How to Practice Yoga and Tai Chi


Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and tai chi can help you achieve the relaxation response, a state of deep calmness that counteracts the negative effects of stress. When practiced regularly, these activities can lead to a reduction in everyday stress levels, anxiety, and muscle tension as well as an improvement in mood, energy, and focus.
Learning the basics of yoga and tai chi is straightforward, but maximizing the stress-relieving benefits requires regular practice. As a beginner, you may benefit by learning from a qualified instructor to ensure you’re performing the poses and movements correctly. You can then continue to practice alone or with others.


There are many different types of yoga. As well as the popular types listed below, there are many yoga classes modified for different needs, such as prenatal yoga, yoga for seniors, and adaptive yoga (modified for disabilities). Most yoga sessions begin with a series of poses to warm up the body, and most sessions end with some type of relaxation exercise.
Type of Yoga Involves Best For Not For
Gentle yoga or Satyananda Focuses on slow stretches, flexibility, deep breathing Beginners, stress reduction Those looking for a vigorous workout
Hatha Reasonably gentle. Involves stretching, breathing work Beginners, older adults, stress reduction An aerobic, calorie-burning workout
Iyengar Focuses on precise body alignment and improving balance. Uses blocks and straps to maintain poses longer Those looking for more fitness benefits as well as deep relaxation While more vigorous, still not a total body workout
Kundalini Fast-paced routine of poses focusing on different ways of breathing, chanting, and meditation Combining a good workout with spirituality Those uncomfortable with chanting or the spiritual aspect
Hot yoga  (Bikram or Moshka) Takes place in heated rooms (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Focus on stamina and purification Intense, sweaty workout for those with higher fitness levels  Anyone with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or those who may react adversely to hot conditions
Power yoga or Ashtanga Vigorous, fast-paced to build flexibility, strength, concentration, and stamina

Strong workout, improving fitness and weight loss A relaxing, contemplative experience

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