What Is Yoga?
In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, Yoga translates directly to "union." It means the union of mind, spirit, and body. The physical postures or poses that a lot of people in the West
think of when yoga comes to mind are referred to as asanas. These physical postures or asanas are just a part of the eight-limbed system of yoga. The majority of this scheme deals with spiritual
and mental aspects as opposed to the physical.
In it's most basic form, one might describe yoga as the connection of movement, breath, and mind in both a spiritual and physical manner.
Choosing The Right Style For You
There are lots of yoga styles to choose from and making the right choice will have a significant impact on whether or not you stick with it. Try out different styles and teachers until you find one
that flows well with you. Yoga styles and classes for beginners can come in a variety of options, which include Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Bikram, Yin, Restorative and others.
Types Of Yoga
Vinyasa Flow is no doubt one of the most popular styles of yoga today. It's very easy to find Vinyasa classes, most every studio or online yoga web site offer various forms of Vinyasa Flow.
Vinyasa classes are filled with movement and flow as poses are connected together with breath and transitions from pose to pose.
Vinyasa classes usually move at a quicker pace, but can also move at a slow pace which may be referred to as a "Slow Flow". Some flows may be very structured while others may flow
freely and offer creativity.
Various other yoga styles fall into the Vinyasa Flow category, including Power Flow and Prana Flow.
Vinyasa Flow may be suitable for you if you're looking to be active on your mat and likely build a sweat while getting physically stronger.
Yin yoga focuses on passive, seated poses that target the connective tissues in the hips, pelvis and back. Yin comes from the Taoist tradition. Poses are held for anywhere between one
and 10 minutes. The objective will be to raise flexibility and support a sense of release and letting go. This is an excellent solution to learn the basic principles of meditation and
stilling the mind. As such, Yin is great for athletic types who need to release stress in joints that are overworked, and of course, Yin is wonderful for anyone just looking to relax.
This is a vigorous and structured style of yoga. Ashtanga was offered to the West by Sri Pattabi Jois. This style of yoga presents five asana series, each of which students must master before
moving forward in the series. Pure Ashtanga classes move at a quick pace and offer great physical challenge. If you're a person who enjoys structure and discipline, then Ashtanga could be a could
fit for you. Vinyasa Flow is derived from Ashtanga and may be a good starting point before trying Ashtanga.
Bikram yoga is the best choice for anybody who loves perspiration. It was the brainchild of Indian yogi Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s. He structured a sequence of 26 yoga poses to extend
and strengthen the muscles along with compressing and a "rinse" of the organs of the body. The poses are done in a heated room to increase the discharge of toxins. Every Bikram class you go to,
any place on the planet, follows the same sequence of 26 poses. Classes can be held in temperatures over 100 degrees and it's critical to practice caution.
Kundalini yoga was made to awaken energy in the back. Kundalini is thought to be latent female energy coiled at the base of the spine. Kundalini yoga courses include yoga poses, along with meditation,
chanting, and breathing techniques. Many yoga students refer to Kundalini as the "yoga of awareness". Most yoga poses during these classes will focus on navel activity and the spine.
Hatha yoga just implies the physical custom of yoga (asanas as opposed to say, chanting). The term Hatha today is used in a very broad manner and could include or refer to several styles of yoga classes.
Generally speaking, Hatha style classes move at a slower pace and place much emphasis on the breath. Hatha classes would typically include many of the standard asanas or poses that you would find in most
Vinyasa classes. As a beginner yoga student, you may want to confirm with the studio or web site since Hatha classes can vary greatly from one class to another.
Restorative yoga is all about treating the body and mind through straightforward poses regularly held for as long as 20 minutes with the aid of props including bolsters, pillows, and straps. These classes
are generally longer in length but usually contain fewer postures. Yoga props are used to make holding the poses easier as they are held for longer periods of time. Common poses include gentle twists, backbends
and folds. Restorative yoga is comparable to Yin yoga, but with less emphasis on flexibility and movement. Many would argue that this style of yoga is more about the mind as opposed to the body.