the only woman, and they were doing things I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do. I say that to say, all exercise that helps your injuries so that you can function without hollering out in pain is great, no matter the gender.
My 5 types of yoga and their benefits:
There are so many different types of yoga and they seem to multiply each year. There are basic yoga practices as well as the more intense, but this allows the individual to choose what better suits their needs. Here are my top 5 yoga practices and their benefits:
- Ashtanga– is an arrangement of yoga that focuses primarily on connecting breathing techniques with all of the poses. The breathing techniques are designed to center the mind while controlling the flow of breath throughout the body which enhances flexibility and strength. This is strict a practice with poses being done in a continuous and specific order. **Some pose names: Standing still, sun salutation, thumb to foot pose, hand to foot pose, extended right triangle pose, resolves right triangle pose, half bound lotus pose
- Bikram or Hot Yoga– is one of the hottest, and I mean that literally, yoga practices where you practice in heated rooms of 95-100 degrees. If you don’t like to get sweaty, then you just need to skip to the next one. Bikram takes you through 26 poses whereas Hot Yoga can and may be varied in the amount and poses. These classes are very popular because they help with detoxification and they increase flexibility. **Some pose names: Half moon pose, awkward pose, standing bow pose, standing head to knee pose, eagle pose, balancing pose, tree pose, toe standing pose, dead body pose
- Hatha– is what I usually advise beginners to start off with in order to learn not only your bodies but also to get the hang of poses. Hatha is a “How to” type of yoga. This allows those practicing to learn the movements and basic postures. You get to choose the pace and style according to where you are and what injuries you need to cater to. If you are wanting to be a yogi or just beginning yoga, this is the perfect place for you to start. **Some pose names: mountain pose, tree pose, downward facing dog pose, warrior pose, bridge pose, bound angle pose, easy pose, seated twist pose, staff pose
- Vinyasa– is very similar to Ashtanga and Hastha but it centralizes poses around the sun salutation while also synchronizing your breath to match the 12 poses. It can also be called the “arranging something in a special way” yoga. This type of yoga is great for beginners and the more advanced alike. Vinyasa strengths the core while connecting movements with your breathing. At the end of each class you do savasana, the final relaxation pose. **Some pose names: cat-cow pose, crow pose, plank pose, 4-limbed staff pose, upward facing dog pose, downward facing dog pose
- Restorative– is the most relaxing and soothing type of yoga. Restorative is the absolute best yoga practice for those who have injuries. With at least 5 poses per class, you are able to completely relax you body. This type of yoga is better than a power nap and is also referred to as Yin yoga. Restorative is the best psychological cleansing. **Some pose names: corpse pose, child’s pose, adepts pose,
These are only my top five types of yoga that can help ease those who have injuries into become actively fit again. I know it can become hard at times especially when it comes to joint issues but you can still push through and make your injuries and/or conditions much better. The better you feel the more you’ll want to do. There is so much information on yoga especially on Youtube. At first yoga seemed like a fitness fad until I dove deeper into it, but now it is most definitely a fitness heaven for all, young and old. There is nothing like working on your body, mind and soul, all at one time. Yoga is no fitness fad but definitely fitness heaven for all. Make this the year you get out and try to become healthy, even if it’s not yoga. Get up, get out and do something-it may very well change your entire life.
Helpful yoga links:
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