the right yoga for you
This week I decided to look at something that has been a part of my life for about 25 years now.
And although I may not have practiced faithfully for 25 years, I have always been able to go back to it and draw on my experiences with it.
I have had times when I was forced to step away from practice ... I suffered from lingering hyper-mobility and joint instability after giving birth to my daughter, and although yoga felt good after she was born, it was actually making my back issues worse.
Over time I learned to listen more closely to what my body needs and the value of an amazing teacher (not just a video online). The power of having someone help me make accommodations for my back, knee, and ankle so that I am still able to embrace yoga and have it a part of my life despite all of my bodies challenges.
A note on the topic of Live Instruction vs Pre-recorded ... pre-recorded videos provide an amazing opportunity to access a wide range of classes not available in your area or timezone; however if you are a beginner or have challenges due to injuries or physical limitations, I highly recommend finding an instructor who does either in person classes or live online classes so that they can assist you and help to ensure that you do not hurt yourself getting into a posture that your body shouldn't go into. There are tons of accommodations that can be made, you just have to know what they are.
Before we explore the different types of yoga out there, I think we need to start by looking at what exactly Yoga is.
WHAT EXACTLY IS YOGA?
Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which includes breathing control, simple meditation and the adoption of specific bodily postures; it is widely practiced for health and relaxation. The yoga widely known in the West is based on hatha yoga, which forms one aspect of the ancient Hindu system of religious and ascetic observance and meditation, the highest form of which is raja yoga and the ultimate aim of which is spiritual purification and self-understanding leading to samadhi or union with the divine. www.oxforddictionaries.com
Your options ...
Hatha Yoga - has been around since the 15th century in India, and became popular here in the west in the mid 20th century. Hatha is a holistic yoga path, it attempts to balance the mind and body via physical postures (asanas), purification practices, controlled breathing, and calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. It is great for beginners or to wind down in the evening.
Restorative Yoga - Is focused on relaxing your mind and body. It involves a handful of poses that are help for extended periods of time, poses to open your chest for breath work, and more lying down than is typical yoga practice. Restorative yoga will leave you feeling nourished and well rested.
Vinyasa Yoga - Is commonly called Vinyasa flow because you move or flow from one pose to the next. These classes typically start with a sun salutation then move to more postures or poses.
Bikram Yoga - More commonly known as Hot Yoga, is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercise performed during a 90 minute class. Bikram is practiced in 105 degree heat and 40% humidity to allow loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating (thought to be cleansing). It was founded in 1970’s in LA and the postures are based on the postures or poses in traditional Hatha yoga.
Prenatal Yoga - This type of yoga practice is great not only while you are pregnant, but after your baby is born while you recover and regain your body. It helps to keep the core strong, helps with posture, and helps aid with pregnancy aches and pains. Prenatal yoga also focuses on breathing and can help you to develop good breathing habits before going into labour.
Kundalini Yoga - Kundalini refers to the energy of the root chakra, which surrounds the area around the lower spine. Kundalini yoga uses breath in conjunction with physical movements to free the energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards.
Ashtanga Yoga - Also known as Power Yoga, is a physically demanding practice of yoga that requires constant movement. If you are wanting to sculpt and define your muscles while getting cardio, give Ashtanga Yoga a try.
Lyengar Yoga - Lyengar is a methodical yoga practice using lots of props like blocks, straps and cushions. It focuses on body alignment and can be great for those in need of physical therapy because of this.
Anusara Yoga - Anusara may be the most spiritual type of yoga as it focuses on looking inwards, and seeing the light within yourself and others. Because it is a “celebration of the heart”, the classes have an upbeat, uplifting community type vibe that can be welcoming.
Jivamukti Yoga - Jivamukti means liberation while living, and is a mix of Vinyasa flow sequencing infused with chanting and a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
I hope that this information on the different types of yoga inspires you to give one a try, or better yet try a number of them.
So grab a mat and allow yourself the time to balance you mind, body and spirit through regular yoga practice . . . you will love it, I am certain!
Definition of Namaste - a respectful greeting or salutation said when giving a namaskar (palms together in front of your chest like in the picture).
Origin: Hindi from Sanskrit namas ‘bowing’ + te ‘to you’
Brien-anne RMT, CA
I am passionate not only about Massage Therapy & Aromatherapy, but also living a holistic lifestyle and empowering & inspiring others to do the same!