Different styles of yoga have been used for quite some time to help improve strength, balance, and a number of other health concerns. With a quick Google search, you may have found more methods than you ever knew existed. If you’re looking to start the practice of yoga, then it may be a little overwhelming. But no stress, friend! I’m going to break down the top five common styles plus share some tips for how to choose the best one.
Overall Benefits of Doing Yoga
As I mentioned before, there are a variety of ways yoga can be used to enhance your overall health. For starters, yoga involves A LOT of stretching which means a boost in your flexibility. No more pulling muscles just to reach down to tie your shoe from a standing position! Yoga also helps increase the strength and tone of your muscles. And if you thought yoga only helps with the outward body appearance, think again. It also boosts the following body systems:
- Weight (reduction)
- Cardio and circulatory
- Injury protection
With these amazing benefits in mind, let’s look at a few different methods that most people use today.
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5 Different Styles of Yoga
Although each style below has its own unique variation, keep in mind that they release tension within your body, aid in quieting your mind, and help you relax.
My personal choice, Hatha is considered a gentle method. It focuses most on the physical practices versus the breathing aspects, although it now combines a few styles into one. These combinations come together to create a simple style that’s perfect for beginners who want to learn basic poses.
Ever heard of “hot” yoga? This one’s it! This term can be used interchangeably, but the truth of the matter is not all hot yoga is Bikram. Specific to this style is the sequence of 26 poses that are often done in a room reaching over 100 degrees. It’s considered more challenging, but rightfully so. (This is one you’ll want to get cleared for by your doctor if you have underlying issues such as hypertension or diabetes.)
Considered a modern style of Hatha, it has adopted over 250 poses and typically starts class with a chant and ends with quiet meditation time. The teachers are also given the liberty to include some of their own poses. Like it’s Hatha yoga counterpart, it is considered a gentle approach to yoga.
If you’re looking for a challenging workout then you’ll enjoy the nonstop series of yoga poses offered in an Ashtanga yoga class. It also incorporates a special breathing technique known to help keep the mind focused while controlling the breath through the body.
Caring for your mind, body, and spirit are the focal points of Restorative yoga. It has a gentle approach thanks to the majority of the poses being on the ground and with the use of equipment aids. These classes are often known to use chairs, blocks, and even blanks for support.
How to Choose the Best Style of Yoga
Yes, there are many more styles you can choose from than what’s listed above; however, you’ll honestly be narrowed down to what your local gym or yoga facility offers. Even then, it’s best to know what your needs are and how those will mesh with the kind of workout you’ll get. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:
- Consider your fitness level. If you want to get into shape, a style like Bikram would be an ideal way to go. If you want to coast into it and work your way up, then start with a more beginner class.
- Consider your current medical condition. Yoga is meant to enhance your body functions, but you don’t want to push yourself beyond any health limits you currently have. Let your doctor know that you’d like to start yoga and discuss best practices for doing so.
- Consider your primary goal. Some people want to obtain a certain level in meditation and spirituality through the practice of yoga. Others want a more fit and flexible body. Choose your goals and then pick classes that will help you reach them.
I’m so excited for you to learn about incorporating yoga into your personal healthcare regimen! Let me know if you’ve already started, plan to start, and/or what particular style you’re most interested in!
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The contents of this article, made available via The Mind Body Design (Holistic Fit LLC), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The Content presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by The Mind Body Design (Holistic Fit LLC). Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never use an herb or essential oil without first reading the label, doing your research, or checking with a local expert.