Two Variations on Traditional Yoga Worth Trying

With the buzz about celebrities and their yoga obsessions, it’s likely you know by now about the many health benefits that the long-term practice of yoga may bring. What you might not know is that there are other variations to the yoga classes offered in your neighborhood fitness center, all with their own added bonuses. Hot Yoga (which owe its claim to fame to the “yogi-to-the-stars” Bikram Choudhury) and Ayurveda yoga both offer a different advantages to even the newest practitioners of the ancient art. Both styles have been gaining popularity in the past few years and for good reason! Both offer weight-loss potential in a low impact, stress-free environment and help the user gain focus while increasing their overall health and wellness.

About Hot Yoga

In Hot yoga, the room temperature is kept at 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit with increased humidity while you move through a series of 26 asanas (body positions). Most hot yoga classes average at about ninety minutes in length. The heat helps the body warm up while it relaxes the muscles, increasing your flexibility and preventing injury. The heat also encourages an increase in cardiovascular activity and helps you burn more calories – sometimes up to 1000 per session. The increased temperature encourages your body to sweat more than normal, helping the body to get rid of toxins more quickly.

Health Benefits

Many people are pursuaded to practice hot yoga for the first time because they have heard that it may assist in their weightloss – and it does! What they don’t realize is that there are more benefits to be had! Hot yoga is an exercise for the mind as well as for the body. Concentration and meditation are at the core of yoga to help you relax and focus thus reducing stress and improving overall wellness. Hot yoga can also:
-Improve your overall balance
-Develops or increase stamina
-Increase the flexibility of your body
-Tone core muscles
-Lower blood pressure, and
-Improve coordination

Tips

Hot Yoga is a difficult task involving both the mind and the body. As such, it is important to be informed if you want to give it a try. These are some expert tips to keep in mind before any hot yoga session:
-Don’t eat for at least two hours before class.
-Drink plenty of water before and after class to prevent dehydration due to the heat and humidity.
-Bring your own mat and towel since you will be sweating heavily. Some centers may have towels or mat for rent or purchase, but always be prepared.
-Choose comfortable clothes that are light-weight and easy to move in.

Understanding Ayurveda

Ayurveda (pronounced Ah-yur-vay-dah) is the ancient method of medicine developed over 6,000 years ago in India. The treatment blends science with holistic healthcare. Ayurveda means “knowledge of life”. Using a natural approaches to creating balance and strengthen the body’s healing abilities, Ayurveda treatment can help to balance the body both inside and out. While it is not necessarily a style of yoga, it can be combined with various asanas to produce holistic health benefits for the users that exceed those of traditional yoga alone.

Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional, all-embracing system of healthcare. Its many elements work together towards optimal health. As restoration of the body and balance are the key ingredients to health and wellbeing, Ayurveda is an excellent choice for those seeking to realign their bodies and minds without the sometimes impersonal approach of ‘standard’ healthcare practices as it is adjusted to suit an individual’s needs.

It is important to understand that the practice of Ayurveda is not only intended to heal those that are sick, but to prevent future illness from arising. It is as effective as a preventative measure as it is a therapeutic treatment. Ayurveda helps the body to fight against uncontrollable factors like physical and emotional stress as well as the contamination of our bodies from our food, air and water. Because of all this, maintaining optimal health can be difficult. The purpose of Vedic therapy is to balance and restore not only one’s body, but also their mind.

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Sources: Clearwater Aesthetics Medicine, Bikram Yoga RVC , Yoga Journal, and ABC of Yoga

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