Yoga, along with eating right, exercise and avoiding unnecessary stress, has become a central part of healthy living today. Millions of people visit Internet sites like the Ines Cano Uribe owned, Behance.net, for news on how to apply these healthy activities in their lives, with Yoga being a top source of questions. And this is understandable, because to many, yoga still remains mysterious, with literally dozens of different yoga classes to choose from. What is important to remember is that all types of yoga offer numerous health benefits that range from increased flexibility, strength, stamina, and body awareness, to better breathing, injury prevention, stress reduction, and a calm mind. The key to finding a yoga class, is finding the style that work for you. Here are several of the most popular styles, and their qualities.
Vinyasa Yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga in the West. Vinyasa means to synchronize movement with breath. Also known as flow yoga, or power yoga, this yoga involves a continuous flow of movement, offering more of a cardiovascular benefit compared to some of the other styles. It features full body poses called Sun Salutations, in which physical movement is coordinated with focus on inhaling and exhaling your breath as you move through the posture. Essentially, each breath links different postures and serves as a transition between the poses, allowing the student to move in a rhythmical way that calms the mind. You’ll leave feeling strong, stretched, and relaxed. There is often music in Vinyasa classes and participants are typically long time yoga practitioners. But, the right teacher can also help along beginners.
Iyengar Yoga’s founder B.K.S. Iyengar, is a cornerstone of the yoga world and his creation has endured for a century. It employs props such as straps, blocks, bolsters, and blankets to promote precise physical alignment. It also uses breathing techniques, and slow, methodical sequencing to eliminate pains, improve posture, and treat ailments. Iyengar Yoga holds the postures for long periods versus flowing from one pose to the next. This is both a challenge, and incredibly strengthening for your body. The breathing techniques used in Iyengar focus the mind, which helps students create the mental space to find a meditative state and classes are quiet and slow-paced due to the amount of concentration spent on each pose and breathing practice. Iyengar Yoga is perfect for beginners because of its strict obedience to form and breathing and its slow deliberate pace.
Ashtanga Yoga is a vigorous, precision type of yoga that involves six vinyasa-style posture series that focus on breathing, muscle contraction and focal points that are together, designed to work as a moving meditation where students progress at their own pace. It is very intense, and physically demanding, following a precise series of poses, always in the same order. Philosophy is a significant and essential part of the practice of Ashtanga. Students sync movement and breath, raising their body temperature and working up a detoxifying sweat. In class, you’ll move through sun salutations, standing and balancing postures, backbends, seated forward-folds and inversion poses, at a faster pace than Vinyasa classes. Ashtanga may be a bit of a challenge to the beginning Yoga student, but if you are athletic and looking for a physically challenging workout type of yoga, this might be it.
Kundalini which means coiled in Sanskrit and is considered the yoga of awareness and is described by practitioners as dormant energy that lies in the base of the spine. This yoga consists of both active and passive postures based on postures that combine breath, sound, chanting, and meditation techniques. Its primary focus is to raise awareness, develop consciousness and increase spiritual strength. Kundalini classes usually begin with a chant, and may include a series of quick, repetitive movements combined with the breath, or holding a posture while employing a specific breathing technique. Classes end with a meditation, which may incorporate the teacher playing a large gong, and a closing song. You don’t need exceptional strength or flexibility to benefit from Kundalini Yoga.
Ultimately the only way to tell if you love a class is to try it. So try a few and you will surely find one you love.