Updated: Dec 13, 2020
The practice of Yoga offers those who seek, a way to find balance and personal freedom. Many find Yoga as a result of physical injury, as a suggestion from their physician, social media, or just plain curiosity. Regardless of how you find the practice, it's important to find the type that works for you. Start by figuring out why you want to start a practice and what your goals are. Are you a person that likes to sweat, or are you looking for self reflection and inner peace? Check out the various forms of yoga that are out there and get your Yoga on my friends! Here's a few to get you started...
1) Vinyasa Flow : A sequence of movements and postures that are linked together through mindful breathing. Vinyasa is a fluid/dynamic form of movement that can be fast paced depending on the instructor. This is a great way to work on balance, endurance, and get creative with your mind-body workout.
2) Hatha: A more gentle version of yoga that combines both poses and breathwork as well, but leaves you feeling well stretched and relaxed. Like Vinyasa, the level of mind-body work depends on the instructor, but if you feel like you need more of an introductory class, Hatha Yoga may be for you.
3) Ashtanga: A more structured form of yoga that links breath and movement, and is predictable as it follows a specific set of postures that are the same each time. Ashtanga may be more physically demanding and expect to get hot and sweaty (not recommended for those that are just starting to become more active). This form of yoga can be meditative as you find your personal flow of movement and is a great mind-body workout once you feel the connection.
4) Iyengar: A meticulous form of yoga that focuses on alignment and form. Expect to use various yoga props during class such as straps, blocks, blankets and even chairs. There is no music besides the sound of your breath and may be helpful for those that are working through injuries or chronic conditions. Teachers that lead this type of class, will have a comprehensive background in this type of yoga in order to instruct properly.
5) Kundalini: This type of mind-body work focuses on repetitive movements that flow along with not only your breath, but chanting and meditation as well. This practice focuses on the 7 Chakras (energy centers of the body), and their alignment to encourage the awareness of your inner self and awaken the greatness within.
6) Bikram: Most of the time known as "Hot Yoga." This practice consists of a series of 26 poses done in a specific order for 90 minutes in a room heated to 105°F (40.6°C), with a humidity of 40%. It is a popular form of mind-body work that many find transformative and healing. This is a very disciplined style of yoga that takes dedication and asks a lot of your body. Before trying this type of class, you should call ahead to the studio and make sure that you follow their recommended protocol to make the class enjoyable and safe for you to practice.
7) Yin/Restorative: A relaxing and meditative form of mind-body work that uses a lot of props in passive poses that focuses on lengthening the connective tissue and ligaments. Expect to hold these poses for 3-5 minutes each and look forward to feeling rejuvenated and relaxed by the end of class. I recommend taking a Yin/Restorative class at the end of your work week... your mind AND body will thank you.
As with any form of physical exercise, be mindful of your body and only do things that work well with you. Yoga offers something for everyone and finding one, or two or even three types that vibe with your soul is always a good thing. Consider consulting your physician before starting a physical practice if needed, but take your time in finding the right practice for you.
Blessings on your journey my friends, and as always, Peace, Love, and Namaste!