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Yoga: Types of Yoga, Benefits and Side Effects of Yoga

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2022

What is Yoga?

Yoga was developed in ancient India and is a collection of mental, spiritual, and physical disciplines or practices. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism all have unique yoga schools, aims, and practices. The two most popular types of yoga are hatha yoga and raja yoga.

However, the creator of yoga has never been documented in writing. Yoga practitioners used to engage in these physical activities long before any written accounts of yoga existed. The Yogis passed on these techniques to their pupils over time, and as yoga spread internationally and became more well-liked. The 2,000-year-old "Yoga Sutra," a book on yogic philosophy by the Indian philosopher Patanjali, is a type of manual that provides guidance on spiritual development as well as strategies for mastering the mind and emotions. It serves as the foundation for all modern yoga practices. The Yoga Sutra, one of the earliest works still in existence, offers the first recorded description of yoga.

In this sort of training, a variety of postures are used in conjunction with deep breathing to improve the body's balance and core strength. The combination of them improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, quickens breathing, and controls how much cortisol the body produces in response to stress.

These poses, which are now a crucial part of health and fitness in numerous yoga studios throughout the globe, were not at first a major part of Indian yoga traditions. Pranayama, Dharana, and Nada are a few of the common yoga techniques.

Summary- Yoga has been widely practised throughout the world since ancient times and provides several benefits to our body such as core strength, regulates hormones and keeps our heart healthy.

How Is Yoga Done?

The best time to do yoga is in the morning about an hour before having breakfast. After waking up in the morning, emptying the bowels followed by taking a shower, yoga practices can be done to begin the day. The other most suitable time to practice yoga is early evening just before sunset. It is however much better to do such practices at a time that suits a person’s daily schedule, rather than missing it out by being too routined or idealistic.

It should be remembered that integral yoga is always a balanced practice. For best results, one must mix and match the required elements of practice, whenever possible, which helps to improve and enhance a person’s spiritual growth and awareness.

Yoga Positions may be practiced at any time of the day except within two to three hours of taking meals. One can do such postures whenever the body feels tired, tensed, stiff or hyped up. However, practice of too many stimulating postures just before going to bed should be avoided. It is best to practice Asanas first during a person’s yoga routine, followed Pranayama (or breathing excerise and then meditation.

The practice of Pranayama can be done at any time of the day except within two to three hours of eating. It can be done when stressed or tired or when the space does not allow room for postures. It is best to practice Pranayama directly after practicing yoga. This practice of Pranayama is very much necessary for a successful and complete process of meditation.

Meditation can be practiced at any time of the day when a person feels comfortable and relaxed. For best results meditation should be avoided within two to three hours of having meals, while feeling sleepy, or when mentally “hyped-up”.

Summary- Yoga can be done anytime you feel tired and tensed, but avoid it after taking meals. You can start with asanas and continue according to your choice.

Who Should practice Yoga?

Yoga can be done practically by everyone, regardless of their gender, age or physical limitations. It is a deep personal practice and is basically based on the concept of “being in the present moment”. It can be done without judgement of any kind and even without competition. Every pose can be modified to suit one’s specific needs, injuries or ailments. Practicing of yoga helps to gain more strength, balance and flexibility as well as helps in improving concentration and focus. Moreover, it enables a person to sleep at night and feel fresh and energetic throughout the day.

Summary- Yoga can be done by any of us regardless of any criteria.

Who Should not practice Yoga?

There are no restrictions as such when it comes about practicing yoga. A person of any age, gender or physique can practice yoga. However, a person can temporarily avoid yoga if some conditions arise that hinders them from doing so. These conditions may include asthma, eye surgery, back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, diarrhoea, heart problems, knee injury, menstruation, insomnia, low or high blood pressure, neck injury, pregnancy or shoulder injury.

Summary- Each and every person is eligible for doing yoga.

Are there any side effects?

Though the benefits of yoga are many, it also has a few disadvantages. Serious side effects of yoga are generally rare Some of the common side effects of yoga include musculoskeletal injury, complication with glaucoma, abnormal increase in blood pressure due to forceful breathing, back injury, muscle strain and others.

An over stretch may happen to occur if a person ignores body’s warning signs and try to go beyond their limitations. Stretching should be done upto the limit one is comfortable with or might feel a mild pull.

Practicing certain yoga positions such as inversions, including Headstand and Shoulderstand, increases the ocular pressure and can cause complications among people with eye conditions such as glaucoma.

Practicing too aggressively and not being mindful as one move into postures can lead to injury. Hence, it is advisable to practice under the guidance of a trained teacher.

Summary- Side effects of yoga are: injury, strain, high blood pressure and ocular pressure.

Reasons to do yoga

People have many reasons for attending yoga classes. For some, it is at the advice of a health care provider for helping with body pain. Others may attend such classes for a relief from stress and anxiety. A short daily practice of yoga, along with reciting a few mantras helps to seek mental peace and solace.

For people who are active with sports and practice of other exercises, practicing yoga once or twice in a week is sufficient. However, those who want to master complex postures must practice them with more dedication and commitment.

Summary- Yoga can be practised on a daily basis.

What is the price of Yoga Classes in India?

The price of Yoga classes in India varies in different places. However the average price range is Rs 500 per class. It is about Rs 1200 for unlimited class of one day. On the other hand unlimited classes for a week and a month are about Rs 5000 and Rs 12000 respectively. The prices of yoga classes in metropolitan cities are usually higher than as in small towns and cities.

Summary- The price of Yoga classes in India may range from Rs 500 to Rs 12000, according to the number of classes you need.

Effectiveness of Yoga

Yoga is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual practices. The effectiveness of yoga bears fruit when practiced daily at regular timings. Early in the morning and early in the evening are the two best timings for practicing yoga. Practicing yoga on a regular basis helps to reduce body weight, increases awareness, makes a person stress free, helps to release blocked emotions, detoxifies the body and helps to eliminate bad habits. All these benefits for yoga shows the best result when practiced regularly and under proper guidance of a well-trained teacher.

Summary- Adding yoga to your daily routine can provide long-term benefits to your body.

What are the alternatives of Yoga?

For people who have practiced yoga and did not find it enjoyable or appealing can switch to other alternative exercises of mind or body. Tai Chi, Qigong, Pilates, Dance and Martial Arts are a few practices that offer an alternative to yoga. All these practices of physical exercise focuses on balance, concentration, reducing stress and tension, improves flexibility of the body, gives a feeling of energy and integrates mind, body and spirit.

Summary- The best alternatives to yoga are: martial arts, dance, tai chi, pilates and qigong.


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Written ByDr. Tushar ChipraBachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)Ayurveda
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