Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to get to know several of you via online chats. Seriously amazing experience. Each and every time the conversations leave me feeling energized, motivated, inspired and even more so, connected with people that share the same passions. Connected to people that just get it.
When you think of yoga do you picture a single stereotyped image then, possibly, think that’s not for me? I know there was a time when I did and based on that misconception I closed my mind and heart to the practice.
There are hundreds and hundreds of styles and variations of yoga and finding the right one for you might make the difference between a lifelong beautiful practice or rolling up your yoga mat for good.
When looking for a style that is right for you, consider your reason for practicing. Think about and feel what your body and mind need on a given day. Maybe you’re looking for a hot sweaty workout or you’re looking for restorative benefits. Maybe you need a spiritual experience with a compassionate approach.
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Yoga is not a one style fits everyone all the time experience.
10 Yoga Styles
The dynamic physically demanding practice synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. This style is great for building core strength and toning the body.
This set series of 26 postures and two breathing exercise is done in high heat for 90 minutes. Bikram Yoga’s specific yoga sequence of poses is staid to systematically work every part of the body, increasing the flow of fresh oxygen rich blood, while the heat serves to speed detoxification.
An intensely physical practice with a strong internal focus, Forest Yoga involves holding poses for extended periods in a heated room. Demanding everything you’ve got, intense sequences emphasize breath and abdominal work, and are designed to make you sweat, eliminate toxins, and release emotional tension.
Ishta Yoga integrates the ancient sciences of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra. It’s breath-centered alignment-oriented practice combines elements Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga and incorporate subtle-energy techniques like mantra and visualization meditations to expand awareness and generate emotional well being.
By paying close attention to anatomical details and the alignment of each posture, Ivengar Yoga is the practice of precision. Poses are held for a long periods and often modified with props. This method is designed to systematically cultivate strength, flexibility, stability, and awareness.
This fitness-based vinyasa practice is an offshoot of Ashtanga, and has many of the same qualities and benefits, including building internal heat, increased stamina, strength and flexibility, as well as stress reduction. Teachers design their own sequences, while students synchronize breath with the movement.
Prana Vinyasa Flow Yoga
A creative, energetic and fluid form of vinyasa, Prana Flow is guided by the flow of pranic energy through the body resulting in near continuous movement. It incorporates elements of ecstatic dance, moving meditation, Bhakti, Ayurveda and music.
Restorative yoga typically involves only five or six poses each class, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. Held for 5 minutes or more, restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds, and gentle backbends.
This practice is designed to help you sit longer, and more comfortably, in meditation by stretching connective tissue around the joint. A passive practice, Yin Yoga involves variations of seated and supine poses held for 3 to 5 minutes, accessing deeper layers of fascia tissue.
Enjoy yogic sleep as the teacher takes you through a guided meditation that systematically brings awareness to each part of the body. Students find a deep state of relaxation. The ancient practice of yoga nidra is said to help reduce stress.
This by no means is an exhaustive list of the different styles and variations of yoga.
Honestly, you might not even know what you’re looking for. Keep an open heart and mind to the practice and you’ll know when you’ve found what’s right for you.
Do you have a favorite style of yoga? Have you tried many different styles? Do you think of yoga in stereotypes?
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