Yoga includes physical exercise, but it is also a lifestyle practice for which exercise is just one component. Training your mind, body, and breath, as well as connecting with your spirituality, are the main goals of the yoga lifestyle.
Yoga is defined as a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline that denotes a variety of schools, practices and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism (including Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism) and Jainism, the best-known being Hatha yoga and Raja yoga. The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation) though the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.
It can improve flexibility, strength, balance, and stamina. In addition, many people who practice yoga say that it reduces anxiety and stress, improves mental clarity, and even helps them sleep better.
Although there are different schools of traditional yoga (i.e. Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Swara Yoga, Raja Yoga, Kriya Yoga, and Mantra Yoga), Hatha Yoga is the most popular form practiced in the West.
Yoga can be beneficial for individuals with disabilities or chronic health conditions through both the physical postures and breath-work. Each pose can be modified or adapted to meet the needs of the student. Yoga asanas can be performed while seated in a chair or wheelchair. In a yoga class for individuals with disabilities, yoga asanas are modified or adapted, and may be performed with the instructor's active assistance as needed.
Yoga can lay claims to being one of the world's best exercise routines. Practicing yoga can keep you fit, nimble and youthful. Yoga itself is a great strength building form of exercise. It is also good for maintaining flexibility to your body. Given the nature of yoga however, it can often be difficult to obtain the raised heart rate that is necessary in order to actually burn calories and melt away fat. You don't have to practice yoga to lose weight however yoga can facilitate the weight loss in many different aspects. In fact, if you love yoga and want to practice it - it might be the only thing you need to lose weight.
The different yoga techniques that are available are all dependent on what you want to achieve with Yoga.
The power of yoga to improve the quality of life for our children is starting to dawn on parents throughout the western world. Although yoga has has been popular with adults for many years, only recently have kids yoga classes started to make their presence felt. Children's yoga can increase self-awareness, build self-esteem and strengthen young bodies. It can help coordinate brain functions, balance right and left brain and aid relaxation. Yoga has also been proven to improve concentration, so around exam time a course of childrens yoga sessions could make all the difference. Anxious children also see the benefit, so again, a childrens yoga course around stressful times of the year could have a significant positive impact.