There are different types of yoga that you can start practicing today, and they can range from physically demanding to very relaxing. Whichever you choose, yoga is a great way to build good health habits and achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Although yoga can be traced back to spiritual teachings, there are modern yoga styles that focus more on the physical aspect of the teaching compared to traditional yoga methods that emphasize spiritual connection.
This article will help you choose the best type of yoga to practice depending on your goals. It also has some 20 minute yoga demonstration videos (well, more or less 20 minutes) so you can have a go.
Benefits of Yoga
The purpose of practicing yoga is to become well-developed both in mind and body. Although there are more than 100 types of yoga, most sessions usually include meditations, postures, and breathing exercises. Yoga is a great way of staying healthy while becoming more spiritually connected with yourself. The following are some of the benefits of practicing yoga.
Yoga for Weight Loss
Although yoga isn’t a type of aerobic exercise, there are types of yoga that can help you lose calories. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the benefits of yoga. The best way to lose weight through yoga is by practicing restorative yoga. Most of the exercises in restorative yoga are focused on losing abdominal fats.
Yoga and metabolism are two closely related topics. Yoga postures can massage the endocrine and abdominal organs, which lead to better circulation inside the body. It can also increase thyroid activity and restore or increase metabolism. Restored metabolism will help you lose weight fast.
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Yoga for Flexibility
Doing yoga is the best stretch routine you will ever find. This is due to its emphasis on forms and specific muscle groups targeted for posture. It can also help address deep-seated muscles and major muscle groups in the body similar to a full-body stretch. Movements in yoga are mostly concerned with three things when it comes to flexibility. These include alignment, attention, and awareness.
Alignment refers to how precise the practitioner is doing the pose in such a way that benefits are maximized and the risk of acquiring an injury is minimized. Attention refers to the level of focus that the practitioner has while he/she is executing movements. Awareness, on the other hand, helps the practitioner have better control over their mind in response to their body.
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Yoga for Muscle Strength
Yoga can help you build upper body muscles with the same results as lifting weights. These types of yoga are known as power yoga. Lifting weights usually isolate and only flex a particular muscle group. Power yoga, on the other hand, is a type of bodyweight training that tones the body while maintaining balance.
8 Types of Yoga
There are many different ways to do yoga. Some are physically demanding while others are relaxing and meditative. It is advisable to try out different yoga styles before settling on a specific one. Here are 8 of the more common types of yoga to help you decide which one to practice.
1. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa flow yoga is adapted from ashtanga practices and is often considered an athletic yoga style. The word “vinyasa” is synonymous with the phrase “to place in a special way”. This meaning is evident through the poses of vinyasa yoga, which focuses on linking breathing techniques with the movements itself.
Vinyasa yoga is practiced in a continuous rhythmic flow and can help calm the mind as well as the nervous system. Vinyasa for beginners is a great choice and it will help you understand the essence of why one pose directly flows to the next.
2. Hatha Yoga
Hatha flow yoga came from the Sanskrit word “sun” and “moon”. This yoga reflects on the philosophy of balanced opposing forces.
Hatha yoga for beginners mostly focuses on strength, flexibility, breathing techniques, and cultivation of physical and mental energy.
Hatha yoga emphasizes focus on self-inquiry and is a mixture of asana (poses), meditation, and pranayama breathing exercises.
3. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga is a type of yoga named after its founder, B.K.S. Iyengar. It focuses mainly on proper body alignment and precise movements while maintaining great breathing control. It became popular in the US back in the 1970s and greatly helps with back pain relief. Most of the poses are alignment-based and are usually hard to master.
Those who are attempting to teach Iyengar yoga need to go under a high level of training. Iyengar yoga also uses props such as walls, chairs, benches, and even straps to aid the practitioner.
4. Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini translates to the word “life force energy”. This energy is thought to be trapped or coiled in the lower spine. The yoga poses involved with kundalini yoga attempts to unlock that energy, which is said to be effective in improving a person’s mental health.
Most of the principles of kundalini yoga are attributed to elevating one’s consciousness. Different poses can also be done with chanting, meditation, and singing.
Kundalini classes usually involve mantras accompanied by breathing exercises and movements, followed by relaxation and meditation.
5. Ashtanga Yoga
The Sanskrit word “ashtanga” means “Eight limbs path”. This is practiced by a lot of people in India and is commonly called “traditional Indian yoga”. It emphasizes the relationship between breathing and movement. Ashtanga yoga posesare physically demanding and are not recommended for beginners.
Introduced to the United States by Sri K. Pattabhi, Ashtanga yoga is usually practiced without music nor verbal instructions. It involves sun salutations which are combinations of standing and floor postures.
Ashtanga yoga benefits include lower blood pressure, increased focus, reduced stress, lower body fats, and prevents injury.
6. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is well known as hot yoga class due to its use of sauna-like rooms. These rooms are usually set to 105 degrees at 40% humidity. Mirrors are also placed inside so students will be able to check their posture and alignment.
This yoga is named after its founder, Bikram Choudhury, who brought it to California from India. It involves 26 basic postures with each posture being performed twice. Like Ashtanga Yoga, it does not use any music.
Hot yoga benefits that other yoga types do not have, include improvement of bone density, easing of depression, boosting of the cardiovascular system, nourishing the skin, and lowering of blood sugar levels.
7. Yin Yoga
Yin yoga class is a slow-paced yoga that uses seated postures performed at long periods. It is also a meditative yoga that emphasizes inner peace.
Yin yoga postures are great for beginners since yin yoga sequences only last between 45 seconds to 2 minutes. The majority of the movements are relaxed and focus on strengthening the connectivity between tissues inside the body. This can also be performed with props and uses little or no music.
8. Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga poses focus on the relaxation of the body as well as freeing the mind from any thoughts. Props such as blankets, eye pillows, and bolsters are used during sessions to help the practitioner achieve relaxation easier.
Yoga Nidra is one type of restorative yoga. It will teach you how to stay in between being asleep and awake, which will hone your ability to have a heightened state of awareness.
Yoga breathing exercises are also emphasized in restorative yoga to achieve a state of relaxation.
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Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important to live a longer life with a greater quality of life. Yoga helps the practitioners not just in having a healthy body but a healthy mind as well. Through yoga, the mind is freed, and thus, finding inner peace becomes easier. Having a deep spiritual connection can also be developed through yoga.
Yoga for beginners can be a bit challenging, but many yoga types are fairly easy to do. Overall, yoga is a great exercise that brings a lot of benefits to anyone who practices it.
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