For those of you who don’t know me, I have a very “Type A” personality. What do I mean by that? I mean that I work hard, that I like consistency and that finding time to truly relax and let go is difficult. Anyone else?
Don’t get me wrong, throughout the years I have tried yoga before, and to be honest, I just found it boring. But the more chaotic and busy life gets as I near 25 the more essential it is for me to take time for myself for my own sanity.
I like variety in my fitness routine and also in my yoga. There are plenty of options of different yoga classes both at gyms and online. And if you find yourself needing an escape while also getting in some exercise, then yoga may be what you need.
What is Yoga?
Yoga has been practiced and studied for thousands of years. It is often, but not always, practiced in conjunction with meditation. And more recently, since gaining popularity in the U.S, there are many different types of practices. You can find classes that are more fitness focused or more mind focused.
To practice yoga you need: a yoga mat (or I just practice on carpet at home), you’ll need comfy but not overly loose clothing and sometimes a yoga block or towel. Yoga does not require weights or resistance bands, it is all body weight movements and poses designed to help elongate and strengthen muscles.
There are many different types of yoga and the best way to find out what you like is to try them. You can do this by attending different yoga classes offered near you, or you can look through YouTube’s video catalog and find a class that has the same goal as you do that day.
Flexibility is one of the first things our body loses as it ages. And flexibility can only be gained by being practiced. Yoga is a great way to do just that. And balance is huge when it comes to strengthening your core muscles, and I don’t just mean your six-pack muscles. Plus yoga can help to relieve joint pain throughout by improving your body’s over all alignment.
The mind is also something that can be improved with practice. While doing yoga you are practicing focusing on your breathing and turning off the rest of your busy life. This can help reduce stress, improve body awareness and even sleep.
And believe it or not, exercising your mind is the hard part. Trying to train yourself to only focus on your breathing and your body’s movements is sometimes impossible. But like any other skill or exercise, it takes practice, and even trial and error to find what works for you. You will fall and likely fail more than once in yoga, but you can get there!
And since there are so many options for yoga practices I thought I would include a list of 10 different types of yoga you can check out. Next to each type is what that practice generally focuses on. So explore them all or just a few and find what works for your mind and body.
10 Yoga Types + Main Focus:
- Hatha – Focuses on breathing and exercise.
- Iyengar – Focuses on injury recovery.
- Kundalini – Intense & can involve meditation or chanting.
- Ashtanga – Flowing style to link movement with breath.
- Vinyasa – Focuses on flowing movement with breath and strength.
- Bikram – Includes 26 basic postures and is done in a 105-degree room.
- Yin– Focuses on letting gravity do the work and relaxation.
- Restorative – Very relaxing and focuses on winding down body and mind.
- Anusara – Focuses on alignment and mind- body-heart connection.
- Jivamukti– Vinyasa flow style that focuses on a body-earth connection usually involving chants.
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Monday, January 28th