Yoga is a mind and body practice stemming from ancient India. Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. There are many styles of yoga.
Jnana- The path of knowledge and wisdom.
Bhakti- The path of devotion.
Karma- The practice of service.
Raja- Focuses on the practice of meditation/transcendence.
Hatha- The system of physical yoga
Kriya- A system designed to rid the body and mind of obstructions.
Hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced in the United States and Europe. Hatha yoga emphasizes postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Hatha yoga styles include Ananda, Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Kripalu, Kundalini, Viniyoga, and others.
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, yoga is the sixth most commonly used complementary health practice among adults. Survey results showed that more than 13 million adults practice yoga and more than 1.5 million children practiced yoga.
Current research suggests that yoga poses may reduce low-back pain and improve function. Other studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility.
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