Yoga is becoming more and more popular around the world. What exactly is it, where did it come from and what are the health benefits of doing yoga?

Instructions

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

What is yoga?

Most people know yoga as a kind of exercise which aims at developing strength and flexibility. To practise yoga, you learn a series of ‘postures’, where you put your body into different positions. The correct breathing is also important. However, yoga is really about more than just exercise. In 2014, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, asked the United Nations to create an International Day of Yoga, saying that yoga ‘is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature’. He felt that yoga could not just help people to be healthier but also help connect people to each other and to nature. The United Nations agreed, and International Yoga Day is now celebrated on 21 June.

Where did yoga come from?

The history of yoga goes back at least 5,000 years, and some people claim it is nearer 10,000 years ago. It was first developed in Northern India and at this stage was a spiritual as well as a physical form of exercise, connected with both Hinduism and Buddhism. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, yoga was introduced to the Western world when Swami Vivekananda travelled to the United States to talk about yoga at a conference in Chicago in 1893. Others followed in the 1920s and 1930s, and by the 1960s yoga had become a very popular form of exercise in the United States and in Europe. Most people who practise yoga today do not do it for spiritual reasons.

What are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga is good for the mind and body. Regular practice of yoga helps people to improve their balance and stamina. Although you won’t really get out of breath, like you might playing football or running, it does help to keep your heart healthy and you can lose weight. It can also help with back pain.

The breathing taught in yoga can help people to reduce stress and anxiety. There are lots of different possible breathing patterns you can do. Yoga also improves concentration and helps people to sleep better, so it’s great for anyone who’s under pressure at work or in their studies.

Different types of yoga

There are lots of different types of yoga, so you can choose what suits you best. Hatha Yoga is often good for beginners, because you hold each position for a few breaths. In Vinyasa Yoga you change position much more quickly and you might get out of breath. It’s quite challenging if you haven’t done much yoga before. Bikram Yoga is sometimes called ‘hot yoga’, because the room must be heated to around 40 degrees. As well as these and other more traditional forms of yoga, there are also some more unusual modern forms of yoga. For example, you might enjoy ‘laughter yoga’, where people do breathing exercises and laugh about nothing in particular – laughing is very good for your health. Or what about ‘Aeroyoga’, where you do yoga while you are hanging from the ceiling? It’s supposed to be very good for your back. Or ‘Doga’, where you do yoga together with your pet dog?

Whatever kind of yoga you choose, there are definitely some health benefits, and you should have fun too.

Discussion

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Submitted by nikoslado on Tue, 26/07/2022 - 15:49

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referring to the preparation exercise, wouldn't be better and more expectable, after a definition having an ''-ing'' form or an adjective, to expect us to find another similar part of speech (an -ing form or an adjective) with the same meaning. Or it could be written -for example-''[the state of] being able to stand...is... ''balance''.
Does it make sense in English what I'm trying to say?
Many thanks to all of you
Nikos

Hello Nikos,

That's a good point. It's always difficult to balance clarity, completeness and simplicity. In this case, we chose simplicity.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by arashjahanbakht on Mon, 18/07/2022 - 03:18

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I'm in the B1 level, but I can easily understand all your B1-level articles and solve their tasks. Shall I shift to the B2-level articles and adapt to them? I've recently seen some B2-level articles, I can understand these articles easily again, but sometimes the new words are so challenging for me.

Hi arashjahanbakht,

Yes, that sounds like the right thing to do!

A level (e.g. B1) is a general category for a person's overall language proficiency, including all areas of their language, so it's quite common to have some particular areas (e.g. vocabulary, reading) that are stronger (or weaker) than the overall level.

Good luck with it!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by chuyenbs on Sat, 18/06/2022 - 04:25

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It's no doubt that yoga has positive impact both physical and mind. I think the most important, Yoga is easy to do with all of ages and occupations. In some cases, Yoga is one of method which Doctors recommend for treatment like Muscular pain or sleep disorder.

Submitted by Hmawe Theint on Sat, 09/10/2021 - 09:56

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I think yoga is the best exercise to improve your mind and body. I have started yoga in January 2020. Now, my mind is really calm and relaxed. What's more, I lost weight almost 10 pounds! So, I highly recommend to do yoga!!!

Submitted by PARIMALA MADIAZHAKAN on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 04:29

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In my opinion, yoga is the best exercise to us. Because yoga have all the benefit such as weight loss, reducing stress, and balance our stamina. If we join to do yoga we definitely get more impacts for our body, mind and emotion. Yoga help us to keep balance our daily activities. Yoga make us feel more healthier to do some hard works such as pulling the big box in work place. Yoga also push to keep a smile with our friends, family members and society. Furthermore, yoga reduce our stress level to zero. Yoga is the best exercise to keep us more healthier and stay positive.

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Sat, 03/07/2021 - 06:36

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I think doing cardio exercises and yoga make me fresh and active.It can help me to reduce stress and to fit my body.

Submitted by loyda Guzman on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 15:41

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I think that doing sport in any way that is practiced helps the mental and physical health but doing yoga is the best exercise to combat stress.

Submitted by Gustavo Woltmann on Sat, 20/03/2021 - 07:27

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I love doing Yoga. I have been doing it for a couple of years and I really enjoy it! It is a great to start or end the day.