by Dr. David Kulla, Synergy Wellness
As yoga has grown in popularity, more people are practicing it and exploring new ways to do it. If you are new to the practice of yoga, you might be confused about which kind of yoga you should be doing. Or, perhaps you have been doing yoga for a while but you feel like you need a change; whether it’s a new challenge or just a different way of stretching your body and your mind.
Choosing the particular practice of yoga you want to follow is a highly individualized decision. You should take the time to learn about what each type of yoga is, and how it is best practiced. It will not take too long for you to realize which yoga practice is right for your goals and lifestyle.
Iyengar yoga is a good place to start. If you have never done yoga before and you are looking for a slow and steady entrance into yoga, Iyengar is for you. This practice allows you to hold poses for longer periods of time, so you can really become comfortable in what your body is doing.
Much of the focus is on properly aligning your body so that you can start each pose properly and maintain it for longer and longer periods of time. If you have injuries or problems with flexibility, you can start out with basic poses and gradually challenge yourself with more difficult positions.
Ashtanga yoga is less about holding poses for long periods of time, and more about flowing from pose to pose so your body is continually moving and stretching. This type of yoga is usually best for people who have been practicing for a while. If you have been doing Iyengar yoga for a while, and you need to try something else, Ashtanga might be the next logical move in your practice. It works best for people who are flexible and physically fit.
Vinyasa yoga provides a good “in-between” for people who are no longer considered beginners, but are not ready to move onto a challenging yoga practice. You will focus on the positions you already know, and will allow you to modify any poses that you have not yet mastered so you can work your way slowly and naturally into the more difficult positions.
Hot yoga has been a new favorite for experienced yoga practitioners. It’s great for people who are in good physical health and do not mind sweating. A hot yoga studio can often get up to 100 degrees.
Before you choose the type of yoga you will practice, consider your physical health, flexibility, tolerance for new challenges and your ultimate yoga goals. Don’t be afraid to talk to yoga teachers or experienced practitioners to get some advice on how to start or which direction to move in.
Regardless of which type of yoga you choose, you will find all the benefits and enjoy all the advantages that practicing yoga provides. Finding the right fit will only add to the strength, flexibility and balance you find in your yoga practice.