Get Your Yoga On!

The Playa Times Riviera Maya's English Newspaper - - Sports - BY CRYS­TAL MITCHELL

Are you look­ing to be more health con­scious and lower stress lev­els? Yoga can do that with its com­bi­na­tion of stretch­ing, strength­en­ing and re­lax­ing com­po­nents. Although the pop­u­lar­ity of yoga has in­creased in the last decade, it has been around for thou­sands of years. It is based in Hindu spir­i­tu­al­ity and in­cludes breath con­trol (pranayama), sim­ple med­i­ta­tion, and spe­cific body po­si­tions (asanas). There are sev­eral cat­e­gories of yoga so you can choose which suits you best. The great­est thing is vir­tu­ally no equip­ment is re­quired. You just need a mat so it is a con­ve­nient prac­tice that you can take with you when you are trav­el­ing.

One of the most pop­u­lar types of yoga is Hatha yoga which is per­fect for peo­ple just want­ing to give yoga a try. When be­gin­ning yoga, bal­ance and flex­i­bil­ity are the chal­lenges and Hatha fo­cuses on those in its prac­tice. Most Hatha yoga in­struc­tors be­gin their class with chant­ing Om to unite the stu­dents and qui­ets the mind. Be­cause breath work is in­cor­po­rated, there is a re­lax­ing and restora­tive essence to it. Many Hatha prac­ti­tion­ers feel the de­crease in stress from the first ses­sion.

Vinyasa yoga is more fast paced and ideal for weight loss. It is a flow style yoga where you con­tinue through a spe­cific se­ries of asanas with­out paus­ing. This style is a bit more chal­leng­ing and geared for peo­ple with some yoga ex­pe­ri­ence. The well known sun salu­ta­tion is a se­ries of lung­ing, bending and stretch­ing ex­er­cises and adds the el­e­ments of strength and calo­rie burn­ing to this style.

If phys­i­cal per­for­mance takes sec­ond to spir­i­tual ex­pe­ri­ence for you, then Kun­dalini yoga might be a bet­ter fit. Kun­dalini yoga com­bines chant­ing mantras with move­ment and breath work. The goal of this type of yoga is to re­lease the energy that is be­lieved to be stored at the base of the spine thereby re­mov­ing blocks to the higher self.

Yoga, un­like other sports ac­tiv­i­ties, of­fers dif­fer­ent styles for what your goals may be. Yoga is the per­fect prac­tice to take with you on va­ca­tion to do on your own or you can find a friendly yoga stu­dio in the area where you are.

In Tu­lum, you may want to check out Maya Tu­lum, Utopia or Yoga Dicha. If you find your­self in Playa del Car­men, pass by the Yo­galoft or Yoga by the Sea. When in Can­cun you can find the stu­dios Its Yoga and Ar­mo­nia Bliss.

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