Yoga is a spiritual, ascetic and physical set of practices focusing on breathing, movement, posture, and meditation. Yoga, translated as ‘union’ or ‘connection,’ is an ancient Hindu teaching that is undergone for a variety of purposes including health, relaxation, rehabilitation, and exercise. Most commonly understood as the physical practice of Hatha yoga in the Western world, yoga is performed through a series of asanas (yoga poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises) meant to prepare the body for a combined spiritual and meditative experience. Asanas include many interrelated poses that combine reclining, standing, inversion, twisting, balancing, and sitting postures for specific beneficial effects.
To become a yoga instructor, a teacher training that includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, instructional techniques, and yoga philosophy needs to be completed. After the completion of the program, budding instructors can apply for registration by the Yoga Alliance for the Registered Yoga Teacher (RTY) credential. Most professionals in the industry continue to earn educational credits by attending workshops and seminars.
The number of calories burned doing yoga depends on the type of yoga and the length and intensity of the class. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 160 pound person may burn around 183 calories in an hour long Hatha (basic) yoga class. However, the same person may burn 460 calories in a Bikram (also known as hot yoga) yoga class.
The frequency of yoga practice should be an individual decision depending on personal goals and preferences. The benefits of yoga can be received if practiced every day, but those same benefits can also be received from practicing once weekly or biweekly.