Trying Yoga? Know The Types
If you’re finally heading towards yoga, and that is a good thing indeed, you might find yourself confused by which yoga to do. For there are many different kinds of yoga, being taught by, and for, different kinds of people…
So, should your yoga be fast or slow, should it be with music or suns, is it for your body or more for your mind? These are the many questions that might be running through your head, and send you straight off to the gym instead! Don’t lose heart, or faith in the power of yoga, just yet. Here’s a quick list of the popular types of yoga that may be available around you, and a quick guideline on which to choose that’s just right for you.
Remember not to call it quits in the first class itself: try to go to 2-3 classes before you make up your mind to continue or head for a change.
Beginning Slow: A Good Start
If you’re new to yoga, trying to convalesce from an injury or sickness, or are in your mature years – then the best way to get into yoga is going slow. Look for these classes in and around your area, and see which suits your needs the best.
Hatha yoga is a slow and rather gentle form of yoga, requiring you to hold each pose for a few breaths. Basically, hatha is any kind of yoga that deals with the physical postures or asanas. Hatha yoga is best for anyone just starting out into yoga, for it is slow, explains the basics, and gets you to know many of the asanas or poses. It’s also a great aid for anyone looking to increase their flexibility, especially in advancing years.
If you attend a restorative yoga class and feel that you haven’t really done much or pushed your body to its limits, well, then it’s a great class indeed. Restorative yoga is a slow, gently-moving practice that helps you attain deep relaxation by tapping into your parasympathetic nervous system. The props you use to support your body in every pose reduce the physical stress and instead aid in increasing the internal awareness. It’s great yoga for the stressed, the anxious, and for anyone who lives a far too vigorous and harried life.
For the Sweat-Lovers
Love the gym, but crave yoga? Try any of these three classes to really get a workout that’s both sweat-inducingly physically, but also a great aid in centering the mind.
Think of Vinyasa as a coordinated yogic dance that packs in both the smooth movements of asanas, as well as the correct breathing technique, in a quick pace. There will be no lingering in any pose, and your teacher is likely to push you to a rapid heartbeat with some pumping music alongside. With its continued movement and rather sweaty pace, Vinyasa is great for those looking to up their fitness levels, lose weight and even for those who prefer fast-paced exercise.
You’re likely to have a Bikram studio near you; if so, then understand that Bikram yoga is a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced together, in a room with a 105 degree F temperature and 40 percent humidity. It’s a 90-minute sequence and a rather strenuous class, so make sure you are well-hydrated. While the class is repetitive, people new to yoga might like this very factor – but it’s not for those who like to change their routine or get bored by monotony.
The ‘heat’ here isn’t used as an adjective, rather the temperature. Like Bikram yoga, hot yoga is practiced in heated rooms – but there are no limitations to the asanas or the time. Beginners can attend a beginner’s hot yoga class with easier poses and lesser time while there are advanced yoga poses for the advanced yoga practitioners. As with Bikram yoga, hot yoga too is for the sweat-lover in you.
For those Who Love Yoga
If you like all things yoga, are detail-oriented and like to be as perfect as you can in all that you do, then look in your neighborhood for these classes.
For the detail-oriented yogi, Iyengar yoga is about precise body alignment in each pose. Props are your best friends in an Iyengar yoga class and will help you achieve what could seem-like impossible balance and perfection. Each pose is held for longer than in Vinyasa, and frankly, if you are new to Iyengar, take a beginner’s class to understand the concept and the demands. The teachers of Iyengar yoga usually give exhaustive information about each pose and what it does for your body.
A rather challenging form of yoga, Ashtanga consists of six series of sequenced yoga poses to go through, along with the correct breathing techniques – so as to build up positive heat and energy in the body. With rather strict guidelines and stricter teachers, Ashtanga is for yoga lovers who are perfectionists and like order.
For the Zen Advocates
Love peace, calm and all things Zen? Think of yoga as more of a centering aid than a fitness one? Then you should sign up for any of these two classes…
We all have a rather jaundiced view of Kundalini yoga, thanks to celebrities. Kundalini yoga will look very different from any other yoga class. Along with sequenced poses called kriyas that also include breathing exercises, you might also be chanting, singing and meditating. The point to exercise mingled with the chants is to bring you to a heightened level of self-awareness. So this is yoga for your body, mind and soul.
Yin is to yoga what Tai Chi is to martial arts. Slow, soft, gentle – each yoga pose in Yin is held for minutes so as to exercise not just your muscles but the connective tissues as well. This helps in increasing flexibility, though you may choose to use props to hold up the pose. Holding a pose also frees your mind and lets your thoughts flow from a more peaceful place than a hurried one. Great for people recuperating from injuries and for those who need to physically stretch and mentally unwind.
Want to know what type of yoga is best for you? Take our quiz here!
We hope this article cleared some doubts and helps you choose the yoga class that’s just right for you… Do write in with your thoughts in the comments section below…