Yoga, which means “spiritual discipline,” originated in the east as early as 3000 B.C. Uncontested archaeological evidence depicts men in yoga meditation poses. Today, this ancient practice is more popular and profitable than ever with females dominating the practice at 72.2 percent. Between 1998 and 2008, the number of people practicing yoga increased from 12 million to 15.8 million and Americans spend more than $5.7 billion dollars a year on yoga classes, paraphernalia, videos, guides, and retreats. This figure represents a staggering 87 percent increase in spending over 2004.
With millions of people practicing yoga across the U.S, along with 9.4 million non-practitioners that plan to try yoga, it should come as no surprise that yoga attracts people from all walks of life. People of all ages can practice yoga thanks to varying levels of difficulty to suit specific goals. For example, Yoga is recommended by physicians as a supplement to treat medial conditions from back pain to high blood pressure to respiratory conditions. Yoga is also believed to help treat anxiety, depression, and stress.
For many, however, yoga is not used as a treatment for any given mental or physical condition. Some may use yoga as a tool to lose weight while others may practice in hopes of toning the muscles, stretching the body, and improving cardiovascular health. For these reasons, when choosing a yoga class, the first step is to determine what you would like to accomplish in these 60-90 minute sessions. The following questions will help you focus on exactly what you wish to accomplish. Once you have determined your goals, there many different types of traditional yogas that will help you reach them.
· Are you trying to lose weight?
· Do you have a medical condition?
· Are you pregnant?
· Do you want to feel more centered?
· Are you grieving?
· Do you feel tired and want more energy?
· Are your muscles stiff and you want to improve flexibility?
· Do you want a “yoga body?”
· Are you curious about yoga and you just want to give it a try?
· Are you trying to improve your posture?
· Would you like to boost your confidence?
· Do you have an addiction?
Bhakti, karma, jnana, raja, mantra, laya, tantra, hatha, kundalini, and kriya are among the main traditional yogas practiced around the world. In America, you may have heard of ashtanga and bikram (hot yoga). These popular forms of yoga are not thousands of years old, but they are considered effective.
Ashtanga incorporates power poses, which help to strengthen the muscles, increase the heart rate for a challenging cardiovascular workout, and stretch the muscles. Beginners should always choose a level I ashtanga (beginner). You will know when you’re ready to advance to intermediate level (level II). This typically occurs after mastering the movements and poses, and after you have developed ample coordinatio...