What is Yoga?

Yoga is a holistic therapy that aims to unite the mind, soul and body. Most yoga styles are derived from hatha yoga, a type of yoga that focuses on the body and breath and aims to develop control of the body through poses (or asanas). Hatha represents the two sides of life – the yin and the yang, the dark and the light – and aims to bring these two sides into harmony and balance.

What is yoga?

How Does Yoga Work & What Are Its Benefits?

All styles of yoga balance the body, mind and spirit but how they do so may differ. Some styles focus on the poses, while others may focus on breathwork, alignment or the flow of movement.

Breathing is very important in yoga as the breath signifies your vital energy. In yoga, being able to control your breath can help you to control your body and your mind. No matter which style of yoga you choose, there are many classes available and the health benefits are many. Practising yoga not only helps you achieve a toned, flexible body and a clear mind, but it also keeps all sorts of ailments and diseases at bay.

Conditions That Yoga Can Help With

Yoga is not called a mind-body medicine for nothing. The poses, meditation techniques and breathing exercises involved in the practice relax the mind, hence producing positive physiological responses that aid in the healing of various health conditions, including:

  • How can yoga help youHeadaches and migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Asthma
  • Eating disorders
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Where to Go for Yoga or Who Provides It

Gyms and yoga studios run by certified yoga teachers offer a variety of yoga classes to fit every person's fitness level and health condition. Although a yoga mat is basically what you need in most classes, there are yoga classes that require specialised equipment like a heated room for Bikram yoga. Some classes, such as those for laughter yoga, are ideally held outdoors like in parks. 

Different Yoga Styles

There are many different styles of yoga that you can learn and practise. Here below are some of the common styles that can make massive changes to your physique and support your mental wellbeing.

  • Anusara Yoga is a style of hatha yoga that focuses on postures that follow the universal principles of alignment, to bring your physical and spiritual wellbeing into harmony. 
  • Ashtanga Yoga in AustraliaAshtanga Yoga refers to the eight limbs of yoga. It consists of deep breathing techniques and a series of postures to promote equanimity. 
  • Bikram Yoga consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises which are done in a hot room. Besides detoxification, it also helps with weight loss.
  • Corporate Yoga is conducted in an office as part of a company's employee wellness package. It reduces stress levels, calms the mind and allows employees to shift gears so that they can be more productive.
  • Hatha Yoga is the most common type of yoga that trains you to hold postures longer to develop endurance, flexibility and strength.
  • Iyengar Yoga consists of precise postures for alignment and includes different kinds of props, such as blocks, chairs and ropes, which make each posture easier to carry out. It's ideal for people with injuries or physical limitations.
  • Kundalini Yoga is described as the yoga of awareness that involves breathing exercises, chanting, movement and meditation to stimulate the meridian points in the body and shift consciousness.Laughter yoga in Australia
  • Laughter Yoga is a unique concept of yoga wherein laughter and deep breathing techniques are used to release stress and improve circulation. 
  • Pregnancy Yoga relieves aches and pain that are associated with pregnancy and connects the expectant mum with her inner self and growing baby.  
  • Raja Yoga is a relaxing form of yoga that calms the mind and shifts negative thoughts through meditation techniques. 
  • Satyananda Yoga is a system of yoga that aligns the head, heart and hand to increase awareness and bring balance and harmony to one's personality. 
  • Online yoga in AustraliaVinyasa Yoga, also known as flow yoga, consists of a sequence of postures which you carry out with the breath. 

Regardless of what yoga style you go for, practising it regularly will give you more control over your thoughts and the power to regulate your stress and emotional responses. You don't have to be in a yoga studio to experience its many benefits. You can sign up for a class in yoga online and start cultivating your mind and body awareness in the comfort of your home.

Available Courses in Yoga

If you want to learn how to achieve a better version of yourself and realise your purpose in life, it pays to study the different systems of yoga. Scientific evidence shows that yoga does more than improve physical health; it shifts thoughts and emotions and allows people to exceed their limitations.

Yoga courses in Australia

If you're hoping to become a certified instructor of yoga - all yoga courses recognised by the relevant yoga associations will lead to that - it's of paramount importance that you embrace the practise as a whole. Start your journey with the philosophy of yoga and its eight limbs before progressing to the physical postures or asanas.

Securing a yoga teacher training certificate is the minimum requirement to teach yoga. This qualification may also be used to obtain a diploma-level qualification. Your learning experience need not be confined in the four walls of a classroom as there are many yoga schools in Australia that provide online courses. You may check out the Natural Therapy Pages' complete list of course providers so that you can weigh your options and find the most suitable training program.

What to Expect From Yoga

What to expect from yogaYoga is unlike typical exercises that focus on the physical aspect of health. It reconciles your mind and body so that you can see and experience life as a complete human being. It's dubbed a mind-body medicine because it has the ability to connect you with your core self and, ultimately, change your genetic makeup so that you can achieve optimal health and your fullest potential. 

To gain a deeper understanding of yoga and what it can do for you, you may visit the Natural Therapy Pages' full listing of Australia's renowned yoga practitioners and instructors.