Yoga is becoming more mainstream than ever before – a new study estimates that over 36 million Americans are utilizing yoga now, compared to 20.4 million people engaging in it in 2012. Harvard Medical School notes the various benefits that yoga can bring: improved cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, balance, improved overall quality of life, reduction in stress, anxiety, and pain, and much more. With the rise of yoga, more techniques are being used than ever before. See if you can recognize any of these:
- Anusara – used with a sense of humor, participants are guided to express themselves through poses.
- Ashtanga – 6 strenuous pose sequences are used, and each pose flows quickly with each inhale and exhale
- Bikram – 26 basic yoga postures performed twice in a sauna room
- Hatha – basic and classic yoga
- Iyengar – otherwise known as “furniture yoga”, participants use blocks, straps, harnesses and more to get into correct poses
- Jivamukti – a theme for each class, participants experience physical and limit-pushing poses
- Kripalu – a three-part practices that helps participants know, accept, and learn from their body
These are just a few different yoga styles as practiced in Hindu cultures. Western civilizations have began creating their own unique, modern versions of this, however, and many are concerned by it. For example, GQ discusses the new popular “goat yoga” which incorporates actual goats while participants do yoga poses. CBS News has reported the newest trend, “ganja yoga”, which incorporates a blend of mindfulness and marijuana through yoga poses. While America has jumped on these ideas, it’s important to remember that yoga is meant to serve as a lifestyle, not just an exercise or activity.
For example, people who pursue yoga should seek spirituality, energy, and creativity. They should practice everyday towards living their true values of nonviolence and truthfulness – most American practices focus only on the physical aspect of yoga but less on the lifestyle it promotes.
Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for a long time or are just getting started, consider your motivations for pursuing yoga and explore what it’s truly used for. If you’re in recovery from an addiction or mental illness, yoga could be an excellent supplement to your daily recovery regime.
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