What’s your style?

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - News -

Ev­ery­one knows about the health ben­e­fits of reg­u­lar yoga prac­tise – flex­i­bil­ity, strength, calm­ness of mind. If you’re not yet spend­ing time on the mat, here’s how to make this In­dian prac­tice one of the most ef­fec­tive tools you have in your healthy tool kit.


ere are many dif­fer­ent styles of yoga, with var­ied lev­els of phys­i­cal in­ten­sity. Ash­tanga or Vinyasa Flow classes, for ex­am­ple, are tough work­outs that will in­crease the heart rate and use up en­ergy. But yoga’s se­cret weapon is not a sim­ple ‘en­ergy in, en­ergy ex­pended’ equa­tion. In fact, it’s the gen­tle rou­tine that can have the most im­pact.

“Yoga con­nects mind, body and breath, and it’s this con­nect­ed­ness that makes peo­ple more mind­ful of their bod­ies,” says Marc Co­hen, Pro­fes­sor of Health Sciences at RMIT. “ey start to move bet­ter, feel bet­ter, and that cre­ates pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment.”

It’s the holis­tic na­ture of yoga, with its em­pha­sis on life­style and phi­los­o­phy as well as ex­er­tion and con­trol of the mind, which can give it the edge over other forms of ac­tiv­ity.

“You can­not have a healthy

body if the mind is over­ac­tive and un­bal­anced,” says Satya Live Yoga founder and teacher Christina Ja­gu­siak. “Yoga brings ease to the mind and re­duces feel­ings of stress.”


Yoga prac­tice is so di­verse that it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to keep up with its myr­iad forms. “ere are many branches of yoga [in­clud­ing] Bhakti, Gyan, Tantra and Hatha to name just a few,” says Christina.

In re­cent years, Hatha forms such as Bikram, Ash­tanga and Vinyasa, which em­pha­sise the phys­i­cal, have be­come pop­u­lar.

Peo­ple can ben­e­fit from these styles of yoga even if they don’t get into deeper lev­els of prac­tice. Bal­ance and core poses strengthen the body. Be­cause classes usu­ally run for about 90 min­utes, with at least 75 min­utes of con­tin­ual ac­tiv­ity, the heart and mus­cles are given a solid work­out.

“My first yoga class was Bikram, which I was drawn to be­cause I liked the heat, the dis­ci­pline, the phys­i­cal de­mand. But now I find Yin yoga [where poses are held for longer] more chal­leng­ing and ben­e­fi­cial,” says Ja­gu­siak. “I love the fact that in the west we have so many types of Hatha yoga prac­tices. Each per­son can find a style they like, know­ing that their pref­er­ence might change over time to al­low them to achieve the goal of yoga, unit­ing body, mind and spirit.”

DON’T PUSH IT Like any other ex­er­cise, yoga can cause in­jury, and care should be taken.

“My num­ber-one rule is to lis­ten to your body,” says Ja­gu­siak. “If some­thing doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. What­ever your level of ex­pe­ri­ence, be­ing hon­est with your­self is the im­por­tant thing. You do not get brownie points with the teacher if you do the best bridge pose, and if you are com­pet­ing with the per­son next to you, you are not prac­tis­ing yoga.”


It seems that yoga, what­ever way you choose to prac­tise it, can be a game-changer in the health stakes. But the real power of yoga may just be that it helps you feel more pos­i­tive about your­self and hap­pier with the per­son you are. As Co­hen says, “It’s not so im­por­tant which yoga form you choose. What mat­ters is do­ing it at all.” So go for it! Na­maste. #

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