Modern life can throw up plenty of reasons to become stressed, and an excellent stress-relieving discipline for both body and mind is yoga. Yoga originated in India, but the benefits of yoga has made it popular throughout the world.

How Yoga Can Help Body and Mind

An individual new to the concept of yoga may think it is all about contorting the body into weird and wonderful shapes while meditating to achieve a Zen-like state, but yoga does not push people into doing exercises that are beyond them, but instead makes them aware of the connection between mind and body. People of any age can begin yoga, whether they are teenagers or septuagenarians.

The physical benefits of yoga include greater body flexibility, less tension in the muscles, increased core strength and balance, and even lowered blood pressure. Emotional benefits, due in no small part to the breathing techniques that yoga employs, include reduction of stress and anxiety, improved sleep patterns, and a greater sense of well-being. The breathing techniques learned in yoga can help with difficult situations at any time of day or in any location.

Different Types of Yoga

There are several different types of yoga, but the best one for a beginner is Hatha Yoga, which focuses on posture and breathing. Vinyasa yoga is a rather more physical practice, whilst Lyengar focuses on achieving proper alignment of the body. Bikram Yoga is a far more energetic discipline and is best for advanced practitioners.

Where to Enjoy Yoga

One of the most attractive aspects of yoga is that it does not have to be a public performance. There are plenty of books and instructional DVDs that can be used in the comfort and privacy of the home. However, there are advantages to attending yoga classes. As well as the social aspect, a qualified instructor will be on hand to ensure that the practices are being performed properly, thereby reducing the chance of injury, and that the practitioner is getting the most out of the positions.

Create a Yoga Room at Home

But yoga classes can be expensive, and as minimal equipment is needed, it is a physical activity that can easily be carried out at home. A spare room is the perfect space to dedicate to yoga. As yoga is a calming, de-stressing activity, it is vital that the room used helps to achieve a relaxed state. This is helped by really lovely furniture that is attractive to look at and utilizes natural materials, like wood and bamboo.

Use soft, cool and calming colors on the walls, such as white, creams and light browns. Have hardwood floorboards or laminate flooring laid down, not carpet, as a yoga mat needs some traction to stay in one place. Some people like to look at themselves while exercising; so one wall could be lined with floor to ceiling mirrors. A little storage may be necessary to hold yoga mats, towels, and perhaps a stability ball.

If possible, enlarge windows to allow as much light as possible into the room, and bring nature inside with leafy pot plants and flowers. For the deep relaxation and meditation part of the yoga session, it is pleasant to turn the lights down and light some scented candles.