There are so many different types of yoga disciplines, it can be confusing to pick one. Don’t let the variety stop you from diving into the yoga pool. There are certain yoga types that are geared toward beginners, and these are your best option when learning about the movements.
Also, keep in mind that the teacher can make or break the experience. If you don’t feel comfortable in a particular class, it may be the instructor rather than the yoga. Explore until you find your perfect yoga fit.
To begin yoga at home, you will need a mat, yoga blocks or towel for support, when needed, and a strap to use as a prop in certain bending poses.
Hatha yoga is the most general type of yoga and perhaps the most difficult to define. Depending on the teacher, classes can be slow and easy, but some may be more strenuous. To be sure a particular Hatha class is suitable for you, visit a class as a guest before signing up.
Hatha yoga consists of gentle movements without a continuing flow between each pose. This makes it easy for beginners to learn the basics. It is extremely adaptable to individual needs and physical conditions and a great way to increase strength and flexibility while reducing the risk of injury.
It is the best place to start and learn the basic poses before moving on to more arduous movements and positions. The focus is on holding a pose and strengthening balance. Hatha yoga is slow-moving, so if your goal is to move fast and sweat, it isn’t the best option. The benefit of hatha yoga is a decrease in stress and blood pressure as the body learns to relax.
Vinyasa yoga has a quicker pace than Hatha, and poses can rapidly flow into each other, rather like dance steps. Each movement is linked to an inhale and exhale, thus linking movement with breathing. The mind remains focused and in the present.
There are no strict sequences to poses, and teachers can “mix and match” to vary the routine. Therefore, if a particular Vinyasa class doesn’t appeal to you, another might. Vinyasa yoga is less gentle than Hatha and pushes the boundaries of flexibility and strength. It provides a wonderful cardio workout, as your body is continuously moving, except when doing the restful Downward Dog. It is sure to work up a sweat. Relaxing music is frequently played in the background.
Like Hatha, Vinyasa is an excellent starting point for beginner-level yoga students.
Iyengar yoga is an extension of Hatha yoga specifically focused on bodily alignment and can be tremendously healing. It increases flexibility through slow stretching moves that are held for a period of time. These still moments have meditative qualities. It tones the muscles and calms the mind. Better alignment can strengthen muscles, help with pain, and improve posture.
Iyengar yoga involves the entire body and improves circulation and digestion. With a better, healthier body, better lifestyle choices usually follow.
This form of yoga may use chairs, belts, or other props to improve bodily alignment. It is perfectly appropriate for beginners.
Ashtanga Yoga is more structured than some of the other asanas. There are a series of movements, six in all, and each series must be mastered before moving on to the next.
Ashtanga Yoga is not for beginners. It challenges strength, endurance, and flexibility; therefore, it is best to begin Ashtanga Yoga after some familiarity with other yoga disciplines.
Ashtanga works the entire body, so results will come quickly. It does require commitment, and most practitioners of Ashtanga do the exercises every day. Each series can take years to master. Patient people will love Ashtanga because it requires repetition of the same poses. There is no variation until you reach the next level.
There are 26 poses to be completed in a structured sequence for each Bikram session, which lasts for 1 hour and a half. The twist to Bikram is that it is practiced in 105 degrees heat. You will sweat and will need to remain hydrated. The heat, of course, adds an additional challenge. It also adds benefits, such as ridding the body of toxins.
As the name implies, Hot Yoga is also performed in a room filled with high temperatures. It differs from Bikram in that Hot Yoga is unstructured, without the 26 specific poses. This makes it suitable for beginners, but do consider the added challenge presented by the heat.
Kundalini uses meditation to energize the body. Its effects on the mind are extremely powerful as it increases awareness and strengthens your inner self to allow for a more authentic you. This harks back to yoga’s beginnings in its quest for spiritual elevation. Kundalini Yoga blends movements with breathing and chants.
Yin Yoga combines the physical with the mental and is specifically designed to provide energy and calm a busy mind.
The benefits of regular practice are a sense of calm, reduction in stress, improved circulation and flexibility, and greater joint mobility. The principle behind Yin Yoga is the yin and yang concept of Taoism, which seeks to balance all opposites in nature.
The exercises are done on the floor and involved holding poses for a long period of time. This affects the lower body parts, specifically the hips, thighs, and spine. Poses may be held for five minutes or more.
In a world that assaults us with stimuli on an ongoing basis, the mind easily becomes overloaded and overwhelmed. This is considered “normal” to such an extent people pride themselves on being Type A personalities. They are filled with a sense of urgency to always be on the move. The body is unable to relax, and the mind cannot become quiet.
Yin Yoga brings balance back to mind and body. The long poses stretch the tissues and strengthen the body while allowing awareness into the mind. Much energy is expended in suppressing unwanted thoughts and emotions. Yin Yoga releases that energy.
Restorative yoga restores your mind and body. It is easy, slow-moving, with poses that are held longer to provide a state of utter relaxation. Props such as blocks may be used to help you hold on to your pose.
Restorative Yoga helps you slow down when everything around you becomes hectic. Think of it as an isle of tranquility in a crazy world.
Stay Safe and Be Well
The Positive Professional 🙂