Yoga literally means Union, it is a union of breath to the body and mind to the muscles. Yoga is an ancient science that originates from the sages of India 5000 years ago.

Yoga is extremely popular among women, it's no wonder the benefits seem endless. Yoga can boost your immunity, enhance your memory, help with weight loss, sculpt your body, improve your concentration and make you an overall happy and contented person!

The normal types of exercises you do in workouts at the gym concentrate on strengthening your external organs. But yoga gives importance to internal organs such as your heart, lungs and mind.

The typical exercising you do at the gym can make your muscles tight, yoga makes your body strong and flexible. Most woman don't want rippling muscles but would rather prefer to achieve a sense of well-being. And that's precisely what yoga does for you!

First off let's define a few of the common terms you hear in yoga.
Asanas - This is the term for the actual postures, a pose is an asana.
Pranayama - This is breathing, controlling your breath, it is a very important part of yoga
Dharana & Dhyana is meditation, it is the practice of quieting the mind. It brings an incredible awareness which helps you connect with your inner self.

Common Types of Yoga

Through these years many styles of yoga have emerged, it is estimated there are over 40 different styles of yoga. Knowing which one to practice can send you in to a tail spin. Each one has a different personality and just like finding the right man you may have to try a few before settling on what works for you.

Here are some of the more common styles of yoga:

Ananda: Gentle postures designed to move the energy up to the brain and prepare the body for meditation. Classes also focus on proper body alignment and controlled breathing. Ananda Yoga is a perfect blend of spiritual upliftment and physical exhilaration.

Astanga:  This yoga focuses on strength and flexibility. It is more rigorous and athletically challenging.

Bikram: Bikram Choudhury, known as the "yoga teacher to the stars," developed this yoga practice, which has 26 poses repeated in the same order. You will sweat in this class, Bikram yoga studios are heated to around 100 degrees and sometimes higher.

Integral: Combines postures, breathing exercises, selfless service, meditation, chanting and prayer.

Lyengar: This type of yoga is known for its attention to your body alignment. Asanas are held for longer periods of time. Props such as straps, blankets and wooden blocks are used.

Power: This is Ashtanga Yoga modified for the west. It is a high energy work out that builds strength. unwinds tight joints and loosens muscles. An excellent book for this is Power Yogaby Beryl Bender Birch.

Svaroopa: New students find this a very approachable style, often beginning in chair poses that are comfortable. Promotes healing and transformation.

Viniyoga: This is a gentle, healing practice that is tailored to each person's body type and needs as you grow and change.

Even if you're pregnant

Everyone should try yoga, the benefits are just what we need to live and cope in today's world. There is no age limit, if you are 8 or 80, there is a class for you.

Yet another benefit, if you are pregnant yoga is a great way to prepare your mind, body, and spirit for labor and childbirth. The concentration, focus, breathing techniques, and strength required for childbirth are all essential elements of yoga.

Complimentary first class

Any reputable yoga studio will offer a complimentary first class, this gives you a chance to try it out. Also don't worry if you have never done it and you are not in a "beginners" class, in most yoga classes you will have a mixture of all levels and that is fine. Remember those women that move like "Gumby" started somewhere just like you. An instructor will typically demonstrate the basic asana and then show what can be done to make it more advanced. Everyone practices at their own pace.

Finding a studio or a gym

First, if you know someone who is doing yoga, ask them where they go. If you do not know anyone who does yoga, then you can look in the telephone book under Yoga, check at your local gym or look online at the largest yoga directory - Most yoga studios have web sites so be sure to check those out.

The joys of regular practice

Regular practice of Yoga will result in improved cardiovascular ability, physical strength, flexibility, breath control, balance muscle tone and loss of excess weight. You can't argue those are all the things us women are looking for!

Try to bring self-discipline in your life by getting up early, practicing yoga, eating a healthy diet and minimizing alcohol You will notice a difference just in a few days! And what is more, others can also feel the beneficial influence it has made to your personality.

Join a class today!

Namaste -
(if you don't already know what this means you will after your first class)

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