You’ve all heard about how yoga is good for the mind and body, and how it helps in the general improvement of the health. After much thought, you now decide to sign up for a class and start your way to a healthier lifestyle. As you search the internet for studios near you, you’re bombarded with dozens of deals and promos to try out classes here and there. You may even opt to try it at home and purchase a mat and DVDs online. But the more important question is: Which practice is right for you?That’s right, there are a lot of categories under the practice of yoga, and each is designed to target different preferences. In general, committing to a routine will give you the benefits you’ve read about, but choosing among the varied types available will help ensure that your get the most out of the class.
Though its history is a bit stained (what with the founder being accused of having sexual relations with his students), Anusara is a positive emotional experience for students. If you’re awkward around touchy-feely environment and are not willing to change that anytime soon, it might not be for you. It’s best for people who are prepared to talk about emotions and sharing feelings – basically, opening your heart to the class. Music is also used in class.
This system uses a series of techniques followed rigorously in a fast-paced class. The poses are established and repeated throughout the class in an exact order. Breathing is synchronized with each movement – resulting in a sweat-inducing muscle and organ detox. Power Yoga is based from this practice.
Commonly known as the hot yoga, Bikram follows a sequence of twenty-six poses in an exact order while in a heated room (105o). Inventor Bikram Choudhury designed the poses to loosen tight muscles and stretch them. If extreme sweating is your thing (it helps with losing weight, after all) then give this one a go. Before trying this out, check with your doctor to ensure that you are equipped to do so.
Best suited for beginners, Hatha is a slow-paced routine that encompasses the general poses. This is not for the challenge-seeker, but it’s perfect for everyone else who wants to begin practicing breathing exercising and postures.
This is also described as a “purist form”. The focus is on the alignment and there is a meticulous attention to detail with the poses. A lot of props (chairs, blocks, blankets, etc) are used to ensure that the techniques are applied to perfection. Great for people who want to get the serious treatment.
Do you equate yoga with spirituality? Then this one’s for you. Kundalini classes include meditation, chanting and breathing techniques that bring students closer to enlightenment. It aims to tap into and awaken your dormant energy while giving you awareness and an increased consciousness.
Moms don’t just sit around waiting for the baby to arrive, but it is essential to prepare the body for childbirth. This exercise focuses on breathing techniques and postures suited for pregnant women. It also strengthens the pelvic muscles, which helps ease the delivery. It is applicable to all stages of expectancy, and will even help get you back in shape afterwards.
Basically a paradox – an active relaxation session – this requires less work and gives you a rejuvenating experience. Each pose is held for a long time (sometimes even twenty minutes) to help relax and soothe the body. Additional props are used strategically to help students with their stretching. Injury rehabilitation commonly uses this type of yoga.
Viniyoga understands that each person is different. It offers an individualized approach for the student, creating a practice adapted to their own needs and abilities. Most of the work is done one-on-one with the trainer. The modified techniques and constant supervision decreases risk of injury.
The Sanskrit word for “flow”, Vinyasa classes tends to be a more vigorous style and is more face-paced. Transition is done smoothly from pose to pose, with continuous movement and sometimes even lively music. Beginners may opt for other types of yoga first before doing this, as this intense class is a sure way to test your physical limits.
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The ones listed above are just some of the general classes offered. There are a lot more, however. There are even extreme classes, such as acroyoga, which necessitates a partner and doing balancing acts with each other, and aerial yoga, which makes use of a sling of fabric suspended from the ceiling, helping you improve core strength while stretching. You may not immediately tell the difference from just reading about it, so the what you should do is try classes. Most studios offer the first session free, so that’s the best way to find out for yourself which to commit to.