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Learning Yoga For Your Good Health

Jan 27, 2008
For many of us, cranking out a ten-minute mile on a treadmill or pounding the floor of the racquetball court can mean major joint pain. Fortunately, you can cover all three of your major exercise types (aerobic, anaerobic and stretching) through a low-impact activity like yoga.

Yoga is an ancient Indian practiced designed to promote relaxation, health and flexibility. By using a series of poses and breathing techniques, yoga also works on the practitioner's balance, strength and overall health.

Yoga has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, diminish back pain and improve cardiovascular health. Depending on the type of yoga you do, yoga can be an aerobic, anaerobic or stretching exercise or all three.

Essentially, yoga tones and stretches all your joints and muscles. Not only does this unique form of exercise deliver physical benefits, it also reduces stress while promoting relaxation. When it comes to aging well, yoga is one of the best activities you can do.

Some types of yoga are more strenuous than others, so before you sign up for a class or purchase a yoga DVD, you may want to make sure you're choosing a yoga program that's right for you. Keep reading to learn about the five major types of yoga:

Integral Yoga: This is a basic and very gentle form of yoga with a set pattern of postures. The emphasis is on pose control, relaxation and deep meditation. Integral yoga is perfect for beginners.

Ashtanga Yoga: You may see Ashtanga yoga listed as power yoga. This type of yoga moves fast and focuses on a continuous flow of movement through the traditional yoga poses. By incorporating strength, aerobic exertion and flexibility, Ashtange embodies all three types of exercise.

Kundalini Yoga: This form of yoga is extremely spiritual and tends to focus predominantly on breathing exercises, chanting, relaxation and meditation.

Iyengar Yoga: Iyengar yoga focuses predominantly on positioning and poses that are precise and correct. Using wooden blocks, buckets or straps, Iyengar concentrates on alignment and the actual structure of a pose. Though slow and steady, Iyengar is not recommended for yoga beginners.

Bikram Yoga: Also known as hot yoga, Bikram yoga is typically done in a room heated to anywhere from 80 to 100 degrees. Vigorous and intense, this form of yoga may be too much for those suffering from respiratory problems, high blood pressure or cardiac issues.

The important thing is that start learning and practicing yoga today so that you can enjoy the health benefits it offers.
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