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With its origins in ancient India, yoga first appeared in the western world in the late 19th and the early 20th century. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that yoga as exercise began to take hold here in the United States. Because the discipline has such a long history, there are many different schools or variations of yoga.

With more than a thousand years of history, yoga is a physical, mental, and, for some, a spiritual discipline that strengthens both the mind and body. Far from just a few minutes of stretching, the benefits of yoga are available to both beginners and the most practiced yogis. Learning and applying basic yoga techniques can improve strength, decrease stress levels, increase energy levels, and even help manage chronic pain.

Prana means life force or energy. Prana is a Sanskrit word from the syllables “pra” and “an.” “Pra” means movement, and “an” means constantly. So prana, when broken down, means constant motion.

Prana is, therefore, a type of energy responsible for the body’s life, heat, and maintenance.

Prana is typically divided into multiple constituent parts, in particular when concerned with the human body. While not all early sources agree on the names or number of these subdivisions, the most common five types of prana:

  • Prana (inward)
  • Apana (outward)
  • Vyana (circulation)
  • Udana (energy of the head and throat)
  • Samana (digestion and assimilation)

The ancient concept of prana is in many early Hindu texts, such as the Upanishads and Vedas. One of the earliest references to prana is from the 3,000 year-old Chandogya Upanishad, but many other Upanishads use the concept, including the Katha, Mundaka, and Prasna Upanishads. Moreover, the idea is elaborated upon in great detail in the practices and literature of haṭha yoga, tantra, and Ayurveda.


The practice of pranayama is to balance the flow of prana within the body.

The word Prāṇāyāma comes from the Sanskrit words prāṇa and ayāma. Prana means “life force,” Yama means “expansion.” It refers to various techniques for accumulating, expanding, and working with “Prana.”

In yoga, pranayama is a practice breathing technique. Some pranayama techniques are to cleanse the energetic channels. Thus, they allow for a more significant movement of prana. Other methods are to reduce the breath to Samadhi and bring awareness to specific areas of the physical body.

In Ayurveda and therapeutic yoga, pranayama may also be for any number of tasks, including to affect mood and aid indigestion.

According to Patanjali, the true meaning of pranayama, the founder of Yoga philosophy, is “the gradual cessation of breathing, the discontinuance of inhalation and exhalation.”

20 Poses

Yoga typically combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation or relaxation. Researchers are studying how yoga can help improve health and learning more about its safe use.

Here are 20 yoga poses with links to the corresponding Youtube (short) video






  Health Benefits

Hot yoga has many health benefits. Done in a room at 104 degrees Fahrenheit in a room, so the warmer environment adds an added dimension to the Yoga experience. The three primary benefits of practicing Hot Yoga”:

  • Detoxification
  • Oxygenation
  • Relaxation

Sweating while stretching and postures tend to remove toxins that might otherwise be difficult to detox from the body. The warmer atmosphere tends to make it easier to relax tense muscles and tendons. In addition, the warmer environment tends to help open up air passages and make breathing easier.

Weight Loss & Meditation

With regular practice and just a little discipline, yoga can help people lose weight and tone their bodies. In addition, its meditative aspects inspire a calm sense of well-being that can carry into other aspects of life. Whether it’s to strengthen the body, unplug from the stress of day-to-day life, or increase energy and focus, yoga is a compelling mix of exercise and meditation.Here’s a list of five different types, or schools, of yoga disciplines;

  • Prana yoga uses movement and breathing techniques to move energy throughout the body. According to yogis who teach these techniques, often translated as “aliveness,” prana is the non-physical energy stream through and around the body.
  • Bikram yoga (hot yoga) is 26 different postures and two breathing exercises for 90 minutes in a room heated to 104 degrees with 40 percent humidity. A 2013 study revealed that the benefits of Bikram yoga in individuals who practiced three times a week for eight weeks are an improvement in strength and flexibility and the loss of a small percentage of body fat. Anyone with a sensitivity to heat, however, should be cautious before attempting these classes.
  • Face yoga is for anyone trying to stave off the toll that time takes on our faces. Advocates claim that exercising the muscles in the front prolongs collagen and elastin production, which keeps our features from wrinkling. Critics, notably dermatologists, suggest that face yoga doesn’t make sense with the physiology of the skin. Whether or not it keeps you looking young, people who regularly practice this discipline say that the techniques are very calming.
  • Prenatal yoga, as the name suggests, is for pregnant women only. Sorry, guys. According to the Mayo Clinic, restorative and Hatha yoga are the best choices for pregnant women. They also suggest avoiding hot yoga, speaking to your physician before taking yoga classes, and constantly pacing yourself.
  • Ramdev yoga or baba Ramdev yoga is a collection of simple breathing techniques that individually take about five to ten minutes. It takes just about an hour to do all six breathing exercises, one after the other, for a complete cycle.