Yoga is an ancient practice involving physical postures, concentration, meditation and deep breathing. The word itself is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to yoke”, or “to unite”. The practice aims to create union between body, mind and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness.

All styles and practices of yoga have the same objective: union or enlightenment. The differences would be in the methodology in attaining yoga’s goal.

A regular yoga practice can:

  • Promote stamina
  • Improve flexibility
  • Drain lymph
  • Help with focus
  • Maintain nervous system
  • Prevent IBS
  • Provide inner strength
  • Build strength
  • Perfect posture
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Release tension
  • Ease pain
  • Provide calm
  • Boost immunity
  • Increase blood flow
  • Regulate adrenal glands
  • Improve balance
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Encourage self-care

There are six branches of yoga and each branch represents a different goal and set of characteristics.

The six branches of yoga

  • Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental branch, designed to prepare the body and mind. The asanas are the many physical poses of hatha yoga.
  • Raja yoga: this branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary measures known as the eight limbs of yoga.
  • Karma yoga: this is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
  • Bhakti yoga: aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way of channeling emotions and cultivating acceptance and tolerance.
  • Jnana yoga: concerns wisdom, the path of the scholar and the development of the intellect through study.
  • Tantra yoga: the path of ritual, that weaves together many different techniques, such as mantra, meditation, visualization, mudras, pranayama and initiation to study the inner-universe through our human body.

The importance of chakras while practicing yoga

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The word "chakra" means "spinning wheel". There are seven main chakras, which act in specific ways.

Yoga considers the chakras to be the focal points of energy, thoughts, feelings and the physical body. The chakras determine how people experience reality through emotional reactions, desires or aversions, levels of trust or fear, and even physical symptoms and reactions.

When energy is blocked in a chakra, it triggers physical, mental or emotional imbalances that manifest themselves in symptoms such as anxiety, lethargy or even poor digestion.

Yoga practitioners use asanas to release energy and stimulate an unbalanced chakra.

There are many styles of yoga to choose from, depending on your goals and physical condition.

  • Hatha yoga refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. It's the most common type of yoga, especially for beginners.
  • Ashtanga yoga uses the ancient teachings of yoga. It applies the same poses and sequences, rapidly linking each movement to the breath.
  • Bikram yoga is practiced in artificially heated rooms at high temperatures and consists of 26 poses and a sequence of two breathing exercises.
  • Iyengar yoga focuses on achieving correct alignment in each pose, using a series of props such as blankets, straps, chairs, cushions and so on.
  • Kundalini yoga was the first yoga practice ever created. This ancient healing practice and its technologies have been scientifically proven to activate specific parts of your brain that increase awareness and generate more balanced control. Through breath, specific movements, and timing, this practice works to increase the nervous system on a cellular level and increase your energetic awareness.
  • Yin yoga focuses on holding passive poses for long periods. This style of yoga targets deep tissues, ligaments, joints, bones and fascia.

There are many more different styles of yoga to discover, just as there are many different yogic diets.  Finding the practice that will keep us wanting to get back on our mat is key and incorporating the right foods greatly helps to find balance inside out.  As a yoga teacher myself for the past 15 years, I’ve included the one superfood that works for me: Gandalf Hawaiian Spirulina has been my go-to green food.  I use it in my morning smoothie, in my yogurt or in tablets when pressed for time. I know it’ll give me the energy for the day, help detox my organs, keep my blood clean, my heart pumping, keep my bones and muscles strong, improved my allergies and best of all, keeps my mind calm as I know I feed my body with the purest high-end quality product out there. Discover the delicious healthy recipes here.