Which Style of Yoga Is Best for You?
Which Style of Yoga Is Best for You?
Yoga is a good form of exercise. ?It improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength, balance, stamina, coordination, posture and well-being. Yoga can be done at any age because it is very gentle on the body.
Just be sure to pick the style that is right for you.
If you’re a beginner at?yoga, the many different styles can seem overwhelming. How do you choose? How do you know which type is right for you when there are over 90 pose based yogas.
With any style of yoga, you can improve strength, flexibility, and balance. And all yoga styles release tension in your body, quiet your mind, and create a feeling of lightness and ease. But to get the most benefit, stay safe, and find the greatest pleasure, you need to choose a yoga style that suits your current?fitness?level. To make that choice, also need to consider your temperament and goals for practicing yoga.
For example, if you’re an athlete already doing lots of?strength training, your best choice is likely to be a yoga style that focuses on flexibility. That way, you can balance your fitness routine. If you’re older, have an injury, or live with a chronic medical condition such as?arthritis, you may want to try a class restorative yoga, therapeutic yoga or other ?gentle styles. When you do, you’ll get plenty of individual attention that focuses on your unique condition and needs. If you’re relatively healthy, love to sweat, and want to?lose weight, a Bikram class may be just the right fit for you. However, if you are over weight, you may find it greatly beneficial to begin with a gentle style of class that is suited for you. If it is difficult for you to make it to the floor on a yoga mat, try chair yoga.
Before you actually make a choice, try a few of the most common styles of yoga. See which one suits you best. Then try a few different teachers within that style of yoga. Teachers all have their own unique focus, emphasis, and personality. You’re more likely to keep going to class with a teacher you connect with and feel comfortable with.
Goals for Your Yoga Style
The word yoga can be translated as “union,” “yoke,” or “balance.” By doing yoga, you’re creating a union between mind and body. You’re also balancing strength and flexibility.
To decide on the yoga style that’s right for you, ask yourself three simple questions. The answers will help you clarify your goals in beginning yoga.
Are you doing yoga for fitness and to get in shape as well as to explore the mind-body connection??Then choose a more vigorous yoga style like Power Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, or Bikram yoga. All three styles combine an athletic series of poses into a vigorous, total-body workout.
Are you starting yoga with an injury or a chronic medical condition? Or are you older and out of shape??Then start with a slower, more alignment-oriented class like therapeutic yoga, restorative yoga, Iyengar yoga, Kripalu yoga, or Viniyoga. All three focus on finding the safest, most precise alignment for each student in every pose.
Are the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga your primary goal??Then try one of the yoga styles that include plenty of?meditation, chanting, and the philosophic aspects of yoga. For example, you might try Kundalini yoga.
Common Styles of Yoga
First, know that there’s a great deal of crossover. Yoga teachers often blend one or more yoga styles and even develop their own signature style of yoga. Only a few yoga styles are thousands of years old with little variation in the poses over the years.
Restorative yoga. This style originated at the Judith Lasater. It is a yoga style that is very slow moving and allows your body to be fully supported by props like pillows. It is the most gentle style that moves very that will never create a sweat. It allows one to completely unwind, relax and restore. It is ideal for people with chronic stress and muscle tension.
Therapeutic Yoga. This style of yoga adapts a gentle series of poses to people with specific medical conditions. It’s designed for people with conditions ranging from?AIDS?to depression and?heart disease. Teachers emphasize the mind-body connection, self-acceptance, and the calming effects of yoga, as well as the physical poses themselves.
Kripalu yoga. This style originated at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires in Massachusetts in the 1970s. It begins with gentle, slow movements that rarely create a sweat. It then progresses through three levels of deeper mind-body awareness.
Iyengar yoga. Detail-oriented and slow-paced, Iyengar yoga is an excellent beginning class. Analytical in its approach with a constant attention to detail, Iyengar yoga is great for learning the subtleties of correct alignment in each pose. The use of props — belts, blocks, and pillow-like bolsters — help beginners get into poses with correct alignment, even when they’re new to the poses, injured, or simply stiff. Worldwide, there are over 2,000 certified Iyengar teachers. That makes this style of yoga one of the most popular. B. K. S. Iyengar, who developed this style of yoga and is over 90 years old, still teaches in India. Similar styles include Anusara yoga and Viniyoga.
Hatha Yoga. “Hatha yoga” originally meant the physical practice of yoga. It meant doing the pose as opposed to doing the breathing exercises called pranayama or following the philosophical or ethical practices of some styles of yoga. Hatha yoga now has become a somewhat meaningless, over-generalized term that usually means a teacher has combined a few different yoga styles to create a simple class that’s good for beginners learning to do basic poses.
Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga is another traditional style of yoga. It offers a highly vigorous, nonstop series of poses. The idea is to create heat inside the body to burn off toxins, release tight muscles and joints, and focus your mind. Six formal “series” of poses, beginning with the Primary series, increase in difficulty as you master each level. Unique to ashtanga yoga is its focus on a specialized breathing technique. Called ujjai breathing, it sustains heat in your body. Ashtanga yoga also used bandhas, or energy locks, in each pose. Originally developed by yogi master Pattabhi Jois in India, ashtanga yoga in the West now has many spin-offs, including Power Yoga.
Power Yoga. Power Yoga is hugely popular in health clubs and among athletes. It is one of the most athletic forms of yoga. Based on the sequence of poses in Ashtanga yoga, Power Yoga builds upper-body strength as well as flexibility and balance. Teachers lead classes that flow from one pose to the next without stopping to talk about the finer points of each pose. That way, students come away with a good workout as well as a yoga experience. If you’re new to yoga, it’s a good idea to take a few classes in a slower style of yoga first to get the feel for the poses. That’s because there’s less individual attention and more focus on moving through the Power Yoga class. Some studios call Power Yoga by different names: flow yoga, flow-style yoga, or vinyasa flow.
Bikram yoga.?Bikram yoga is the favorite of anyone who loves to sweat. It was created by Indian yogi Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s, long before yoga was a trend. He designed a sequence of 26 yoga poses to stretch and strengthen the muscles as well as compress and “rinse” the organs of the body. The poses are all done in a heated room to facilitate the release of toxins. Every Bikram class you go to — from Manhattan to San Diego — follows the same sequence of 26 poses. Some beginning yoga students find this reassuring. Bikram teachers even call out the same verbal instructions for the poses. Be prepared to sweat: Bikram studios are heated above 100 degrees. Check with your doctor if you have a medical condition like?hypertension?or?diabetes?before starting this “hot” style of yoga.
Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is more spiritual and philosophical in approach than other styles of yoga. It has a reputation for being esoteric — and a slightly shadowy reputation for being about sex. That’s because this yoga style is designed to awaken kundalini energy in the spine. That’s a practice that can also be used to awaken sexual energy and to practice tantric sex. Kundalini yoga classes include meditation, breathing techniques such as alternate nostril breathing, and chanting as well as yoga postures.
Viniyoga. Viniyoga is another gentle style of yoga. It focuses on how your breath moves through your body and affects each pose. It does this rather than emphasizing the precise execution of each pose. The long, deep stretches of this style of yoga are ideal for beginners and people who want to focus on flexibility, injury recovery, body awareness, and relaxation. Viniyoga was created by Indian yogi T. K. V. Desikachar and popularized by the American Gary Kraftsow. It adapts a series of poses to each individual student’s physical needs, goals, and limitations.
Other Styles of Yoga
There are several other styles of yoga you may encounter as you explore the options. They include:
- Jivamukti yoga. This style was co-founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1986. It’s hugely popular in New York City. This style of yoga combines yoga poses with meditation, chanting, and a broad yoga education with contemporary and traditional philosophy.
- Anusara yoga. Anusara yoga was founded by American John Friend. It is a gentle, awareness-based style of yoga. Anusara yoga is as much about the philosophy of yoga as the physical biomechanics of poses.
- Ananda yoga. This style of yoga is unique in its use of specific mental affirmations for each physical pose. It’s ideal for linking mind and body in a positive experience of yoga for beginners.
- Sivananda yoga. This style is famous for its yoga camps in the Bahamas and elsewhere. Sivananda yoga teaches five areas of the yoga lifestyle: exercise, diet, proper breathing, relaxation, and positive thinking.
Jayne Hembruff?blends her educational background in science, over a decade of experience as a corporate facilitator and trainer, plus her wealth of yoga training to deliver a unique corporate program to meet your organization?s needs.
Jayne has had great success assisting people living with a variety of mental and physical challenges as well as assisting national level athletes improve their performance.?Jayne teaches people of all ages and abilities. Jayne has also created her own unique yoga HaloYoga which is yoga done inside a salt therapy room.
Jayne is a Yoga Network of Canada registered teacher? (YNC-R) Jayne has been trained in a variety of styles of yoga and is continually training to learn more to share with her students.
Some of the styles, Jayne has been trained in are:
Restorative yoga. This style originated with Judith Lasater. Jayne has trained with both Judith and Cindy Lee. Restorative Yoga is a style that is very slow moving and allows your body to be fully supported by props like pillows. It is the most gentle style. It allows the participant to completely unwind, relax and restore. Restorative Yoga is ideal for people with chronic stress, muscle tension and anxiety.
Therapeutic Yoga. This style of yoga adapts a gentle series of poses to people with specific conditions. It’s designed for people with conditions ranging with?mental health?to?physical health?challenges. It can accommodate people who are confined to a wheel chair and even a bed. The emphasizes is on the mind-body connection, self-acceptance, and the calming effects of yoga, as well as the physical poses themselves to help strengthen and stretch to body. Jayne has trained with various teachers such as Suzie Hately, Dr. Ray Long, MD, Therapeutic Adjustments with Lisa Black plus others. Jayne is Waterloo Regions Mental Wellness Yoga Teacher, having facilitated yoga class for both People in Motion in KW, Cambridge and Guelph (a research project for Diabetes Prevention Program in Schizophrenia) and Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health Wellness Program for over 5 years. Jayne also presents annual at KPL ?Yoga for Anxiety and Mood Disorders?, and will be one of Canadian Mental Health Association?s March 2, 2013 conference presenters.
Kripalu yoga. This style originated at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires in Massachusetts in the 1970s. It begins with gentle, slow movements that rarely creates a sweat. It then progresses through three levels of deeper mind-body awareness.
Iyengar yoga.?Detail-oriented and slow-paced, Iyengar yoga is an excellent beginning class. Analytical in its approach with a constant attention to detail, Iyengar yoga is great for learning the subtleties of correct alignment in each pose. The use of props — belts, blocks, and pillow-like bolsters — help beginners get into poses with correct alignment, even when they’re new to the poses, injured, or simply stiff. Worldwide, there are over 2,000 certified Iyengar teachers. That makes this style of yoga one of the most popular. B. K. S. Iyengar, who developed this style of yoga and is over 90 years old, still teaches in India. Jayne has studied with Rodney Yee and Dr. Ray Long, MD.
Partner yoga.?Jayne has trained with Doug Swenson, as well as various Acro yoga instructors to gain a dynamic approach to partner yoga. Partner yoga allows participants to feel poses differently with the support of another person. This is especially beneficial for elite athletes, your life partner, family members to help create a stronger bond.
Kids yoga. Yoga for kids is a more fun and light hearted way to approach the yoga poses while blending an awareness of oneself, their body and the world around them. Jayne has trained with Yoga Kids creator Marsha Wenig. She also blends her extensive experience working with children at the Waterloo Region District School Board, running summer sports and yoga camps, and mother of three. Jayne has also assisted elite athletes (aged 8-adult) enhance their performance.
Yoga for Schools. Jayne is working in conjunction with Dr. Stuart Shanker, a distinguished self regulation researcher and Professor of Philosophy and Psychology to design a yoga program for schools kindergarten to grade 12 to provide our children with tools to assist them to thrive in school and life. This program is designed to link with your curriculum requirements and teachers specific requests.
Family Yoga. Jayne has blends her passion of yoga with families. This program is designed to explore a number of yoga poses that you can do with your children. This program is suitable families with children ranging from toddlers to teens.
Pre Natal Yoga. Expectant Moms, prepare your body for the labour, deliver and your upcoming role as a Mom. Jayne designs this program based on her experience of how yoga assisted her through three pregnancies, deliveries and parenting her three children. Jayne has taken prenatal yoga training with various teachers.
Post Natal Yoga/Yoga with Baby. Life as with a new born can be very challenging. However, taking the time to care for yourself is critical so you can provide excellent care to your baby and others in your life. These classes will address your needs, and provide an opportunity how you can bond with your baby. Jayne has trained with various teachers in Post Natal Yoga and Yoga with Baby.
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