“Yoga will always be transformational, even when it stops being cool,” says Victoria Moran. Yoga was developed thousands of years ago and is derived from the Sankrit word “yuj” which means, “to unite or integrate.” Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing techniques, yoga postures, and meditation.
The art of yoga is both strengthening and relaxing, especially for stress. If the mind is relaxed, the muscles in the body will also be relaxed. Stress produces a state of physical and mental tension. Yoga is recognized as a form of mind-body medicine. In yoga, physical postures and breathing exercises improve muscle strength, flexibility, blood circulation and oxygen uptake as well as hormone function. Physiological benefits that help yoga practitioners become more resilient to stressful conditions and reduce a variety of important risk factors for various diseases, especially cardio-respiratory diseases.
There are various natures of yoga. There is Aerial, which is fluid, acrobatic yoga done in a fabric hammock, and is used to understand traditional yoga poses.
Asgtanga, which is a practice and philosophy that develops one’s psychological and spiritual health. It is a dynamic system that consists of a precise sequence of poses, breath control, a gazing point, and internal energetic locks.
Bikram, which are consistent poses in a heated studio. Sometimes known as “hot yoga.” Done in a 105-109 degree room, with a sequence of postures that are done in a specific order, preparing the body for the next posture, resulting in powerful healing and miraculous results.
Hatha, which is the typical yoga for beginners. It is slower, but still stimulating and challenging. It is known to build strength, increase flexibility, bring focus to the mind, develop proper body alignment, reduce stress, and increases lung capacity for better breathing.
Iyengar, one of the oldest forms of yoga, where you use lots of blocks and straps for support and precise positioning. Iyengar yoga helps with precision, puts less stress on muscles, and is helpful for recovering from injuries.
Kundalini, which is mainly focusing on meditating and breathing. It uses a specific breathing technique that intensifies the effects of the poses with the purpose of freeing energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards.
Yoga is typically done on a thin mat. There are also blocks and straps that help better align the body in a pose or get into “hard to reach” postures. Yoga cannot be done is skinny jeans. Clothes that have fabric that stretch and absorb sweat are said to be ideal by yoga instructors.
There are yoga classes offered in Jefferson City at the Wilson’s Fitness Yoga Studio. The studio offers yoga for beginners, teen yoga (Hatha), hot yoga (Bikram), deep stretch classes, and meditation classes. Columbia, Missouri also offers hot yoga at Sumits Yoga Studio. Another studio, Yoga Sol, in Columbia offers Iyengar yoga.
The Crusader Raid, Vol. 6, Num. 4.
The Spring/Summer Issue
Written by Laura Schieber