There are one hundred types of exercises out in mainstream media nowadays, and you will probably be choosing between joining a gym or signing up for Zumba. Or perhaps the numerous cropping up yoga studios that you see on almost every street corner in your town have caught your eye. You want to join a class, but when you go into the online register there seems to be at least twenty different options for you to be looking at, you thought you were just signing up for yoga? Yoga is the practice of both movement and breathing in order to have a more holistic approach to exercise. The idea behind the practice is that not only are you toning your muscles, but you are also deepening your connection between your mind and your body to have a better spiritual practice as a whole. The spike in popularity means that lots of people are incorporating yoga into their workout regimes. Men, women, and children are getting involved in the practice and entering into yoga through different types of practices. In this article, we will go over some of the most popular forms of yoga so that you can better understand what types of classes you are signing up for. People of all ages and abilities can join a practice, yoga can be both slow and easy, but also demanding and challenging depending on which you choose. This article will cover three types of yoga for the beginner, those looking for fitness first, and perhaps what yoga is best for, healing the mind and body, these styles are called Hatha, Vinyasa, and Bikram.
Perhaps the most widely selected version of yoga practiced in the United States is the beginner level style of Hatha. This term covers a general category, encompassing a rather large range of yoga styles. What they all have in common, which you may like as a beginner, is that they all practice a gentle and older system of yoga that is good for beginners to pick up on. Hatha has the practices of asanas and pranayamas, which are the names for postures and breathing exercises. These practices in combination, allow for the new yogi to learn how to connect and bring peace to their mind and body. Hatha is meant for all levels of yoga, and its goal is to eventual do deeper spiritual practices, including meditation. When people say they are practicing ‘yoga’ they normally mean that they are practicing hatha yoga. The yoga methods are subtle, and the poses are held for the purpose of deeper spiritualization. Here in the Western world, we understand this practice of yoga to be predominately physical, and for those beginners getting into yoga for the purpose of relaxing, Hatha is fantastic for a stress-reducing practice.
If you are looking for something a little more advanced and fast-paced then we have the perfect class for you to sign up for, look for Vinyasa classes, or Vinyasa Flow classes. Much like Hatha, the term Vinyasa encompasses quite a bit but specifically for poses, unlike the other form Vinyasa is about how these poses flow together in a series of movement with an emphasis on how the movements synchronize with your breathing patterns. What you end up with is a fast pace and fitness orientated practice of yoga. As you breathe a good teacher will advise you to breathe through poses as you transition quickly. Fitness orientated instructors will almost always choose this to boost cardio and will combine difficult upward moves with deep inhaling and have you hold poses to tone muscles and get you sweating. Vinyasa is also associated with hot yoga practices, as the linking of both body and breath are important for shorter sentences. While this may be an ideal place to start for the physically fit and active, check in with the instructor if you are a first-time yoga practitioner. Instructors in this style are focused on flowing between the different poses and rarely ever stop to explain the specifics of each pose. Jumping straight into a Vinyasa Flow class that is not directed at beginners can lead to injuries if you are shifting incorrectly in and out of poses. Take a beginner Hatha class to get acquainted with the names, and help you understand how to best position your body. If your end goal is Vinyasa but you are struggling to find a Hatha class, you can focus on finding an Ashtanga class, as this is where Vinyasa originated from.
Many come to yoga not because they are looking for body and mind spiritual connection, or even because they are looking to exercise during the day, they come to find a practice to heal. We mentioned hot yoga earlier, the specifics of hot yoga is called Bikram. During this type of yoga, you perform 26 postures in the heat, specifically the 105 degrees Fahrenheit or even more heat. If you are wondering why you would want to take an already sweaty situation and make it hotter, the purpose of the warm climate is to mimic the setting of the origin of yoga, India. The purpose of hot yoga is three-fold, to increase flexibility, detox your body, and prevent and possible injuries. These 26 procedures are completed within ninety minutes and no longer, and have two moments for breathing exercises. Much like in Vinyasa, do not go to a class without first knowing a few details about yoga and postures. With only ninety minutes to accomplish the postures, your instructor will not be taking the time to demonstrate individual moves to you. They are continuously talking you through the practice, and no matter where you go in the world with Bikram yoga the way they talk you through a meditation will be the same, as they are all on the same script. Always take water with you, and a towel, as it is going to be hot!
Now that you know the three most popular forms of yoga you can find one of the many studios near you and jump in. Make sure to bring snacks, water, and if you are ready to invest, your own mat and towel. Yoga is a great way to either exercise, heal, or even find a new friend group to practice yoga with and then hit the all organic juice bar. If you are looking to slowly integrate back into a workout routine this is an excellent place to start.