By Nompumelelo Nkosi
Yoga isn’t really on most people’s minds as it is perceived as a “bourgeoisie” activity. Exercise activities do not have to be categorised. Exercise is equally beneficial. You just need to be determined. Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.
The word “yoga” essentially means, “that which brings you to reality”. There are more than 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense. Others are gentle and relaxing. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. With regular practice, they’ll improve your flexibility. It takes a lot of strength to hold your body in a balanced pose. Regular practice will strengthen the muscles of your arms, back, legs, and core. Historically yoga was more than just a method of teaching; it was a way of life.
You dedicated yourself to a lifestyle and culture that surpassed meditation techniques and included healthy eating habits, bathing habits, social interaction and work. Its philosophy is rooted in a physical culture of health and well-being that is still emphasised today at yoga retreats and explains why over 15 million people in the world now practice this ancient tradition.
Examples of different yoga forms include: Hatha, the form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing. Vinyasa, a series of poses that flow smoothly into one another. Power, is a faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle. Ashtanga, a series of poses, combined with a special breathing technique. Bikram, also known as “hot yoga,” it’s a series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature. Iyengar is a type of yoga that uses props like blocks, straps, and chairs to help you move your body into the proper alignment.
Yoga is a great activity for you if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease. It gives you strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart problems, ask your doctor what you can do. You may need to avoid certain postures, like those in which you’re upside down or that demand more balance than you have right now.
A very gentle program of yoga, coupled with a light aerobic activity like walking or swimming, may be the best way to start. While on Yoga benefits, this ancient method lowers stress and strengthens your mood, boosts confidence, lowers the risk of injury, helps you lose weight, increases flexibility, and improves your posture.
In South Africa, it is a growing activity and you don’t necessarily need to pay for classes while you can do it at the comfort of your home. With many yoga masters accepting South Africa as their home, locals can expect their influence to rise throughout the years. Yoga in South Africa, at this point, can no longer be considered as a trend, but as a solid part of the country’s culture and as an adopted lifestyle.