Is stress making you sick? Yoga may be the answer.

A new study by researchers at Coventry University, England, and Radboud University, the Netherlands, suggests that yoga can stave off ill health and depression.

Their conclusions, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, are based on analysis of a decade of studies of how yoga and mindfulness impact genes.

“Put simply, MBIs (Mind Body Interactions including yoga, meditation and Tai Chi) cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well-being,” said lead investigator Ivana Buric from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement. “More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition.”

Yet another reason to get yourself to a yoga class, right?

To start, consider these 4 popular practices:

Hatha yoga

This yoga is very slow and gentle so it’s a great way to unwind, according to BodyMindGreen. But Hatha has become a catch-all phrase, according to Yoga Journal. Even some power yoga classes (more on those below) classify themselves as Hatha. Check with the instructor for specifics on what is involved in the Hatha yoga they teach. If you do straight Hatha yoga, you won’t work up a sweat but will leave feeling looser and more flexible, noted Gaiam.

Precautions: Check with a teacher to see how much movement and speed is involvedin the class. If you have physical constraints, tell the instructor prior to class. Some yoga moves involve the instructor pushing on the participants. That might be unhealthy for some. But in general, Hatha yoga is safe for everyone including seniors and pregnant women, noted Healthy Living. If you have high blood pressure, glaucoma or sciatica, you will want to check with your doctor before doing this and other types of yoga.

Power yoga

You likely guessed from the name that power yoga is intense — though as with other forms, it varies from class to class. Still, this style is always fast-paced and includes strength training using your own body weight, according to PopSugar. Also, note, some Power yoga courses are done in heated rooms.

Precautions: Those with back pain and joint issues may well want to avoid power yoga, recommended Yoga Teacher Training Blog. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to talk to instructor prior to joining such a class. Power yoga is meant to be strenuous, and it’s vital to know if the teacher will modify moves for beginners.

Vinyasa yoga

This is the most common type of yoga in the U.S. You’ve probably heard of poses such as “Downward Dog.” That’s a pose often done in Vinyasa yoga. Many people call this yoga “flow” yoga because practitioners coordinate their breaths as they “flow” from one pose to the next, according to Yoga Journal. But don’t think that means it’s gentle. Flow yoga can be intense because you change poses quickly — and some poses require extreme flexibility.

Precautions: As we previously reported, inversion exercises are among those that can be hazardous to many. Aura Wellness Center goes even further, cautioning that beginners shouldn’t attempt Vinyasa. Participants are meant to move quickly through poses while coordinating breathing. “A beginner would be overwhelmed by the fast pace,” the publication said.

Kundalini yoga

If you’re looking for a spiritual yoga, Kundalini may be for you. Practitioners move into somewhat challenging poses, oftentimes with vigorous breathing or panting to release the energy in your body. Meditation and chanting are also used in Kundalini, noted Yoga Journal.

Precautions: Awakening your spirit with Kundalini yoga can cause insomnia, mood swings and other psychological imbalances, noted Mindful Motivations. As a practitioner, I can also add that rapid breathing can leave you short of breath and that some poses call for easy flexibility. As mentioned earlier, check with the instructor and explain any modifications that may be needed.


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