Trying to find balance in your life? Yoga might be the answer!

I was reunited with a long lost friend a few weeks back…my yoga mat. We’ve been hanging out at least twice a week now, and I love every second of it! If yoga is something you’ve always wanted to try I encourage you to go out and find a class immediately. Other yogis (people who practice yoga) will agree that there is a class out there for everyone to suit any fitness level and the benefits of yoga are tremendous!

First, there is one big yoga misconception that I’d like to clear up. Many believe that yoga is a religious practice. Although the origins of yoga are derived from religious practice, most classes do not discuss religion. Yoga is whatever you decide to make of it, which is where the real beauty lies. For many it’s about improving flexibility, others may find focus and balance, and for some it is very spiritual.

There are many different styles of yoga. Listed below are some of the most popular classes you may find at your local fitness center or yoga studio.

  • Ashtanga Yoga – Broken down, the word “ashtanga” means eight- (ashta) limb (anga) practice. The eight limbs of ashtanga yoga are restraint, observance, posture, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditative absorption and enstasy (to bring into harmony). The practice is very much about elegance, power and ancient tradition.
  • Bikram YogaBikram yoga consists of 26 postures (asanas) designed to work every part of the body from muscles and organs right down to the ligaments. Bikram classes, also known as hot yoga, are held in heated rooms (around 105°F and 40% humidity) to warm up the body and promote flexibility.
  • Hatha Yoga – The word “hatha” means willful or forceful. It refers to sequences of asanas designed to align your skin, muscles and bones. Hatha yoga is also meant to open up the energy channels of the body, the main one being the spine.
  • Vinyasa Flow – Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement.” During this practice, your breath is what guides you through the asanas. If you’ve ever watched a vinyasa yoga class, you will notice that the movements are very smooth and students are practicing at the pace of their own breath.
  • Yin YogaYin yoga is designed to deeply work the body, heart and mind. Postures are passive in nature and are held for longer periods of time to focus on the ligaments, fascia, joints and bones. This also allows for a greater focus on the mind through meditation.

Other popular classes include aqua yoga, chair yoga, prenatal yoga and yoga for men.

Practicing yoga is about finding inner peace, compassion, balance, mindfulness and self-acceptance. It is about opening your heart and sharing it with others. I highly encourage each and every one of you to try a class at least once. In order to fully understand the meaning of yoga you must experience yourself. If you already have a class you attend please comment and share your experience with others!

Namaste. 

Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS

About Niccole LaDue

Niccole is a wife, fitness enthusiast and vegetarian. Her position as a Health Educator for Blue Care Network allows her to share her passion for health and wellness with everyone around her. Niccole holds many fitness certifications and is working towards her master’s degree in Wellness & Lifestyle Management at Rowan University. She is a lover of Michigan, food, music and life!
 
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  1. Joe 12 months ago

    Since the new year I’ve been practicing 3x per week. Lost my spare tire already, I feel stonger, and it kept me emotionally grounded thru a difficult life event. I recommend!

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    • Niccole LaDue 12 months ago

      Hi Joe,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I’m glad you found something that works for you – mentally and physically.

      Be well,
      Niccole L.

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  2. Jean Coon 12 months ago

    Wow, Nicci! Your mom sent this to me, and I am super impressed…what a great deal you have accomplished, and your credentials are magnificent!!!!!!!!!! I recently tried a yoga class in Hadley, of all places, and it kicked my butt! But I have invested in a purple yoga mat, and I am going back. Best wishes and continued success!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, Jean (who–you know–no longer has varicose veins :)

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    • Niccole LaDue 12 months ago

      Hi Jean,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. :) I’m so glad you liked the yoga class and that you want to keep doing it!

      Take care,
      Nicci

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  3. J. Wilson 12 months ago

    I have been practicing yoga for about a year now. It all started with a visit to the workplace from an instructor encouraging folks to try yoga one day per week during the lunch. I had no idea that the four lunchtime yoga sessions I enjoyed would turn in to what has now become a four to six day per week, healthy “addiction.” I always suspected I was lacking balance within my life, mentally and physically. Yoga, being the Sanskrit word for unity, has truly united my body and mind and brought balance and peace to both.

    Now, I have brought lunchtime yoga to the conference room every Friday during lunch and, in some ways, have become a bit of a “yoga evangelist.” I always loathed the saying “if I can do it, so can you” but yoga has shown me just how true that is. IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU… SO CAN WE ALL.

    Yoga is more than just getting flexible and “standing in the same place for an hour.” Yoga is more than just something for skinny white women. It is great for men, women, children, management, hourly employees, brothers, sisters. Yoga can and does work for anyone. If you can breathe, you can do yoga….and, no, you don’t need a pair of $125 yoga pants to get the benefits of yoga.

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    • Niccole LaDue 12 months ago

      Good afternoon J. Wilson,

      I LOVE your comment! Thank you for sharing your wonderful and inspirational experience with us all. You are absolutely right…yoga is about so much more than flexibility. It has done wonders for my body and mind, which is why I think everyone should try it!

      Be well,
      Nicci L.

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