How is yoga different from stretching and other forms of exercise?
So what is the primary difference difference between yoga and exercise? Exercise is more body-centric with a greater emphasis on strengthening and shaping the body and extremities through specifically localized, structured, repetitive movements. Whereas in yoga, there is a greater emphasis on strengthening and restoring a mind-body connection through the practice of whole body movements with conscious engagement of the breath.
In combination, exercise and yoga are ideal in addressing the physical and mental health of your physical and mental being!
What are the benefits of doing yoga?
Yoga offers a multitude of physical and mental health benefits. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved posture and body awareness
- Improved health of spine
- Improved bone health
- Improved respiration, energy, and vitality
- Improved and balanced metabolism
- Improved digestive function
- Weight reduction
- Cardiovascular and circulatory health
- Improved balance
- Improved athletic performance
- Injury prevention
- Pain relief
- Stress reduction
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved concentration
- Improved sleep
What are the different types of yoga?
Hatha yoga (pronounced HOT-uh) is the most popular form of yoga, referring to the physical postures, known as “asanas”, and breathing exercises, known as “pranayama.”
There are many different styles of Hatha Yoga, including well-known classes such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar and Power. Ultimately, these different styles vary in terms of sequencing, pace, and level of emphasis on alignment and strengthening. However, the physical focus and benefits of these classes are similar, and all dynamically work in engaging and creating heat in the body through more vigorous breath-coordinated movements. These practices result in deep relaxation of the body and mind through strengthening of the spine, relaxation of the nervous system, and balancing of the body’s hormonal functions.
In contrast, restorative or yin yoga is a slower paced practice that focuses on improving joint flexibility and deep relaxation of the body through mindful breathing while resting in supported poses for longer periods of time. Unlike the more active physical Hatha practices, it helps to cool the body and induces a state of deep meditative body & mind relaxation.
A licensed Physical Therapist and Certified Yoga Teacher can help you to determine which class type is most appropriate for you based on your personal needs and goals. Please keep in mind there is no single style that is solely right for you, however choosing a suitable starting point can make a huge difference in helping you to feel comfortable and confident in your practice.
I am not flexible. Can I still do yoga?
Yes, of course! Do not let the stereotypical photos of the very young and flexible people in fancy yoga poses intimidate you! That is not what yoga is about.
Everyone’s bodies are different, and yoga does not discriminate! For the record – it should be stated and understood that some people naturally have joints and muscles that are more flexible than others, giving them a structural advantage that allows them to beautifully move into the very eloquent poses often seen in pictures.
This does not make them any “better” at yoga, nor does it make yoga any “better” for them.
Yoga is a practice of mindful movement and IS accessible to ALL. Regardless of your age, physical limitations, or mental states, you are the perfect candidate to practice! Variations, modifications, and props are available and their use is encouraged to allow for everyone’s bodies to safely reap the benefits of the various poses and practices.
Is Yoga a religion?
Yoga is NOT a religion. Rather, it is an experiential set of practices based on the principles of self-study, physical postures, breathing techniques, and mindfulness exercises that are helpful in achieving physical and mental health and wellness.
What do I need to begin?
All that is necessary to begin is a willingness to try. If you have a medical condition and/or injury, it is advised to consult with your doctor, Physical Therapist, or Yoga Therapist to first determine the safest guidelines for you to begin your practice.
What does a yoga lifestyle mean?
Yoga is based on the principles of respect and acceptance of the self and others. As one begins to find balance in their own life, it becomes natural to make decisions and behave in a way that best serves themselves. For instance, making healthy food choices, getting adequate amounts of sleep, taking time to reduce stress, etc. become natural habits and routines. In essence, the lessons learned on the mat can run parallel to situations that arise off the mat, and a consistent practice can help an individual become more adept at navigating their own life in a healthy, mindful way.
What types of conditions can yoga help to manage?
Yoga is a practice that treats the person, not the condition! Nevertheless, yoga can help to manage a wide variety of physical, mental, and emotional conditions, providing numerous benefits and an abundance of positive side effects. Please refer to conditions treated for a more detailed listing.
How is the yoga of Heal Body & Being different from other forms of yoga?
Sylvie teaches from a level of understanding that each and everyone’s bodies are different, and is passionate in making the practice accessible to all. Based on her knowledge and understanding of the body, her classes are designed to safely incorporate functional, creative and expressive movements while ensuring safety with the poses through placing an emphasis on alignment, breath control, and mindful sequencing that is tailored to the needs of the individual. Sylvie honors the importance of holding a warm and welcoming open space for healing and transformation where one feels safe, accepted and encouraged.