Physical fitness is an extremely important factor in leading a happy and healthy life, and it can be achieved by a number of different exercise regimes. One of the routines that prove to be beneficial in achieving goals of physical fitness is yoga. Yoga is a practice of the mind and body with its roots deeply implanted in the ancient Hindu culture. Initially yoga was practiced mainly for meditative purposes but it also provided strength and flexibility to the body while relaxing the mind as well. With the advent of yoga in the western world, it was transformed into a more physically active exercise plan and minimized focus on the meditativel side. Although people practice yoga for both purposes, many opt to follow it purely on a physical fitness basis.
There are various types of yoga that are suitable for acquiring a well toned and healthy body. Most of these modern categories fall under the Hatha yoga, which is commonly referred to yoga in the western countries. Hatha has many different variations and the most popular ones for fitness purposes are:
Bikram yoga, which was introduced by Bikram Choudhury, is an excellent yoga method which is performed in a room with temperatures up to 105 degree Fahrenheit. This is a fast paced exercise program and the high temperature is very effective in burning excess fat and providing extra flexibility to all body joints and muscles. These sessions are very effective in improving your physical state as it leads the yogi through a series of 26 postures that stimulate and galvanize the whole body.
Ashtanga is another extremely popular form of yoga to achieve physical fitness, which was introduced by Guru Pattabhi Jois. It involves a combination of asanas and pranayamas that utilize various body parts to provide a lot of cardiovascular benefits. These poses and breathing techniques collectively let the body reach its maximum levels of physical health and well being.
Iyengar was founded by BKS Iyengar and is a variation of the Ashtanga yoga. It uses the aid of props such as cushions, belts and blocks to perform the different postures in order to accomplish greater balancing and strengthening from each session. It also places great emphasis on achieving proper body alignment for best results from a class. Iyengar modules offer one on one teacher student interaction in order for the yogi to gain the strength that helps to develop a robust and fit body.
Modern day workout systems such as Aerobics, Pilates and Weight training present a tough routine for the body to attain physical fitness, but session leave you drained and tired. Many people believe that they are gaining a healthy and in shape body from these lessons, but at times they overexert the body and propels it into recession. In comparison, yoga when practiced properly replenishes the body along with creating a balance between the body, mind and soul and creating harmony among them. This leaves the yogi with a feeling of peace and energy, while gaining immensely from the physical aspect of the workout.