Health is the real wealth of an individual. Good health does not mean the absence of physical illness but also the lack of mental and social illness. A healthy person can properly survive and easily cope with the difficulties and stress of daily living. Incorporating regular physical activities, nutritious diet, and refraining from alcohol and cigarettes are necessary in maintaining a fit and healthy body. Yoga is a physical activity that has been used in the ancient times to alleviate health problems associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, shallow breathing, backaches, chronic illness, and many other forms of discomfort. Nowadays, Yoga has gone from a spiritual discipline practiced by many in the Far East, into a mainstream exercise routine that has been taught in many gyms around the world. Other researches suggest that yoga may promote relaxation and reduce distress.
A new form of yoga that focuses on a more fitness-based approached has been developed. It is called Power Yoga, a method closely modeled after the Ashtanga style of practice. The term Power Yoga became widely used in the mid-'90s when many yoga teachers tried new ways to make Ashtanga Yoga more accessible to the western audience. Both Power and Ashtanga Yoga focuses on strength and flexibility. The only difference between the traditional method and Power Yoga is that the latter does not require the performance of a series of poses. It took the basics of yoga and and gave it a dose of aerobics to tone the muscles, sharpen focus, and strengthen the heart.
Other known benefits of practicing Power Yoga include:
Improved strength, endurance, and stamina
Tighter abs, legs, and arms
Helps release physical tension
Helps maintain good and proper posture
Serves as a good warm up for athletes
Improves an athlete's overall performance
Power Yoga is a very accessible exercise. To practice this new yoga method, all that is needed is a flat floor surface, a mat or towel, and enough overhead space to extend the arms. It can be performed by individuals of different ages and level of physical condition. However, not all poses should be attempted by everyone. Proper posture and alignment should always be maintained during stretch or posture to avoid injuries. These activities should be stopped when there is fatigue, pain, or dizziness. In addition, the mental component of yoga is as important as its physical activities. Concentration and meditation should not be taken for granted. Yoga should be done with an open and gentle mind when one performs yoga positions and posture. Impatience, self-criticism, and comparing oneself with others may hamper the improvement of one's physical and mental health.
Individuals who want to engage in physical activities like yoga should consult doctors and other health professionals before taking yoga classes. Certain injuries to the wrist, back, and ankles may prevent some individuals from practicing yoga postures and positions. Furthermore, yoga should be practiced with care and precaution. Some people have reported injuries that were acquired by executing yoga postures without focus, or by attempting difficult positions without working them gradually or by not having proper supervision. Oftentimes, beginners complain of muscle soreness and fatigue after engaging in yoga. These effects may disappear with continuous practice. Yoga is a great way to strengthen the and body and improve overall health.