People are always on the lookout for alternative ways to get fit. Going to the gym is the most common option but can become boring after you’ve lifted dumbells for the hundredth time.
You don’t have to lift weights or run to keep your body in shape. People have figured out ways to stay in shape while having fun and connecting with other like-minded individuals.
One of the ways that people have sought fitness is through yoga.
Many people who do yoga have stated that it not only helps them to keep fit, but it also gives them peace of mind. They associated spirituality with the practice.
One of the things that have made yoga so popular is the convenience of practicing it wherever you please. You don’t have to drive to the gym. Instead, do it at home or even when you’re on vacation.
That is one of the perks of doing yoga, but what are the others?
As with most exercise methods and almost everything else in life, yoga has several variants. What suits one person might not suit another, so it’s great that people who do yoga can choose the method that suits them.
Let’s delve deeper into the most popular types of yoga to find out about them so that you can determine which one is best for you.
Although Kundalini is an old form of yoga, it’s practice in the West is recent.
The best way to think about Kundalini yoga is like a recipe — it combines movements, postures, sound currents, breathwork, and meditation to form sets called kriyas, which is done rapidly and repetitively.
The aspect that intensifies this workout is performing the poses with specific breathing techniques. You will perform different poses while consciously breathing in a particular manner.
Who is this form of yoga specifically for?
People who have tried a regular yoga class but want to take the intensity to the next level will find Kundalini to be very beneficial. Although Kundalini is a physical activity, it is also a spiritual and mental activity.
Newbies might be thrown off by Kundalini due to its moments of fast-paced breathing and duration. One of the things that practice will require you to do is hold your arms and legs in the air for several minutes. You might feel awkward while doing these poses, but it will help you to step out of your comfort zone.
People who need to strengthen their nervous system will be fond of Kundalini. Your nervous system tones when you’re down dog or plank pose. You might be surprised to know that it also strengthens brainpower. Kundalini helps to clear the fogginess of the mind through rapid breathing.
It also helps to clear blocks in your energy field since it releases trauma from the energetic body, which surrounds the physical body.
Who knew that the climate could play an important role in yoga?
One of the ways to make your yoga session more intense is by practicing it in a warm, climate-controlled room with temperatures that range between 85 and 105 degrees. Otherwise, you can practice it outside if the weather is the same.
What does the heat do?
It increases the intensity of the session, as well as adding a detoxifying element to the discipline. People who struggle with flexibility will find this form of yoga to be very helpful. Master instructors recommend it to those people but also say that you should listen to your body and not push it past its breaking point.
If you’re going to engage in this form of yoga, you should drink water two hours before the class. Considering that this practice adds more intensity than regular yoga due to the heat, you’re going to form a little puddle of sweat beneath you, in which you can swim.
Here are some of the benefits of doing hot yoga:
Although it provides several benefits, people should also be aware that you risk heat exhaustion. Your blood pressure might drop — making you dizzy.
The other risk is that you might become hydrated. The increased flexibility of the muscles and the warm temperatures might cause you to push the limits and injure yourself.
If you are a perfectionist, then Iyengar yoga could be your specialty. This form of yoga has a lot to do with precision.
During the sessions, you will be required to use props such as straps and blocks. It allows you full relaxation when you’re performing the stretches.
Who is it suitable for?
It’s great if you’re a beginner. The other groups of people who will benefit from this practice are elderly and disabled because it enables them to do it at a slow pace by using the props. If you think regular yoga is too tough for you due to physical constraints, then Iyengar will suit you just fine.
Let’s take a look at its benefits.
A study that was published in the International Journal of Yoga stated that Iyengar yoga helped to reduce pain and improved health in adults with chronic low back pain. The studies revealed that after four weeks of yoga, people experienced a significant reduction in pain intensity, not to mention that it improved physical and mental health.
Other benefits include a calmer mind, toned muscles, increased flexibility, pain relief, and improved posture.
If the word power in the phrase above intimidates you, then know that the term implies what it means. It might as well be a synonym for a vigorous, fitness-based approach to Vinyasa-style yoga.
This style incorporates athleticism of Ashtanga, as well as vinyasas. The emphasis of this practice is on strength and flexibility.
So what do enthusiasts of this form of yoga say about it?
They love it. The reason is that it enhances their stamina, posture, flexibility, and mental focus. It also helps to relieve tension and release toxins through sweat. Considering that it’s a rigorous form of yoga, it helps you to burn a tremendous amount of calories, helping with weight loss.
We also have to give you some warnings.
You should avoid it if you aren’t in good shape. At the very least, you should be moderately fit since it’s physically intensive. It will require you to do some challenging poses, which could do more harm than good if you aren’t fit.
Don’t do power yoga if you are pregnant. Some poses can cause complications during pregnancy. Pregnant women could opt for prenatal yoga classes, which are designed for pregnant women.
Also, don’t do it if you suffer from physical ailments such as arthritis or diabetes.
If you’re an advanced yoga practitioner, then Ashtanga might be for you. This style of yoga is athletic, challenging, and centers on sun salutations (series A and B), not to mention inversions, nine seated positions, and a section of hardcore abs asanas.
Ashtanga consists of six sequences.
Each sequence contains different characteristics and focuses on a specific aspect of one’s body.
The first sequence is called Yoga Chikitsa, also known as the Primary Series. The focus is on detoxification, flexibility, strength, and stamina. This will take about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete since it consists of 75 poses.
The other sequences are Secondary Series, and Advanced Series A, B, C, D.
The nice thing about Ashtanga is that instructors usually teach this method at the student’s pace. The practice began with one-on-one mentoring but evolved into group training, where they practice the entire sequence together at the same pace.
Why is it popular?
Besides that Ashtanga is an intensive and sweaty workout, it can also be transformative. Students learn to link movement with breath, helping them in other areas of their life.
Professional Ashtanga instructors stated that the combination of controlled breathing and focus points results in a meditative experience.
Once you’ve mastered the practice with an instructor, you can do it by yourself. Don’t be surprised to see odd poses and encounter a challenge.
Some of the benefits of this yoga form are increased muscle tone, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and anxiety, as well as improved flexibility.
We have demonstrated some of the most popular types of yoga and their benefits. Choosing the one that you prefer will most likely depend on your experience with yoga and your physical strength.
Whichever one you choose, taking action is better than not doing anything at all. Everybody started as a beginner at everything that they did. The good thing is that they began to. If you want peace of mind, better flexibility, toned muscles, and strength, it might be time for you to start practicing yoga.