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Yoga is an Indian physical, mental, and spiritual practice that has been developed as early as the 6th and 5th centuries BC. It was introduced to the west in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and has become popular as an exercise system since the 1980s. Yoga is said to be an effective treatment against the development of many diseases, such as cancer, asthma, or heart disease, however, the results of such studies are unclear and inconclusive. Nevertheless, despite the fact that this practice might not have healing powers, it is still one of the best methods to reduce stress and alleviate some minor health problems, the best known and most practised is Hatha yoga.
Yoga combines breathing exercises, physical movements, and focus on what you do, which after time and with regular participation leads to better sleep, increased energy levels and muscle tone, improved circulation, relief from muscle pain and stiffness, and an overall better general health. The breathing exercises can help to maintain a healthy heart rate and blood pressure. Finally, the meditation aspect of yoga relieves stress, which is known to be the cause of most modern illnesses.
Hatha yoga is a branch of yoga originating in Ancient India, in the 20th century the practice of Hatha yoga, especially its particular asanas (physical postures) became popular throughout the world as physical exercises. The term hatha yoga is quite generic, it is used among yoga teachers and practitioners to refer to a gentle practice that combines postures and sequences, and sometimes invents poses as well.
The most well-known sequences of yoga are the Sun salutations, that is best practised after waking up, it is a sequence of twelve asanas, where the first and last five asanas are the same. The restorative posture in yoga is known as Downward dog, it is the resting pose to regain breath before moving on to the next posture.
Nowadays Bikram yoga (or hot yoga) has become extremely popular as well, it was developed in the second half of the 20th century in Los Angeles, it is a series of 26 asanas that is ideally practised in a room heated to 40.5 °C with 40% humidity, that mimics the climate of India.
Since yoga requires a lot of stretching and strikingly different poses, it is best to wear some form fitting but stretchy clothing, yo can buy specific yoga gear in any sports equipment store. Yoga is usually practised on a yoga mat, barefoot, but some asanas might require some special equipment, like yoga blocks to help you with your balance and posture. Yoga can be practised at home on your own, however, it is best to visit some yoga classes with professional teachers to ensure that you learn the correct postures, otherwise you might accidentally hurt yourself. Since it is so immensely popular, there is a great chance to find an experienced teacher close-by your home. After some experience, feel free to select from the wide array of online classes both free and payable, from beginner to advanced levels.
Whether for a better posture, better health, or just for fun, at home or in a gym, indoors or outdoors, alone or in a group, yoga is a great method to regain your health, tone your muscles, and feel good.