How to choose a yoga style right for you
With 100 different styles of yoga practised across the world, we are spoilt for choice. So how do I choose which yoga style is right for me?
Today many a hybrid form of an original style is catching the fancy of millions across the globe leading to a new style every day.
Hot yoga, pot yoga, horse yoga, doggie yoga, beer yoga and stripper pole yoga are all jostling for pose space in the yoga studio. In Miami, for instance, a studio is teaching yoga with weights all in an effort to keep it fresh.
In New York, for instance, yoga studio now has multiple classes in different hybrid genres happening on a daily basis.
We have certainly come a long way from thousands of years ago in India where yoga practice was taught one on one from the guru to the student and it took a lifetime to learn.
Today we have ‘fast fooded’ yoga. The question remains, which is the best type of yoga for beginners like me?
At this point I’m not going into the benefits of yoga I have written a separate article on the benefits
Which style of yoga is right for me quiz
it is important to do a little bit of a self-examination before you join up for your yoga In order to
choose the yoga style right for me it was important that my yoga style matched my current
fitness level, as well as my fitness goals at the time. In order get the most benefit, you should ask
yourself some important questions
The first question to ask yourself, what is your reasons for practising yoga?
Are you doing yoga to sweat it out and burn as many calories as possible?
Are you attracted to yoga’s more calming aspects? Are you searching for a meditative spiritual experience?
Do you have an injury, a medical condition that you are looking to heal with yoga exercise
Check with your doctor if you have any medical condition, including asthma, hypertension or
Diabetes, before starting yoga and check if with your yoga studio before you begin your sessions.
Do you want personalized attention with your yoga style or do you think you will fit into the yoga tribe vibe better?
In order to choose right, it is also important to have a bit of a background on the basic yoga styles so we have put together a beginners guide to the very popular ancient and modern styles of yoga
Patanjali Yoga Sutras
All forms of yoga have their origin in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras or threads In a way, you could call it the original yoga style.
Written at least 1,700 years ago Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are written across 4 texts on yoga. It is a collection of 195 aphorisms, outlining the eight limbs of yoga.
This practice originated in India in the 15th century. This type of yoga is slow-paced, gentle, and focused on breathing and meditation.
Hatha yoga style is the physical practice of yoga that uses a combination of body postures or asanas, breathing techniques pranayama and meditation also known as dhyana.
The three processes are put in practice to rejuvenate and energize both mind and body. Hatha Yoga It’s also the root or basis from where most 21st century styles of yoga are derived.
Who does Hatha yoga: Beginners and people wanting to learn the basics of yoga
Benefits of Hatha Yoga: Relieves stress, provides physical exercise and improves breathing
The trademark of Iyengar is the intense focus on the detailed nuances of each posture and their effect on different parts of the body. Iyengar Yoga founder B.K.S. Iyengar was one of the most influential gurus of our time.
Iyengar yoga includes the extensive use of props, such as benches belts, bolsters, chairs, and blankets, as supports for areas affected by injury, or structural imbalance.
The use of these props also helps in educating the student on the right posture.
During the Iyengar class, poses are held much longer than in other schools of yoga, in an effort to pay closer attention to the correct alignment within each asana.
Who does Iyengar Yoga: Beginners who want to learn the correct alignments in each pose and those with injuries, balance issues, and chronic medical conditions like arthritis.
Benefits of Iyengar yoga: It strengthens and bring the body into alignment Helps improve balance, speeds up recovery from an injury, and builds up body strength
Contemporary yoga guru Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta his main teacher was yoga guru Bishnu Ghosh (1903-1970). He has put together a simple but strenuous regimen for his yoga style. Currently, his yoga studios criss cross the US and Canada.
You do the same series of two breathing exercises and 26 poses in each class. The one-hour classes consist of half of floor postures and half of standing poses and.
Also known as hot yoga, Bikram yoga is practised in a room where the temperature is set at 95 to 100 degree F.
The high heat allows you to dig deep into the stretches, simultaneously building your stamina and flushing toxins from your body through intense perspiration.
Who does Bikram Yoga: Those with a fit body wanting to practice a strenuous yoga that requires full mental concentration that challenges both mind and body.
Benefits of Bikram Yoga: leads to deep stretching of all muscles, enhances flexibility, cleanses and flushes out toxins and Speeds up recovery from an injury if any.
A modern-day form of classical Indian yoga, Ashtanga is based on the eight limbs or branches of yoga exercise Founded by K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India.
The 8 limbs of Yoga are Yama or ethical disciplines, Niyama , the rules of conduct, Asana or the postures of yoga, Pranayama restraining of the breath, Pratyahara or the withdrawal of the the senses, Dharana or fixed concentration, Dhyana which translates to meditation and the ultimate Samadhi or the upliftment of the soul.
Ashtanga yoga is a very fast-paced and intense yoga style. Ashtanga yoga also uses a special breathing technique that controls the flow of breath through the body while focusing the mind and.
Who does Ashtanga yoga: Ashtanga Yoga for those looking for an athletic and demanding practice.
Benefits of Ashtanga yoga: Relieves stress, improves coordination, and helps with weight loss besides flowing towards greater spiritual awareness.
Kundalini yoga the most spiritual form of yoga incorporates exercises, chanting, meditation and mantras. A class
A 90-minute class typically begins with chanting moving on to rapid pranayama or breathing exercises, vigorous movement-oriented postures, mini-meditations, and religious mantras.
The practice is designed to awaken the energy at the base of the spine or root chakra as it is also known and draw it upward through each of the seven chakras.
Who does Kundalini yoga: Those with a deep interest in Indian spiritualism and religion will find this best is best suited to their needs.
Benefits of Kundalini yoga: It’s practice will lead to a deep understanding of the internal aspects of yoga and its connections to the body. It creates a heightened spiritual awareness through meditation, breathing exercises and mantra chanting.
I look at the above as the major styles of yoga. There are many sub branches of yoga today and I will briefly touch upon them as well. Some of them are good slow steady forms ideal for beginner yoga
Anusara yoga is often described as Iyengar a purist form of yoga with a sense of humour.
A slow and easy yoga style that typically focuses on 12 basic asanas, bookended by Surya Namaskar or sun salutation.
Created especially for western practitioners of yoga, Jivamukti yoga is an exacting and limit-pushing practice that focuses on yoga’s traditional spiritual elements and physical exercise in the form of yoga poses.
A form of yoga done in pairs its design and practice is used to expand the connection and awareness between couples at a physical and mental level.
Kripalu yoga style lays special emphasis on the process of figuring out how your body works using different yoga poses. A slow system it advocates the holding of postures and meditation as a form of wellness.
It is what it says, yoga postures carefully adapted for expectant mothers. It is specially formulated for both women in all stages of pregnancy and those getting back in shape post-child birth.
This form of yoga uses props and aromas to help you relax while you spend close to half an hour doing just four or five simple yoga poses
Is a highly individualized practice of yoga that is formulated around the individual and his or her specific needs and abilities.
Vinyasa / Power
An aerobic and vigorous exercise based yoga Vinyasa yoga is adapted from the Ashtanga yoga system and directed at the aerobic-happy westerner.
Also called Taoist yoga. Yin is a quiet, meditative yoga practice.
At the end of this blog, I must confess that I had absolutely no clue that there were so many styles of yoga being practiced around the world today.
We hope this read will make it easier for you when you step out to choose a style of yoga for yourself.
Also if you somewhere out there practice a different form of yoga or have evolved your own form of yoga practice we would love for you to share the same with us here
Another must read for you: The secret of good yoga practice