Practicing yoga doesn’t require Elastigirl flexibility! It’s for absolutely anyone and everyone. With a diverse array of exercises available, yoga still stands as one of the most basic, effective means to address physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual concerns.
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root Yuji which means “to join or to unite.” Beyond exercise, yoga is a spiritual discipline that aims to bring a state of harmony between the mind, body, and sprit. It encourages direct experience for the human person to be able to traverse through a journey of self-exploration and enlightenment.
Its history dates back to some 10,0000 years ago, before the birth of any religion or belief system. It started through word of mouth, secretly-held teachings, and writings on palm leaves. (Talk about old school!) Shiva is known as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and the first guru or Adi Guru. On the Himalayan banks, Adiyogi shared his profound knowledge with the legendary Saptarishis or seven sages. These sages carried this powerful yogic science to different parts of the world which was passed unto modern scholars. It was in India where yoga blossomed to its fullest expression and became part of its culture and way of life.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF YOGA?
1. Improves mental health. Yoga reduces anxiety and stress and allows you to meditate, relax, and separate yourself from unnecessary worries and fears.
2. Aids in cardiovascular health. Yoga lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol, and increases blood flow.
3. Strengthens bones. Yoga poses, especially when done with weights, can build bone density and reduce cortisol, calcium’s arch-nemesis.
4. Increases brain activity. Yoga promotes a calm state of mind, leading to better memory and focus.
5. Encourages healthy eating habits. Uoga encourages mindfulness, which is used to create awareness on the taste, smell, and texture of your food.
6. Improves flexibility and balance. Yoga routines can loosen tight nerves and knots, improving overall strength and body performance.
7. Enhances the overall quality of life. Yoga allows you to take care of yourself and be more aware of your surroundings, leading to an overall increase in wellness and happiness.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF YOGA?
To jumpstart your yoga journey, finding the right fit is important. The type of yoga depends on whatever your mind and body needs–there really is no one-size-fits-all. Whether you choose to practice at home or take a class, it’s best to try out different styles, studies, and teachers. Once you find one that resonates with you, dedicate yourself to it and practice, practice, practice. Here are 4 of the most popular yoga practices:
Yoga Basics and Hatha Yoga
Knowing the fundamental poses as well as basic pranayama (breathing practices) is a great place to start for any beginner. Slow-paced classes like Hatha require you to hold each pose for a few breaths and focus on your form and stability.
This practice merges movement and controlled breath in a dance-like, fast-paced motions. It’s best for those who enjoy the thrill of continuous movement and sequenced poses.
If you’re a certified OC-slash-neat freak, Ashtanga is your perfect match. It follows a strict routine consisting of 6 series of specifically sequenced yoga poses. It’s the same exact pattern for every class, so it’s all about perfecting your form and poses!
Similar to hot yoga, Bikram will make you sweat like crazy. If you’re drawn to a sequence that takes on 26 different poses with 2 breathing exercises, this one’s for you. Remember to take it easy. Doing continuous movement in a heated room is no joke.
If you need a chill pill to get away from all that stress and anxiety, say hello to restorative yoga. This mellow, slow-paced practice allows you to experience a state of deep relaxation. Expect a better night’s sleep afterwards. (Just don’t fall asleep during class!)
HOW TO START PRACTICING YOGA?
You can visit your local yoga studio or following one of many Youtube videos. And when you’re armed with the proper gear, you’ll be well on your way to reach that yogi state of mind. The 6 non-negotiable yoga essentials, below!
1. A mat
Never practice on an uneven surface and make to always use a proper yoga mat. It prevents your hands and feet from slipping and sliding, and provides the right amount of traction to execute the routine properly.
2. A sling
Easily carry around your mat in and outside your house without the need to constantly check if it’s in place. Compact and secured? Check and check!
TRY: Feet and Right Stripes Yoga Mat Sling, P249
3. A towel
A yoga towel is extremely versatile. It can works as a soft covering over your mat to prevent slippage, as well an exercise towel to keep your face and body sweat-free. And when you’re on the intermediate level of difficulty, it can be the perfect substitute for your mat.
TRY: Feet and Right Yoga Towel, P699, Fitness & Athletics Skidless Yoga Towel, P725, Towelite Yoga Towel, P1,050
4. A strap
Some poses can be difficult to achieve, which is exactly why a yoga strap is designed to aid in support, alignment, and posture. It helps minimize the pain of reaching a pose while improving your flexibility.
TRY: Flux Movement Black 2-in-1 Yoga Strap, P250, Feet and Right Yoga Strap/Belt, P299
5. Socks and gloves
Traction between your body and the mat is needed to properly execute the routine. Yoga socks maintain your balance and keep your feet warm during floor poses. Yoga gloves prevent you from slipping and help you grip your mat or other surface areas.
TRY: Feet and Right Yoga Gloves, P399, Feet and Right Open Toe & Heel Yoga Socks, P499
6. A multi-purpose spray
Post-yoga care is just as important, which is where a multi-purpose spray comes in handy. The best ones eliminate bacteria and impart a calming scent. It’s the perfect way to cap off a yoga sesh!
TRY: Spoiled By Oils Namaspray Yoga Mat Spray (100ml), P180, Spoiled By Oils Afteanoon Room Spray (100ml), P180
Above all else, having an open mind and heart will make your yoga journey as personal as it can be. Just don’t expect to experience all the benefits in a session. Yoga isn’t a one-time wonder–it’s a continuous practice that requires patience and hard work. Start with the right intentions and you’ll find yourself coming back for more.
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