Yoga: This is what you need to know about yoga

Yoga: This is what you need to know about yoga

Over 5 million people in Germany practice yoga! The great popularity is certainly not without reason. So what’s the deal with sun salutations & Co.? What is yoga actually, what positive effects does yoga have on your health, what styles of yoga are there and which type of yoga is suitable for beginners? We'll give you an overview.

What is yoga?

Yoga (from Sanskrit: union, integration, tension) is a philosophical teaching from India that is more than two thousand years old. Yoga takes a holistic approach that aims to bring body, mind and soul into balance. To achieve this, breathing exercises (pranayama), physical exercises (asanas) and meditation are combined. This means that with regular practice you can achieve greater well-being and balance - physically and mentally.

Yoga can be very calm and meditative - but also dynamic and powerful. Even if yoga is not a sport in the classic sense, some styles of yoga are just as demanding as a workout. However, the motivation of most practitioners is not the sporting aspect, but rather the strengthening of body, mind and soul. Ultimately, yoga is always individual - your yoga practice is what you make of it.

Are yoga and meditation the same?

Most yoga sessions begin and/or end with meditation. So meditation is often part of yoga practice, but yoga and meditation are not the same thing. In classic meditation you concentrate on your breathing in silence. This way you can calm your mind and your thoughts, get in the mood for the yoga class or relax and reflect at the end.

Whether you focus more on physical exercises or meditation is entirely up to you. Neither is better or more important. In yoga, anything that feels good to you is allowed.

Yoga basics: What is yoga good for?

As a holistic practice, yoga is equally beneficial for the body, mind and soul. Yoga ensures better mobility, strengthens the muscles and prevents pain. Relaxation techniques and meditation reduce stress and improve general well-being.

Physical and Health Benefits of Yoga:

  • Yoga for more mobility: strengthening (muscle) strength, ligaments and tendons, improving flexibility, balance and coordination
  • Relief from chronic pain such as headaches, neck pain or back pain
  • improved blood circulation and stimulation of lymphatic flow
  • Better posture and pain reduction by strengthening the back muscles
  • Yoga gets your circulation going and is good for the cardiovascular system

Positive effect of yoga
Yoga has many positive effects on your physical and mental health.

Positive effects of yoga on the psyche:

  • Supportive for psychological problems such as anxiety or depression
  • Stress reduction
  • Self-reflection and a more positive attitude towards yourself, others and life
  • Relief from sleep disorders
  • more energy and balance

Yoga can also be used specifically, here are a few examples:

Yoga against obesity

Yoga is a gentle way to get moving. Thanks to the different yoga styles and intensity levels, everyone can start at their own level and gradually improve. Along with a change in diet, regular yoga practice can help with weight loss.

Yoga for depression

Several studies* have now come to the conclusion that yoga can alleviate the symptoms of depression. It was found that the more often, the better. With two yoga sessions per week, a significant improvement in depressive symptoms was seen after two months. Important: Yoga is not a replacement for psychotherapy, but rather an accompanying measure.

Yoga for pregnancy problems

Yoga during pregnancy is a great way to stay fit during this special time. Yoga can be a real relief for typical pregnancy complaints such as back pain. Yoga can also support you mentally during pregnancy and in preparing for birth.

Yoga helps with pregnancy problems
Luisa Harisch also practices yoga regularly during her pregnancy.

Yoga for migraines and headaches

Breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation can provide significant relief, especially for stress-related headaches. Particularly calmer types of yoga such as Yin Yoga can have a positive effect on migraines in terms of intensity and frequency.

Yoga for beginners – your path to yoga

Anyone can do yoga - no matter what age you start or how fit you are. There are even yoga classes for children. For yoga beginners, for example: B. Hatha Yoga is particularly suitable. In Hatha Yoga there are many static positions, which is ideal for practicing. You can gradually improve through different difficulty levels. A supervised course is definitely advisable to start with. If you take one or two yoga classes a week, you will definitely notice the first effects in your everyday life after just a few weeks. And the pleasant, relaxed feeling during the lesson and immediately afterwards usually occurs very quickly.

Yoga classes: together or alone?

As a beginner, you can learn the basics and ask questions in yoga classes. Executing the asanas correctly is extremely important because poor posture can lead to pain or even injuries. By the way, we have dedicated an entire article to asanas .

A good yoga teacher will explain movements and postures to you in detail, support you in the execution, ask about physical limitations and explain the meaning of the individual exercises. Many yoga schools focus on certain yoga styles, others offer a colorful mix. If you already know which type of yoga you want to try, you can search specifically for it. If not, a good yoga school will always be happy to advise you and often offers a free trial lesson. Also pay attention to whether the chemistry between the yoga teacher and you is right. In addition to group courses, there is also the option to book individual lessons.

There is now also a large selection of online yoga courses. If you already know the basics of yoga, this is a great alternative that you can do from anywhere.

As an experienced yogi, you can of course also practice alone - both in addition to the course or exclusively. Whether at home, in the park or on the beach – you can roll out your mat (almost) anywhere. Yoga outside in nature has a particularly intense effect.

A yoga class lasts 60-90 minutes and consists of:

  • Warm-up phase (e.g. breathing exercises, meditation, mantras)
  • Main or practical part with asanas
  • quiet final part, usually with final relaxation (Shavasana)
Yoga in the group
Whether you prefer to do yoga alone or in a group is your individual decision.

Yoga accessories: This is what you need for the perfect yoga workout

The basic equipment for yoga includes suitable yoga clothing and a yoga mat. Optionally, you can use a yoga block, a strap or a meditation cushion. Yoga clothing should be breathable, comfortable, and fit well so you can move easily. We recommend tight-fitting clothing so that everything stays in its place overhead.

Yoga clothing for women: With our sustainable, stylish yoga leggings combined with a top or sports bra you are well equipped.

Yoga clothing for men: Yoga is also becoming increasingly popular among men - here you can find our functional, sustainable yoga clothing for men .

Yoga is generally practiced barefoot, so you don't need shoes. If you get cold easily, you can wear socks. If possible, barefoot is always the first choice – for good balance and secure footing.

Yoga mat – yes or no? Of course you can practice yoga anywhere. However, a good yoga mat provides better support and balance. Rolling out the yoga mat can also have a psychological effect and symbolize the beginning of your yoga practice.

The perfect clothing for yoga
Comfortable clothing is an important requirement so that you can enjoy your yoga class.

An overview of the different types of yoga

Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini – what does that mean and which type of yoga is right for me? Our overview of the most popular types of yoga will help you decide.

Hatha yoga

Hatha yoga is the most famous style of yoga. In Hatha Yoga, the focus is on asanas, i.e. physical exercises. Because these are usually held statically for some time, Hatha Yoga is particularly suitable for yoga beginners. You can find even more information about Hatha Yoga in this article.

Vinyasa yoga

In Vinyasa Yoga, the focus is on flow - a dynamic, flowing transition between the asanas in harmony with breathing. The most famous flow is the sun salutation. A Vinyasa flow can be quite strenuous, but there are also suitable courses for beginners.

Kundalini yoga

Kundalini Yoga has a large focus on mantras, chakras, pranayama and meditation. Some courses even do not require asanas at all. Kundalini is about coming into your full strength on a mental level and getting to know yourself better.

Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is basically a Vinyasa flow. The difference is that the exercises and their sequence are precisely defined and always the same. If you are looking for a physical and mental challenge and are willing to practice regularly for a long time, Ashtanga yoga could be for you.

Yin yoga

Yin yoga is a slow, calm style of yoga. Most exercises take place while sitting or lying down. The special thing is that the individual positions are held for several minutes. This intensively stretches the body, especially the connective tissue and fascia.

A Brief History of Yoga

Yoga is not a religion, but an ancient Indian philosophy. The first references can be found as early as 700 BC. Originally, yoga was purely spiritual: the goal of yoga was to find enlightenment through meditation. The asanas came about later. Their initial purpose was to enable the body to remain in a meditation position for as long as possible. Since the positive effects on overall well-being have been recognized over the centuries, the asanas have been further developed and are now very important in yoga. In the 19th century, yoga became more and more popular and popular with us. The Hathapradipika - a text about Hatha Yoga from the 14th century that was translated into other languages ​​at an early stage - had a great influence on this

Today, yoga is spread around the world, with an estimated 300 million practitioners! The popularity of yoga is absolutely justified, we think. The diversity and the positive effects on body and soul are simply unique. If you have never done yoga before, we would be very happy if our article inspired you to give it a try!

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