The Art of Yoga: An insight on the practice of mind and body.

Yoga has become a popular form of exercise and meditation with the combination of physical postures and breathing techniques. However, many people don’t realize the dedication and time that yoga requires.

Yoga not only requires flexibility, but also requires physical and mental strength. Many poses require flexibility to achieve, but physical strength is necessary to perfect jump throughs, arm balances, and inversions. Strength is built through practice and exercise; however, even masters of yoga work hard every day to improve their strength, both physical and mental.

This type of exercise is challenging for the mind as well as the body. Yoga challenges us to be present in the moment, connecting with our bodies and our Earth. In this world of technology, mindfulness and connectedness can be difficult to achieve. Society has adjusted to multi- tasking, often working on several projects at a time.  Yoga, on the other hand, challenges us to be aware of how our body feels, where we are breathing, where our mind wanders to, and how we are connected to the world around us.

The mind and body practice requires a certain discipline, just as any other art form. The different branches of yoga challenge us in different ways,
requiring different points of focus. According to Medical News Today, yoga uses the image of a tree to convey its spiritual message and connections to the Earth. The six branches include Hatha, Raja, Karma, Bhakti, Jnana and Tantra. Each branch focuses on different goals such as
positivity, selfishness or wisdom.

While yoga can vary in levels from beginner to advanced, it takes years to master the art. Yogis need to practice flexibility, breathing and focus. There are 13 different types of yoga that are rooted in different beliefs, movement, and focal points. People start doing yoga for a variety of reasons, but one of the main interests in yoga is for health.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga provides health benefits such as improving sleep patterns, balance, and relieving stress. Studies have shown that yoga is beneficial for stress management, promoting healthy eating and activity habits, and mental or emotional wellbeing. While there are potential negative effects of yoga if done incorrectly, the benefits to physical and mental health are far greater.

Yoga requires more from us than people often realize. There is an art to perfecting a pose or breathing technique. The art of yoga takes practice, patience, and dedication, as well as the desire to further bodies and minds.

Sources: Medical News Today, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

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