A regular yoga practice offers many benefits; increased strength, better coordination and balance, flexibility, stress relief and much more. There are various styles of Yoga and everyone can practice in a way that suits their individual ability and needs. I've written up a brief summary of a few common styles typically found in yoga studios to help you determine which type may be right for you. There are many more styles that you may encounter at a Yoga studio or gym, however from my experience these are the more common styles.
Ashtanga yoga is a physical and athletic yoga
If your looking to break a sweat, burn a lot of calories and bulk up your muscles this practice is for you! You'll spend your practice in Ashtanga focusing on 6 series of different postures. The focus is on breathing (as in all yoga), and concentrating on fixed gaze points while you go through the six postures at a non-stop pace. This is a great practice because the series is repetitive and can easily be done at home.
a meditative, blended style yoga
Hatha Yoga focuses on self-transformation and keeping the mind still by bringing attention to your breath while moving through each pose. A blend of styles where the instructor decides on the sequence of different poses. Poses can be held long or for a short amount of time. There may be chanting and meditation as well.
Power Yoga is a fast paced rigorous workout. Poses not only increase flexibility but strength and endurance. Based off of Ashantga poses that are sequenced to warm you up and encourage heat. I love this yoga practice as it very cardio and help keep me in shape.
If you can't take the heat get out of the Bikram Yoga class? Joking aside, when you take a Bikram yoga class, expect to sweat. Sweat helps toxins move out of your body, so each class pushes temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
This allows fresh blood and oxygen to circulate and keep your body's immune system running efficiently. A series of 26 slightly modified traditional hatha postures to allow proper function of every bodily system.
A supportive, restorative yoga
This form of yoga is one of my favorites. Very relaxing and really focuses on the correct position of each pose. With Iyengar yoga you'll hold poses for a longer time while paying close attention to your muscle alignment. Another fun part of Iyengar is the use of props. Belts, blankets, blocks, chairs, cushions and ropes help obtain the proper skeletal alignment and accommodate for any injuries or other imbalances. Props help support you into the proper pose.
Just Getting Started?
If your just getting started with yoga you will definitely need a yoga mat. I recommend the thicker mats from Gaiam. The thicker the mat the less pressure you'll have against the ground and the more comfortable you'll feel during class. Your knees, ankle and other pointy bones will be happier. I've tried all kinds of mats and I recommend this mat for the best cushion.
I also recommend this yoga bag, seriously the easiest bag to fit your mat in.
Be sure to save with this 20% off coupon during the Gaiam summer sale! You'll find all kinds of great yoga accessories from Gaiam.
Enjoy discovering your yoga practice! xoxo Carol