What Is the Best Sport for Your Body Type?

What Is the Best Sport for Your Body

Your body type and shape are largely dependent on your genes. Body types can be classified into three main categories: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. If you are curious which sports are best for you, knowing your body type may become an important . . .  Read more >

8 Incredible Health Benefits of Almonds

Almonds are the seeds of the Prunus dulcis (almond tree). Although native to the Middle East, the world’s largest producer of almonds is the United States. Usually, the almonds you can find in stores have the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside. You may have eaten almonds, but do you ever wonder what the health benefits of almonds are? Read on to find out.

Health Benefits of Almonds

1. Rich in Nutrients

Nutrient Profile of AlmondsAlmonds have an impressive nutrient profile. A one-ounce serving (28 grams) of almonds contains:

• Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI
• Magnesium: 20% of the RDI
• Manganese: 32% of the RDI
• Fat: 14 grams
• Fiber: 3.5 grams
• Protein: 6 grams

RDI = Reference Daily Intake

They also contain vitamin B2 (riboflavin), copper, and phosphorus.

2. High in Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a family of fat soluble antioxidants. It tends to build up in the cell membranes in the body, protecting cells from oxidative damage. Almonds are among the best sources of vitamin E, with just one ounce providing 37% of the RDI.

Studies have linked a higher vitamin E intake with a lower incidence of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Help Lower Blood Pressure Levels

Almonds Can Help Lower Blood PressureThe magnesium in almonds may help lower blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is a leading driver of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. A deficiency in magnesium is linked to high blood pressure.

Studies show that addressing magnesium deficiency can help reduce blood pressure. If you don’t meet the dietary recommendations for magnesium, try adding almonds to your diet.

4. Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

High levels of LDL cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) in the blood is a known risk factor for heart disease. A person’s diet can have a major impact on LDL levels. Some studies show that almonds can effectively lower LDL.

One study found that eating 1.5 ounces of almonds per day lowered LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg/dL. Participants also lost belly fat.

5. Good for Heart Health

Almonds may help improve lipid levels in the blood. This can be beneficial for heart health. A 2014 study found that almonds reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, and increased the levels of antioxidants in the bloodstream. The participants were healthy males 20 to 70 years of age who took 50 grams of almonds per day for four weeks.

Researchers believe this may be due to the vitamin E, healthy fats, flavonoids, and fiber in almonds. To obtain these benefits, they recommend eating a handful of almonds each day.

6. Can Assist

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How to Boost Your Immune System

How to Boost Your Immune System

Why is knowing how to boost your immune system important? A new disease, COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus) recently became the top headline on practically every major news network. It has become a public health emergency, not only in China where it originated, but also globally. As of now, there’s still no cure for the disease. Actually, many diseases caused by viruses have no cure. Your best defense is to have a strong and healthy immune system.

How to Boost Your Immune System

1. Reduce your stress levels

StressIt’s normal to feel stressed once in a while. But if stress drags on for a long time, it can make you more vulnerable to illness, from colds to other infections. Chronic stress suppresses your immune response and stimulates the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol interferes with the T-cells’ (a type of white blood cell) ability to reproduce and receive signals from the body. This hormone also reduces IgA (Immunoglobulin A), which lines the gut and respiratory tract, and is the first line of defense against pathogens.

To keep your stress in check, include meditation or yoga in your regular routine. Another thing you can do is to practice breathing exercises like the 4-7-8 technique. Here’s how to do it: Empty your lungs of air. Inhale quietly through the nose for 4 counts. Hold your breath for 7 counts. Exhale through the mouth, making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 counts.

2. Eat more vegetables

VegetablesVegetables are loaded with nutrients that are essential for a healthy immune system. For a healthy liver, include cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, and cabbage to your diet. A healthy liver is important in the body’s natural detoxification process. To boost your immune system, make sure to also eat a balanced diet.

3. Make sure you get enough vitamins and minerals

Vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, and the mineral zinc can help boost the strength of your immune system. In particular, vitamin C is well-known for supporting a healthy immune system as well as being an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, and spinach.

4. Consider herbs

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What Are the Harmful Effects of Smoking?

Harmful Effects of Smoking

Tobacco smoke is harmful to your health. Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients. When they burn, these ingredients generate over 7,000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 are linked to cancer. The substances inhaled don’t just affect the lungs. They can affect the entire body. In this article, we will discuss the harmful effects of smoking.

Harmful Effects of Smoking

1. Lungs

CigaretteCigarettes are bad for the lungs because of the nicotine and other chemicals that they contain. One of the most harmful effects of smoking is that it increases the risk of developing lung cancer (25 times greater for men, 25.7 times greater for women). The CDC reports that approximately 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking.

Also, smoking cigarettes presents a higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), causing 80% of COPD deaths. Cigarettes are linked to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and can trigger an asthma attack.

2. Heart

Smoking cigarettes can damage the heart and blood vessels. The tar and chemicals in cigarettes can increase the risk of atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the blood vessels). This limits blood flow and can lead to potentially life-threatening blockages.

Furthermore, smoking increases the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when arteries to the arms and legs narrow, restricting blood flow.

Having PAD increases the risk of:

• blood clots
• angina (chest pain)
• stroke
• heart attack

3. Brain

StrokeIf you smoke, you’re more likely to have a stroke than someone who does not. Smoking can increase the risk of having a stroke by 50%. One way that smoking can increase the risk of a stroke is by increasing the chances of developing a brain aneurysm, a bulge in a blood vessel caused by weakness in the blood vessel wall. This can burst or rupture, which can lead to a serious condition known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke that can cause brain damage and death.

The good news is, within 2 years of stopping smoking, the risk of stroke is reduced to half that of a smoker and within 5 years, it will be the same as that of a non-smoker.

4. Mouth and throat

Smoking causes problems such as stained teeth, bad breath, gum disease, and damage to the sense of taste. But the more serious concern is an increased risk of cancer in the lips, tongue, throat, voice box, and esophagus. Approximately 93% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by smoking.

Stopping the use of tobacco, even after many years of use, can greatly reduce the risk of developing head and neck cancer. Once you’ve been smoke-free for 20 years, the risk of head and neck cancer becomes the same as that of a non-smoker.

5. Fertility and reproduction

PregnancyIn males, the more and longer a person smokes, the higher the risk of erectile dysfunction. Also, smoking can affect sperm quality and therefore reduce fertility. In females, smoking can damage a female’s reproductive system. It can also make it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant. This is because tobacco and other chemicals in cigarettes can affect hormone levels. Smoking can affect pregnancy and a developing fetus in several ways, such as:

• increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy
• reducing a baby’s birth weight
• increasing the risk of pre-term delivery
• damaging a fetus’s lungs, brain, and central nervous system
• increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
• contributing to congenital abnormalities

6. Stomach

Smokers have an increased risk of having stomach cancer and ulcers. Smoking may weaken the muscle that controls the lower end of the esophagus and allow stomach acid to travel back up, a condition known as acid reflux.

7. Vision

Smoking cigarettes can cause eye problems and increase the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Other vision problems associated with smoking include glaucoma, dry eyes, and diabetic retinopathy.

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10 Health Benefits of Tea

Tea is a beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, a plant native to East Asia. It originated in China during the Shang dynasty, where it was considered a medicinal drink. Together, China and India supply more than 60% of the world’s tea. There are many myths surrounding the health benefits of tea. Read on to learn more about this popular beverage that is regularly consumed, not just in Asia and the United States, but all over the world.

Types of Tea

Pouring Tea into a CupAfter water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world. There are different types of tea, but it can be categorized into those that come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and those that come from the leaves, roots, and flowers of other plants (herbal teas).

Examples of teas that come from Camellia sinensis include green tea (popular in Asia), black tea (popular in the US and has the highest caffeine content among teas), oolong tea (popular in Southern China), and white tea (uncured and unfermented tea). Some examples of herbal teas include chamomile tea (derived from the plant’s flowers) and peppermint tea (derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant).

Health Benefits of Tea

1. May reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke

This is one of the health benefits of tea which has the strongest evidence.

According to a Harvard report, a study found that participants who drank more than five cups of green tea a day had a 26% lower risk of death from heart attack or stroke than people who drank less than one cup of green tea a day.

Another study published in 2016 found a 20% reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35% reduction in the risk of stroke among those who drank 1 to 3 cups of green tea a day.

You may also get similar benefits by drinking matcha tea, made from ground green tea leaves.

2. May boost the immune system

Studies have shown that tea can help immune cells reach their targets quicker. For centuries, Ayurvedic practitioners used holy basil or tulsi tea to help keep their immune system strong after injuries or illnesses because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Contains antioxidants

Antioxidants help keep us young and help protect our cells from damage due to pollution. Load up on antioxidants with green tea or white tea. White tea is less processed than green or black tea and contains a high amount of beneficial antioxidants.

4. Has less caffeine than coffee

Herbal tea blends generally have no caffeine. Traditional teas, on the other hand, have less than 50% of the caffeine typically found in coffee. If you are trying to switch from coffee to tea, you can try chicory root tea, which has a flavor similar to coffee. Chicory root is known to help reduce stress and is also a prebiotic, so it may be helpful to your gut.

5. May help with weight loss

Tea May Help with Weight LossSome studies suggest that the catechins (a type of flavonoid) and caffeine in tea may help with weight loss. Note that green tea is especially high in the most potent type of catechin, called EGCG. However, decaffeinated green teas didn’t seem to produce the same weight loss results. Though research on caffeinated green teas look promising, there are still lots of unanswered questions.

But, for example, if you swap out a coffee containing milk and sugar and replace it with a green tea with lemon, you could definitely reduce calorie consumption, and this can lead to weight loss.

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How to Have Good Posture

Many of us believe that having a good posture is only about standing up straight. But in reality, it’s more than that. Posture affects your long-term health as well as your body shape. In today’s world where we are hunching over our laptop computers and mobile phones and stressing our spine, it’s even more important to know how to have good posture. In this blog post, we’re going to talk about what a good posture is and how to maintain it.

What is Good Posture?

To figure this out, you need to understand that there are three natural curves to your spine: one at your lower back (lumbar spine), another in the middle of your back (thoracic spine), and one at your neck (cervical spine). And a good posture is one that supports all three of these curves.

How to Have Good Posture

While Sitting

Using Good Posture While SittingWhile sitting, your spine should be straight and your shoulders should be aligned with each other, while your butt is touching the back of the place where you’re sitting.

Touching the back of the chair with your butt helps to prevent you from slouching and gives your back some support. Make sure not to lean to one side or another.

If you are sitting at a desk, make sure that your chair is adjusted so that your forearms and thighs are parallel to the floor. If you are looking at a computer screen, it should be adjusted so that you are looking slightly down at it.

While Standing

Using Good Posture While StandingKeep your weight on the balls of the feet. Your feet should be positioned about shoulder-width apart. The arms, meanwhile, should hang naturally at your sides.

When standing correctly, the legs should be straight, but not locked. Most importantly, the head, shoulders, hips and knees must line up. Avoid hunching forward. Try to push your chest out a bit and breath deeply.

While Sleeping

Using Good Posture While SleepingIt doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping on your back, your stomach, or on your side. All you need to be mindful of is that your hips must be at the level of your shoulders and your neck should be in the neutral position.

Make sure your neck is in alignment with the rest of your spine. This is especially important while sleeping on your side, when it is easier to angle your neck up or down. Be sure to use a good pillow to provide proper support.

You might find yourself in a totally bizarre position when you wake up, but over time you will get accustomed to your new sleeping positions.

How to Improve Your Posture

When your posture isn’t as good as it can be, this can cause neck, shoulder, and back pain. It can also contribute to poor flexibility and bad digestion. If this is the case, here are a few things that you can do fix this problem.

● Be mindful of your body posture during each activity you do daily, from watching television to washing dishes or walking. Use the tips provided above to help maintain proper posture throughout the day.

● Try to stay active. Practicing different kinds of exercises may help your body to improve its posture. Certain types of exercises for different parts of your spine can especially be helpful. Practicing yoga or Tai chi can help you to focus on your body awareness.

● Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the body and joints, and can contribute to weakening your abdominal and core muscles. This can cause problems for your pelvis and spine.

Conclusion

With practice, you can improve your posture. Take care of all three curves of your spine and put the least stress on them by maintaining proper posture throughout your day. Be aware of your posture when you are standing, sleeping, sitting, and doing any other activity. As a result, you’ll look and feel better.

To learn more on how to be fit and healthy, sign up to FITin56 now!

Is Chocolate Bad for You?

Is Chocolate Bad for You

When you are having a piece of chocolate, does this question pop into your mind? “Is chocolate bad for you?” We shall answer that question. But first, let us go back in time and understand where this deliciousness came from. It started in the Southern part of Mexico. In around 450 BC, people from the region used chocolate to make fermented beverages. The Aztecs used to believe that the Cacao seed is a blessing from the God of wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. It was served as a bitter liquid with spices.

Chocolate as an Aphrodisiac

Chocolate as an AphrodisiacThe Aztecs found a connection between sexual desire and chocolate. It has chemicals such as ‘tryptophan’ and ‘phenethylamine’. The former promotes sexual desires and the latter is released when two people fall in love.

Researchers did in-depth studies and found small amounts of the above-mentioned chemicals. Also, chocolate helps in dealing with stress and depression. Indulging in chocolate can help you uplift your mood. It is comforting and delicious!

These days, chefs have introduced different types of chocolates. They add orange peel, cashews, walnuts, cranberries and even biscuits inside the chocolates.

Eating Chocolates – Good or Bad?

There is no doubt that chocolate is much-loved by the majority of people. When you were little, your parents may have scolded you for eating too many chocolates.

Types of ChocolateMany people wonder – is chocolate bad for you? Firstly, you must know that there are three types of chocolates — milk, dark, and white chocolate.

Chocolate’s antioxidant potential has multiple health advantages. You can get more health benefits from chocolates with a higher amount of cocoa. Dark chocolate contains less fat and sugar than others. Eating dark chocolate that contains plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF), as part of a low-fat nutrition program may help cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.

What are the health benefits of chocolate?

• Chocolate can lower your cholesterol level.
• It may help prevent cognitive deterioration.
• It may help resolve cardiovascular difficulties.
• It may help with fetal growth and development.

Scientists from Harvard Medical School discovered that drinking two cups of hot chocolate regularly can help keep your brain healthy. It also helps in improving your memory.

The reason why certain chocolates have a bad reputation is because these have high fat and sugar content. This means that chocolate CAN be bad for your body, but only if you are going overboard.

Considering chefs have introduced a number of desserts that contain a lot of fat, you may want to skip those. These desserts could include a rich chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and thick chocolate shakes.

Conclusion

Dark ChocolateSo, is chocolate bad for you? Let’s put it this way. Too much of anything is bad. When you consume chocolate in larger quantities, health problems may arise such as obesity, high blood sugar, and hypertension. Instead, enjoy a small bar of dark chocolate. Do not go overboard, but control the portion size. As much as possible, limit eating chocolate ice cream or chocolate cake to once or twice a month.

Want to learn more about healthy eating? Sign up now to FITin56!

7 Weight Loss Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Weight Loss

Losing weight is not an easy task. To add to that, there are many myths about how to do it, which makes it even harder. To clear things up and prevent confusion, we will discuss seven weight loss myths you shouldn’t believe.

Weight Loss Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Myth 1 – The only way to lose weight is to avoid carbohydrates

You cannot ditch carbohydrates if you want to eat a healthy diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 3 eating patterns – healthy US style, healthy Mediterranean style, and healthy vegetarian style.

Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the foundation of these healthy eating patterns. Also, fiber is a carbohydrate. If you avoid carbohydrates, your fiber intake will plummet.

Myth 2 – If you want to lose weight, you have to go hungry

Hungry ManSome people think that losing weight means skipping meals. But that will just lead to frustration, irritability, going off your diet, and quickly regaining weight. The 1st rule of dieting is: no skipping meals. Skipping meals just makes your body hold onto fuel by slowing down metabolism, and often triggers overeating later in the day.

Instead, eat a min-meal or healthy snack every 3 to 4 hours during the day. Focus on lean protein and produce (e.g., one ounce of nuts, carrots with hummus, Greek yogurt with berries, etc.). Remember, you don’t have to go hungry to set yourself up for long term success.

Myth 3 – Cutting fat from

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7 Health Benefits of Kale

Health Benefits of Kale

Kale is a vegetable and a member of the cabbage family. It’s a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. Its leaves can be green or purple, and have either a curly or smooth shape. There are different types of kale. The most common type is called curly kale (Scots kale), which has green, curly leaves and a fibrous stem. Do you want to know what the health benefits of kale are? Read on to find out.

Health Benefits of Kale

1. One of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet

Kale Nutrition InformationA single cup of raw kale (67 grams) contains:

• Vitamin A – 206% of the DV (beta-carotene)
• Vitamin B6 – 9% of the DV
• Vitamin C – 134% of the DV
• Vitamin K – 684% of the DV
• Manganese – 26% of the DV
• Copper – 10% of the DV
• Calcium – 9% of the DV
• Potassium – 9% of the DV
• Magnesium – 6% of the DV

Kale also contains 3% or more of the DV (daily value) for vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, iron, and phosphorus. It has 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein. Kale contains little fat. A large portion of the fat is an omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid.

2. Loaded with powerful antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that help fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body. Oxidative damage is among the leading drivers of aging and some diseases such as cancer. Like other leafy greens, kale is rich in antioxidants. These include beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as various polyphenols and flavonoids.

Some antioxidants have other important functions. The flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol found in kale have been studied extensively in test tubes and animals. These antioxidants have heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-viral, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

3. Can help lower cholesterol

Cholesterol is used to make bile acids (substances that help your body digest fats). The liver converts cholesterol into bile acids, which are then released into the digestive system each time you eat a fatty meal. When the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids have served their purpose, they’re reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used again. Substances known as bile acid sequestrants can bind bile acids in your digestive system and prevent them from being reabsorbed. This reduces the amount of cholesterol in the body.

Kale contains bile acid sequestrants, which can lower cholesterol levels in your body. Over time, this may lead to a reduced risk of heart disease. Steaming kale is particularly effective in increasing the bile acid binding effect. In addition, one study discovered that drinking kale juice each day for 12 weeks increased HDL (good cholesterol) by 27% and lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by 10%.

4. Has cancer-fighting properties

Cancer is a serious disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. Kale is loaded with compounds that are believed to protect against cancer. One example is sulforaphane, a substance that can help fight cancer at the molecular level. Kale also contains a indole-3-carbinol, another substance believed to help prevent cancer.

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8 Different Types of Yoga

8 Different Types of Yoga

Maybe you have tried yoga at a local studio or gym and thought that was the only style of yoga that exists. The fact is, there are many types of yoga out there, and choosing the right one for you can be a daunting task. To make it easier for you, we will discuss 8 different types of yoga.

Different Types of Yoga

1. Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa YogaVinyasa yoga is one of the most popular types of yoga and is taught in many studios and gyms. “Vinyasa” means linking breath with movement. The postures are typically done in a flowing sequence, or “vinyasa flow.” The movements are almost like a dance and are done as a moving meditation.

The popularity of Vinyasa yoga can be attributed to the sensual movements and pleasant music. Often, it is practiced in a dark room, or sometimes with candlelight with the eyes closed.

2. Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga means “eight limbs”. Most people consider Ashtanga as traditional Indian yoga. Like Vinyasa yoga, the asanas (postures) in Ashtanga yoga synchronize breath with movement as one moves through a series of postures.

In the early 20th century, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois brought Ashtanga yoga to the United States. The series of postures are done in the same way every time and consist of Sun Salutation A, followed by Sun Salutation B, then a standing sequence, and a closing sequence. It’s usually performed without music, and sometimes in silence (without verbal instruction).

3. Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar YogaIyengar yoga was named after B.K.S. Iyengar, a famous yogi (practitioner of yoga) from India. It is also based on the Eight Limbs of Yoga and was popularized in the West at approximately the same time as Ashtanga yoga.

The emphasis of Iyengar yoga is alignment in postures using breath control through pranayama, as well as the use of props (bolsters, blocks, blankets, and straps). This style of yoga is usually done without music and with a slower pace to help students get deeper into the postures.

4. Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. He brought this style of yoga from India to California. Class consists of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises. It is 90 minutes long and is done in a room with a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of 40%. The room is bright and the students are asked to face the mirrors to check if they have the proper posture and alignment. There’s no music during class.

5. Jivamukti Yoga

Jivamukti was created by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984 in New York City. Jivamukti translates to “liberated being.” Class incorporates Sanskrit chanting, Pranayama, and Asanas, with a theme/lesson for each class. This is a good combination of spiritual and physical exercise.

6. Sivananda Yoga

Sivananda YogaSivananda yoga was brought by Swami Vishnudevananda to the US in 1957. This style of yoga is based on the five yogic principals: proper breathing, positive thinking, relaxation, diet, and exercise. Altogether, these make a healthy yogic lifestyle.

The practice usually involves 12 basic postures of the Asanas, plus Sun Salutations and Savasana. There’s no music.

7. Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a meditative practice which allows the body to be comfortable in a pose without doing much work (not requiring strength). Also called Taoist yoga, it focuses on lengthening the connective tissues of the body. It aims to compliment Yang yoga (muscle-forming yoga practices).

If Yang is active, Yin is passive, which means the muscles are allowed to relax by means of gravity and rest. This yoga style is usually done with the assistance of props. There’s little or no music in class.

8. Power Yoga

Power YogaThe FITin56 program makes use of Power yoga. This type of yoga is a more active approach to traditional Hatha yoga poses. The Ashtanga poses are done more quickly with core exercises and upper bodywork added to them. The sequences are varied and there is often music. Vinyasa yoga can also be considered as Power yoga, depending on the studio or gym that is hosting the class.

Conclusion

These 8 different types of yoga are the most popular right now. There are other types and styles of yoga practices. Each one has its own unique characteristics. Making yoga a part of your life will enable you to enjoy all the health benefits of yoga. Whatever yoga practice you choose, embrace it with love and grace.

To buy a quality yoga mat, shop here.

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