Yoga is not a global phenomenon for nothing! With millions of people practicing yoga across the world, yoga has evolved and branched into many different variations, types and sub-sects. And there's so much being said about each of these schools of yoga that it's not surprising if a complete beginner is confused about where and how to start the yoga way of life! The reasons for wanting to start yoga too differs from person to person. Some want to practice yoga for fitness reasons, others think of it as a stress buster and many others, think of it as a way to calm the mind. So, we at Ashiyana Yoga have decided to break it all down and talk about the different types of yoga and help you figure out which one works best for you and your needs!
Beginner Level: Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga in actuality refers to the physical aspect of the broader concept of yoga. Hatha Yoga is the kind of yoga that is found mostly in most classes around the world. Its approach is straightforward, simple and is not just perfect for complete beginners, but can also be adapted to suit higher skill levels. Hatha Yoga is right for you if you are looking to learn the basics of yoga, master simple breathing exercises and increase your flexibility, stamina and overall health.
Fitness First Level: Ashtanga Yoga/Power Yoga/Vinyasa Yoga
If you are taking up yoga for weight loss and as an alternative to any other form of vigorous workout, then Ashtanga Yoga or its more newer variant, Power yoga, is the right choice for you. Both types of yoga combine the general benefits of yoga with an intense cardio session. There is no resting time between the different poses and the fast-paced style keeps you on your toes! While the more traditional Ashtanga yoga begins with chanting, leading to a series of high-energy poses, Power Yoga is less spiritual and gets right to the workout aspect by building your upper-body strength, apart from flexibility and balance. Vinyasa Yoga is another variant which pairs breathing exercises with free-flowing, non-stop yoga poses for a creative, spontaneous and fluid experience.
Slow and Safe Level: Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga is mostly recommended to physically-weak or injured people as its approach is slow, easy and simple. Iyengar Yoga is highly detail-oriented and slow-paced, focusing more on mastering each pose with perfect alignment, taking the aid of props like belts, blocks, bolsters and mats. The emphasis on details, precision and perfect control of breathing makes it a great school of yoga, for those who are just starting out.
Intense Level: Bikram/Hot Yoga
If you love sweating it out and don't mind getting down and dirty, then the increasingly popular Bikram Yoga will do the trick for you! Bikram yoga classes are done in studios that are heated to 95 to 105 degrees, making it physically challenging and intense. Blending strength training, cardio and flexibility exercises, practicing Bikram Yoga's 26 poses in a heated room is no easy feat! Apart from providing additional warming for muscles stretching and strengthening, the heat also helps add a new challenge to the vigorous exercises, making Hot Yoga a great choice for those looking to lose some weight. But before enrolling for a Bikram Yoga class, you need to consult a doctor as the heated environment might not be beneficial for those with vascular diseases or other conditions.
Spiritual Level: Kundalini Yoga
Meditative, slow moving and spiritual, Kundalini Yoga is for those who like to be challenged both physically and mentally. With its focus on breathing, chanting, chakras and awakening the energy (kundalini) that resides in the base of the spine, Kundalini yoga focuses on the energy centers of the body. This yoga form also encourages healing through the use of physical positions, mantras, meditation, proper alignment and channelling energy flows to troubled areas of the body. Practicing this yoga leaves your mind and body feeling calm, serene and clutter-free.
So, what type of yoga works best for you? Do let us know!
You can also check out the upcoming retreats and teacher trainings at Ashiyana Yoga, to pick a programme that suits your personality and sign up to practice yoga in the coastal paradise of Goa!