Yoga is a practice that has become very popular throughout recent years as it helps to work both the body and mind on different levels.
Right now we are all facing a challenging time due to what is happening in our world. Especially the Covid- 19 pandemic, but also all kinds of political and natural events can cause fear, stress and anxiety.
That means we need to take extra care of ourselves. Sleep well, eat well and keep up with a balanced lifestyle.
Another thing that really helps to cope with stress is sport, and importantly, movement.
And there’s something else that helps to not only exercise the body, but also calm the mind and that is Yoga.
The word Yoga means unity and the Yoga-practice helps to create unity in the body, between body and mind and between us and the world around us.
Yoga is a meditation with movement, which for us western people is easier to access.
A big role lies within the breath (pranayama). Apart from special breathing exercises that can have different effects on the body and mind, may it be stimulating, calming or balancing, every movement is being done with the breath.
The combination of breath and movement has a deep effect on body and mind.
Muscles are being strengthened and stretched, a lot of positions also require balance, and with that helps to stimulate the brain. A steady, deep breath calms the nervous system and teaches us to stay focused and calm even in a challenging situation. In Yoga this might be a difficult position (Asana), in life it might be a difficult situation or moment.
Apart from that, Yoga has many more benefits and can help to release stress and pain (e.g. back pain), keep the body fit (in the aging process), create awareness and prepare for surf and pregnancy.
There are very different styles and forms of Yoga and one can find many different teachers, each one having their own style and way of transmitting the Yoga-practice.
Some of the most known styles are Ashtanga Yoga (a very traditional practice in which a fixed sequence of poses is being repeated and worked on), Hatha Yoga (basically every sub style that combines Yoga positions and breath - Anusara Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga and many more), Vinyasa Yoga (a very fluid and dynamic practice), Hot Yoga (practicing different styles of Yoga in a heated room), Iyengar Yoga (focussing on alignment and deepening the self-awareness), Kundalini Yoga (a powerful practice aiming to break through mental and physical patterns), Yoga therapeutics (often more simple movements and a practice that goes into detail in order to work the body in a therapeutic way), Yin Yoga (a restorative and more relaxing practice in which positions are being held for a longer period of time).
As we are all different, it is very important to find the right teacher and style suiting your own needs in order to fully enjoy and dive into the practice of Yoga.
Right now there are also a lot of online-classes being offered, so that each person can start or continue the practice at home.
If possible, it is advisable to find a studio nearby in order to be able to experience the magic of a Yoga class live and in all its facets. In any case, body and mind will be thankful for investing time into this practice.
Article submitted by Sabrina Hilchner, founder of MARAVISTA - Yoga. Body. Mind. in Moledo CMN, Portugal.

For further information, please visit