Yoga for Mind and Body Breath of Stress Relief
Last updated 11/27/2021
Yoga has something for everyone with a selection of different types. Certainly this depends on your needs, helping you with physical and mental health. As a result it is practiced today by millions, yoga for mind and body.
Yoga is so old that the exact date of its beginning is unknown. Although it has had many influences through the centuries to become the variations we have today. Thus this practice has altered the economy with apparel, gear, studios and classes.
Classes can be found on TV channels as well as on-line. Maybe you began yoga with the pandemic, that’s Great! However it has been given a celebration as the United Nations has named June 21st International Day of Yoga.
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Yoga and Ayurveda
The philosophy involves working towards a healthy lifestyle and correcting any imbalance. This is done through diet, exercise and emotional wellness (stress management). So your balance is considered key to Ayurvedic healing.
The Lifestyle of Yoga
This lifestyle is based on having a routine, doing things in moderation and being in touch with our natural rhythms. Yoga is the moksha (enlightenment).That is to say it is one of the four goals of life according to Ayurveda.
It means to overcome your limitations and really be free within. You are to find that your true self, is a consciousness beyond just your body and mind (easier to say than actually do). And this is where yoga comes in.
Asanas or Body Postures
Each asanas includes a breathing rhythm, this controls energy (pranayama) and brief breaks to relax. While in the asana, focus should be on perfecting the posture and breathing. Certainly does take time and practice. (This I know).
Pranayama in Yoga
Pranayama brings energy to store and release from the solar plexus. I began doing breathing techniques years ago to help with anxiety; at my desk, bathroom (hey I multi-task). As a result the deep breaths help reduce fatigue and supply oxygen to your organs.
Each segment ends with a short period of rest between asanas. Even though you try to rest, tension can cause you to lose energy. Only enough is needed for your metabolic function when you are totally relaxed.
11 Different Types of Yoga
Raja Yoga the focus is on your mind by using positive thinking (ignore that little voice) and meditating. Your mind becomes calm and your intentions are towards a state of balance and peace. And you should become aware of your mental state because the way you think can also affect your body (disease). Further this can be achieved through nature.
Your mind is always interpreting the information your senses take in. There are three guras; sattva, rajas and tamas (energies of the mind). Pranayana and asanas support balancing these energies. Above all the use of mental exercises can deepen this balance.
Keeping your mind healthy through information you take in and eating healthy makes it sattvic (clear and in harmony-calm). Negative thoughts and emotions turn the mind rajasic (restless and agitated-anxious) or tamasic (lethargic and resistant-hateful). Most importantly is to set a goal to reach sattva.
Hatha Yoga has become the umbrella term for all other yoga styles in the west. That being said, it is very common with a long history. Further originally, named Tantra yoga it covers all about the basics.
Most of us have become familiar with the slower gait while focusing on proper posture. It combines asanas with breathing techniques. Hatha helps to relieve anxiety, build better balance, in addition improving cardio and muscles. Thus a great choice for beginners.
Vinyasa Yoga (also called Power yoga) was developed during the 1980s from ashtanga yoga. It involves more of a cardio workout then hatha and other types. There is a faster pace consisting of asanas joined together by the breath.
Usually upbeat music is piped in encouraging more movement. The working up a sweat will burn calories. Vinyasa yoga helps to build strength and flexibility. However this is not recommended for those with knee, shoulder or neck problems.
Iyengar yoga was founded by B.K. Iyengar. This kind focuses on posture along with detailed and accurate movements. As well as it usually is accompanied with music at a slower pace.
Mostly involves holding the pose for an extended time while adjusting the posture. Props are used and though it is not fast paced you will get a workout. Thus Iyengar yoga will leave you open and relaxed. In addition it works well for those with injuries who need a slower workout.
Kundalini yoga is equally spiritual and physical. It puts concentration on releasing the “coiled energy” in the body. Therefore repetitive and encourages energy through the seven chakras.
This style will really work your core and breathing. The movements are fast and intense it may include chanting, mantra and meditation. Thus ideal for those searching for a spiritual connection as well as a workout.
Ashtanga yoga is Sanskrit and translates to “Eight Limb Path”. This yoga is physically demanding, making you hot and sweaty. Thus if you are a beginner, you will want to try another style.
This style is repetitive. Furthermore it consists of standing and floor asanas. So it demands lots of balance.
You don’t want to push yourself too hard with this. Are you comfortable with heat? Most importantly be sure to maintain fluids and replenish.
It involves 26 basic asanas, done twice, in order (wow). In short the focus is on proper posture, and done without music.
Yin yoga (most yoga are yang) is slow paced with seated asanas that are held for a longer time. It also assists with finding inner peace through meditation. Thus relaxing for beginners.
With this type work is done on your deep connective tissue (fascia, ligaments, joints and bones). So it helps to stretch and lengthen tissues rarely used. Most importantly postures are aimed at jointed areas (like the hip, sacrum and spine).
Through more meditation you can tune into both mind and physical sensations in your body. Besides the physical there are many mental health benefits as well. As a result it relieves stress, anxiety, reduces depression, calms the body and slows heart rate. So this yoga can be practiced anywhere and anytime.
Restorative yoga gives a focus to slow down after your day and have your mind relax. At its base, the style is body relaxation. So it assists in cleansing and freeing your mind.
Props are used like blankets, bolsters and eye pillows. It involves fewer poses. Therefore many are altered to be easier and more relaxing. Above all it encourages you to fall deeper into relaxation.
Prenatal yoga is for the expectant parents out there. The “mom to be” works on her pelvic floor, breathing and bonding with the baby. It also prepares for labor and the delivery. Most importantly props are used to achieve stability instead of flexibility.
Karma Yoga is to clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing while you meditate, a real challenge (I struggle with this). It involves doing volunteer work, which is a service for others. Certainly keeps the mind occupied and off one-self.
This action helps to balance the mind. When we are open to others pain (humans, animals or even our planet) we share compassion and empathy. In conclusion helping others can be uplifting and open our hearts.
Wrapping it up
So there you have it. There are quite a few yoga types to choose from. Moreover you are certain to find one that appeals to your needs.
Yoga provides a great way to relieve stress. The breathing techniques put your mind to rest and restores energy. body postures aid with finding balance. Above all you gain knowledge from the philosophy and benefit many healthy habits.
Do you yoga? Which type is for you?
Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.