Finding the Yoga Style for You!

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Happy Tuesday! I am having a great week so far, it is much better than last week.  Work is going well and is encouraging and with my big fundraiser behind me I am a little more relaxed.  As you know I am a FitFluential Ambassador and a few weeks ago they were looking for a few bloggers to write for the FitFluential blog.  I was chosen to write a post and am SO excited about it.  It was posted on the FitFluential website yesterday but since I loved the post so much I am excited to share it here too!

Yoga is all the rage these days.  Everyone, myself included, is talking, blogging and vlogging about the benefits of yoga.  Yoga has been shown to decrease blood pressure, improve digestion, relieve low back pain, help with depression and anxiety and build strength and flexibility.  It also helps to calm the mind and body.  Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit term “yuj” which itself means, “to yoke” or bring together the mind, spirit and body.

Kneeling Twist

With all these benefits some people still are not jumping on board.  People who have tried yoga have claimed it does not give them enough of a workout or they like to sweat and they don’t get that from yoga, or it just moves to slow for them.  Yoga comes in a variety of styles and it may take some time to find the one that suits you best.  With so many styles people do not often know where to start in choosing a class.  So let’s break the styles down to help guide you to the practice for you!

Wheel Pose

Antigravity.

This practice is done with the support of a hammock that acts as a soft trapeze for you.  Poses are deepened by the use of gravity while your body is cradled.  The compression-free inversions allow your body to be stretched from head to toe.  The result is a feeling of freeness and a sensation of floating.

Anusara.

Derived from Hatha Yoga, the philosophy of Tantric yoga and intrinsic goodness is front and center.  The focus is on proper alignment and classes are usually fun, playful and light-hearted.

Ashtanga.

Most yoga practices in the west are derived from this.  It is a very athletic and challenging class with six series of poses. You can expect to flow, sweat and be challenged in this class.  The more advanced yoga may memorize the entire sequence, which takes about 90 minutes to complete.

Bikram.

Completed in a room at a temperature of about 105 degrees and will definitely heat your body and have you sweating like you never thought possible.  The class is 90 minutes long and flows through 26 poses with breathe two times.

Hatha.

This is a good class for beginners.  It combines poses (asanas) and breath (pranayama).  The philosophy is to purify the body and deepen the meditation and yoga practice.  Many styles of yoga use Hatha as the foundation.

Hot.

This varies from Bikram in that the room is usually 85-90 degrees.  Ashtanga, Hatha and Vinyasa styles are usually practiced in a hot class.  Benefits include increased cardiovascular effort, increased range of motion of muscles and can help people lose weight.  If you enjoy a Vinyasa or Ashtanga class but are looking to up the intensity or challenge yourself this may be a class for you to try.

Iyengar.

Props like straps, blocks and bolsters are used within this practice.  It is designed to heal the mind and body through supported poses.  This class is appropriate for those who have injuries, or health issues or enjoy a technical class without lots of variety within a pose.

Kripalu.

A strong focus on coordinating breath and movement and alignment, you work within your body’s limits of strength and flexibility.   Combined of three stages, stage 1 focuses on learning the postures.  Stage 2 focuses on holding the postures for extended periods of time and exploring consciousness and awareness.  Stage 3 is a state of mediation where your body moves to poses to pose spontaneously and seamlessly.

Kundalini.

One of the most advanced practices this class combines poses (asanas), breath (pranayama) and meditation in both active and passive form to target the whole body system (chakras).  The idea is to deepen awareness and consciousness, open heart-center and develop strength and character to uphold human values.

Power.

This is a western style of yoga derived from ashtanga.  Often done in a heated room this focuses on breath to fuel the practice. Poses are more advanced and are made more challenging by adding yoga push-ups, and abs.  This class would be challenging for beginners.

Vinyasa Flow.

Often listed as Slow Flow or Vinyasa on schedules this class focuses on connecting your movement with breath.  It follows a rhythmical flow and flows will often vary from class to class.  Instructors usually accompany the class with music. Classes often start on the mat; flow through standing poses, balancing poses and then returns to the mat for seated poses before shavasana (corpse pose).  This class is more challenging than Hatha.

Antigravity Yoga

You will likely need to try a few styles before you find the styles you like and are best for your body.  Remember to listen to your body, some days you may need a Hot Vinyasa class while other days a more restorative Iyengar yoga would be best!

What are your favorite styles of yoga? What are you looking to try?  What style is right for you?

And just a quick reminder that the Sparkly Soul sale goes through January 16th! Use the promo code WHITNEY and you will receive a discount of 15% off! The best part is 25% will go back to my fundraising for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! 

I am also running a raffle here to win great prizes from Holabird Sports, Go Sport ID and other great donors! For more details visit, Prizes for a Cause!

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6 responses »

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  4. I am a huge fan of Trader Joe’s salads, but I haven’t tried this one yet. It looks great, I will have to search for it next time I’m grocery shopping!

  5. Wow! who knew there were so many different kinds of yoga?! I love bikram and vinyasa flow. However, I have not tried a lot of other styles of yoga. I find yoga to be a great time for me to relax, stretch, focus on myself and get some exercise. I need to find time to do it more often.

Any Thoughts, Suggestions or Similar Experiences?

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