When choosing a yoga style that is right for you 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.
When you think of yoga do you picture a single stereotyped image then, possibly thinking 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.
Choose a yoga style that matches your current fitness level, your personality and your goals for practicing yoga.
All of the most commonly known styles of yoga practiced in the West are a form of Hatha yoga, in addition to others with slight variations on a traditional style, but with a branded name.
As the foundation for many styles of yoga, Hatha Yoga balances the physical, mental and energy bodies, awakens pure consciousness and and purifies the body.
What style of yoga is right for you?
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.
A challenging approach to asana practice that emphasizes meditation and breathwork, and encourages inward focus and spiritual attunement.
A blend of spiritual and physical practices with a goal of building physical vitality and increasing awareness and pure consciousness. Kundalini Yoga incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras.
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.
Keep an open heart and mind to the practice and you’ll know when you’ve found what’s right for you.
Still not sure what style of yoga is right for you?
Ask yourself these 4 questions:
- What is your goal(s) for practicing yoga? If your goal is fitness then choose a more vigorous yoga style like power, ashtanga, or Bikram keeping in mind your fitness level and considering a beginner class.
- Do you have an injury or medical condition that limits what you can do physically? Then start with a slower class that focuses on alignment, such as Iyengar yoga or Kripalu yoga.
- Are the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga your primary goal? Then try one of the yoga styles that include plenty of meditation, chanting, and the philosophic aspects of yoga. For example, you might try kundalini yoga.
- What does your body and mind need today? Your style preference may change from week to week or even day to day. You might feel like the energy of power yoga on Monday and the calming relaxation of restorative yoga on Friday.
IN CASE YOU MISSED THE FIRST 2 POSTS CELEBRATING YOGA WEEK AT JILL CONYERS | FITNESS, HEALTH & HAPPINESS:
- 5 Tips for New Yoga Teachers by Beth from Sublimely Fit
- 3 Ways Yoga Has Balanced My Fitness by Jess from Hello To Fit
DON’T MISS MORE GREAT POSTS COMING TO CELEBRATE YOGA WEEK:
- Yoga inspiration and quotes to Live Your Yoga
- Running and Yoga: The Perfect Pair by Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home
- What Yoga Teacher Training [or maybe just Yoga] Has Taught Me
Lets chat. What style of yoga do you practice most often? If you’re new to yoga and starting to practice, what style would you try first?
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