September is National Yoga Awareness Month, and if you haven’t tried yoga before, this is a great opportunity to try it out! Yoga is an ancient practice that combines various positions (called poses) with deliberate internal focus and deep breathing. It originated in the northern region of India over 5,000 years ago and is currently practiced around the world due to its mental and physical benefits.
The overall philosophy of yoga is about connecting the mind and body to the spirit. There are several types of yoga practices, each with its own focus and characteristics:
- Ashtanga: A series of poses and sequences that rapidly link every movement to the breath
- Bikram: Takes place in heated rooms and consists of 26 poses and two breathing practices
- Hatha: A generic term for yoga focused on incorporating various poses into class and is often used as an introductory class to learn the basic poses
- Iyengar: Focused on the proper alignment in each pose and heavily relies on props to achieve those positions
- Power: The most recent evolution of yoga involving more active and athletic positions
- Yin: Long holds of passive poses that target deep tissues like muscles and fascia
- Restorative: The most relaxing form involving a few poses assisted by props to promote deep relaxation
Yoga offers many benefits to the body and mind including:
- Enhanced Flexibility: As you relax into various poses, your body will loosen up, which will help improve your range of motion.
- Better Breathing: Linking movement to breath results in deeper breathing, which will allow for more oxygen to enter the body and more carbon dioxide and other waste products to be released.
- Reduced Anxiety and Stress: Moving the body and focusing on breathing tends to draw the mind away from stressful thoughts, helping you relax. Yoga helps you look inward and can enhance inner peace, allowing you to manage stress and anxiety better outside your yoga practice.
- Improved Sleep Quality: Less stress often lends itself to improved sleep quality. By managing your stress levels with a yoga practice, you’ll be able to recover even better by sleeping more soundly.
The ancient practice of yoga has evolved over time. VASA offers modern and accessible classes for beginners and experience yogis alike. STUDIO FLOW (VASA’s infrared yoga studio) offers three types of classes: FLOW (traditional hatha), Deep Stretch (yin), and Restore (restorative). The infrared panels above each mat gently warm the body over the course of the class to enhance the general benefits of yoga listed above.
Yoga is a great addition to any workout routine and will help runners, cyclists, and weight lifters alike. Whether you are just starting out or have been practicing yoga for many years, STUDIO FLOW classes can meet you where you are in your yoga practice. All members get three free STUDIO classes, so book your first STUDIO FLOW class today and experience the calming benefits for yourself!