Updated: Apr 12, 2022
A little knowledge to get you going.
A quick overview to buff up your yoga knowledge and sound a little more seasoned during your next post flow chit chat.
What is Yoga?
Is it sitting crisscross with your eyes closed? Is it balancing on one foot with the other above your head? Is it sweating through a class to the point of near exhaustion?
Yoga is so many things, as well as whatever you want it to be.
While the history and variations of yoga are vast and seemingly daunting, your own practice is specific and unique. Unique in the best way. Because it’s all about you. Your mind. Your body. Your growth.
Your yoga practice is a one of a kind journey.
Who cares what try-hard Haley is doing in the front row when you just successfully touched your toes with ease for the first time in years? They are too focused on themselves to be concerned with you, as they should. Its okay to be selfish and surrender to our own reality.
We are met with so much ambivalence and anxiety when trying something new, especially when it appears to require years of training matched with the poise and calm of Mother Theresa.
There are a million paths to the same destination, we are all just trying to love and find comfort in ourselves. Our mind. Our body.
Continue reading to learn about a few common yoga practices.
maybe you will find something that suits you?
Some yoga classes will fit these descriptions to a T. They will follow a script and maybe you could guess the type just by attending. Other classes, especially here in the west, may be a blend of styles or maybe a goat will jump on you. Who Knows?
While each style of yoga has a specific outlines, our personal practice should become unique. Finding individuality through multiple instructors, styles, and modifications.
A physical practice that incorporates mantras, chanting, dynamic breathing, and meditation
Suited for those looking for a spiritual and physical practice
Great for those who love a challenge. Ashtanga follows a set pace and set series of poses that flow with the breath. Ashtanga yoga is considered a vigorous, orderly practice.
Ashtanaga was developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya in the 20th century. There are 6 series in the Ashtanga Yoga sequence, which students follow the same order but learn to progress through at their own pace.
Regular practice increases strength, flexibility, and physical endurance.
Vinyasa yoga is a Sanskrit term used to describe a style of yoga where the emphasis is on flow. Finding graceful and mindful movements between the asanas (this just means yoga poses), rather than holding for an extended period of time.
Vinyasa Yoga build strength while incorporating cardio. Cultivates a mind body connection. Referred to as moving meditation.
A slower paced class with the potential to be physically challenging. A grounded style focused on awareness of the body and building the mind-body connection. Potentially one of the most customizable forms of yoga. Hatha yoga is arguably the most similar yoga practice to western society. All other physical practices of yoga such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Iyengar stemmed from the Hatha yoga tradition.
Hatha Yoga calms the mind and body and is often used to prepare both for meditation.
Best for individuals wanting a challenging and sweaty routine. Bikram Yoga is a set of 26 poses, 2 breathing techniques completed on the same order over a 90-minute period. The best part? It is completed in a room heated to 105 ˚F.
When practiced regularly, is beneficial for overall health and is effective as a treatment for chronic or muscle pain. Improves circulation and releases toxins through sweat.
You could consider restorative yoga an advanced nap, with healing benefits. This style of yoga was developed for those recovering from injuries or illnesses. This style is best suited for those with chronic pain or limited mobility, anyone stressed or looking for the closest workout to a nap.
Gentle poses are held for 3-10 minutes at a time sometimes more, taking advantage of props (blankets, bolsters, straps, pillows) This was developed into a whole style of yoga which was considered ideal for those recovering from injuries or illnesses.
Restorative yoga stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system, slowing the heart rate, regulating the blood pressure and relaxing the body. It is believed to boost the immune system, accelerating the body's natural healing process.
Best for those wanting a slow practice, with chronic pain, stress, or general muscle tightness.
Yin Yoga is a slow paced, meditative discipline of yoga. In Yin yoga, the poses are held for a long period of time, 3-5 minutes or longer. This targets and puts more emphasis on the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, rather than the muscles as a whole. The holds are more passive with mush less muscular engagement. Yin Yoga Releases tension and restores range of motion to the body.